Why Louisville’s Uniforms Are ‘The Greatest’ of 2019 Thanks to Muhammad Ali

Louisville’s football team is drawing inspiration from an athlete you may not expect. Uniforms across all sports tell different stories, but these are truly unique to Louisville. The result of this tribute is a subtle, good-looking uniform demonstrating that Louisville has not forgotten one of its natives.

Muhammad Ali’s impact on Louisville

Muhammad Ali may not have gone to college, but he was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. At age 12, he began his amateur boxing training there, making a name for himself (then Cassius Clay) in the sport. By honoring the greatest boxer of all time, the University of Louisville is showing that their pride extends beyond the classroom to the city it calls home.

Ali is the type of international superstar who can inspire people not only with his boxing prowess but with his outspoken beliefs, too. While not popular at the time, the boxer’s sentiments are now viewed as revolutionary.

How do Louisville’s uniforms honor Ali? 

You may not immediately notice Louisville’s tribute to Ali. The jerseys have a white background with an arched font, spelling out the school name as well as a black number with a white border. If one looked at the uniform without context, they may assume it’s a throwback design.

However, this color scheme and font are a subtle nod to Ali’s signature boxing robe. The name and jersey number have a similar look to the boxer’s name as it appeared on the back of his robes. As an added feature, the uniform’s white pants have a black stripe down the side much like Ali’s shorts.

‘Boxing’ gloves and helmet

The Cardinals’ standard gloves are a red color that one might expect from a boxing glove. It may seem like a coincidence, but those who know the uniform’s inspiration cannot help but see them as a nod to boxing gloves.  The gloves can be put together to form the Louisville logo, too. 

The helmet continues the black-on-white theme. Black lines outline the Louisville Cardinals’ logo. Overall, schools and pro teams can look to this uniform when they want to honor artists, entertainers, or athletes.

Tribute uniforms

These are not the first tribute uniforms. The Minnesota Timberwolves famously paid tribute to the late Prince with purple City Edition jerseys during the 2018-19 season. While those were less subtle, they matched the man they honored in a way that was true to the team.

By paying tribute with jerseys like these, teams not only draw attention toward their sport, but they also demonstrate the pride that goes beyond a football field or school. Perhaps more teams should try designing uniforms with the subtlety and thought Louisville and Adidas put into these.