No single person evokes the image of Minnesota quite as clearly as Prince. The late rock icon was born and raised in Minneapolis. He lived and headquartered his musical operations from his Paisley Park compound in Chanhassen for much of his career. He recorded his troves of music, both released and unreleased, from his Paisley Park studio, and lived there until he was found dead in an elevator on the grounds on April 21st, 2016.
In the wake of his death, the state of Minnesota has shown its appreciation for its favorite son in a multitude of ways, from murals to statues to an honorary doctorate from the University of Minnesota. Now, the NBA‘s Minnesota Timberwolves are taking their turn at honoring the Purple One with their new Nike “City Edition” jerseys.
The special edition uniforms, unveiled unofficially by Twitter user @TWolvesFRA, abandon the team’s usual blue and green color scheme for shades of purple and pink. They also use a typeface for the lettering that’s clearly reminiscent of the one used on the cover of Purple Rain. You can check out some leaked snaps of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ new Prince-inspired “City Edition” jerseys below:
— #RingerNBA (@ringernba) October 23, 2018
Since Nike took over ahead of last year’s NBA season, they have gradually rolled out various uniform “editions” for each team, beyond the traditional home, away, and alternate iterations. One such edition, the “City Edition” aims to honor the fans “whose passions help define each respective team’s identity.”
As last year’s announcement of Nike’s “City Edition” NBA jerseys notes, “The Nike NBA City Edition uniforms represent insights and emotion from the court to the upper deck to the cities’ streets, in pursuit of a unique way to capture each team and its city in a way that respects the past and present of the clubs while also positioning them for the future.”
Even beyond the obvious connection between Prince and the state of Minnesota, the artist was also a noted basketball player and fan. He played basketball throughout his childhood, and was good enough to make his high school’s JV basketball team as a freshman.
Another Prince-related clip from the Strib archives, looking back at his hooping days at Bryant Junior High. pic.twitter.com/LrIQZ3LhSg
— Libor Jany (@StribJany) March 3, 2015
From the Strib archives: Chappelle was right. pic.twitter.com/icXBFGWkij
— Libor Jany (@StribJany) March 3, 2015
…And then there’s the infamous Prince basketball story from Chappelle’s Show as told by Charlie Murphy, in which Charlie, his brother, Eddie Murphy, and their crew went back to Prince’s place after going out partying and got schooled by Prince and The Revolution in a pickup game. Chappelle most definitely took some creative liberties with that story, but several people close to the story have commented about its overall veracity.
As Micki Free noted in a 2017 interview about the infamous story following Murphy’s passing,
Charlie Murphy wasn’t lying. Everything that happened in that [“True Hollywood Stories” sketch] was for real. We went back to Prince’s house after the club. It was 1985, and there was a bunch of girls with Eddie [Murphy], myself, Charlie—rest in peace—and some other guys. And out of nowhere Prince says, “Do you guys want to play basketball?”
We played three-on-three. I don’t remember if we changed our clothes, but I know for certain that Prince did not change his. He didn’t gear up to play. If anything changed beyond the blouses, it was his heels. Prince changed into some tennis shoes. All I remember is when Prince made that first shot, it was all-net. I’m looking at him make shot after shot, like, “What the hell?” Then at the end they really did make us pancakes—blueberry pancakes. And they were good! Hanging out with Prince was magical.
In case you’ve been living under a rock the last couple decades and haven’t seen the sketch or heard the many jokes it spawned, you can check it out below:
Chappelle’s Show – “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories” – Basketball With Prince
[Video: Comedy Central]
Well done on these special uniforms, Nike and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Game… Blouses.