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A look at some of Arizona’s worst uniforms

It’s Jersey Week here at SB Nation so we will be doing a two-part series to reflect on some of the best—and worst—uniforms the Arizona Wildcats have worn in recent years.

Below are the ones I cannot stand. We encourage you to make your submissions in the comment section.

Arizona football’s copper helmets and gradient jerseys

Northern Arizona v Arizona

Let’s kill two birds with one stone here. Arizona introduced the copper helmets in 2012 as a tribute to the state’s mining history. And while that is a nice sentiment, they looked horrible with the school’s red, white and blue color scheme. It gives off Pitt vibes.

As for the jerseys themselves, these marked the beginning of Nike’s insistence on incorporating gradient into Arizona football’s uniform schemes (because of the sunsets?). Most of them have not been sharp, though there are a few exceptions which we will get to in the second part of this series.

Arizona football’s gradient jerseys with solid numbers, paired with white helmets

Oregon State v Arizona Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

An obscure NCAA rule forced the Wildcats to ditch the gradient numbers, and for some reason they went ahead and ditched the white outline too. That made for an awful visual anytime the Wildcats donned their white helmets (which should have stripes and/or a colored facemask).

Here’s another example:

BYU v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Arizona football’s tomato can helmets

Washington State v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

A red helmet with a red facemask creates a contrast that is too much for the rest of the uniform to compete with. And not in a good way.

The white gradient Arizona basketball uniforms

UCLA v Arizona Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

I can’t believe someone actually looked at these and said, “yep, these are cool! Let’s roll with them!” First off, gray is not an Arizona color. Secondly, the gradient is so poorly executed that it looks like there’s masking tape on the jerseys. I would have been interested to see how a white-to-blue or white-to-red gradient would have looked instead.

Arizona has somewhat phased these out by occasionally wearing a non-gradient version, but they need to be scrapped altogether. Not much good has happened to the program since these were introduced in 2016-17.

Arizona basketball’s gold alternates

Valley Of The Sun Shootout: St. John’s v Grand Canyon Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 02 Arizona v UNLV Photo by Josh Holmberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Since when is gold an Arizona color? These look way too much like ASU. Thankfully they did not surface in 2019-20.

The Kevin O’Neill-Russ Pennell era basketball uniforms (pick any color)

Arizona v UCLA Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Arizona v Memphis Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images

Arizona trashed its iconic 90s and early 2000s uniforms for this bland design. What a shame. The piping and shoulder patch is so tacky. Why do the numbers have a white outline but the names don’t? And why are the jerseys so tight and the shorts so baggy?

Combine these uniforms with the fact Lute Olson was no longer strolling the sidelines and it made the Arizona program unrecognizable.

Arizona women’s basketball’s grays

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 13 Women’s - Loyola Marymount at Arizona Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The uniform design itself is fine and actually pretty cool, but I will never be onboard with Arizona basketball wearing gray, especially at home. It is, and I cannot repeat this enough, not a school color.

Arizona softball’s charcoal grays

Photo by Ryan Kelapire

Gray is more appropriate when it comes to softball and baseball, but the charcoals, introduced in 2019, are still too dark for my liking. The traditional light grays are better.

Arizona soccer’s white (but mostly gray) kits

Like football, gradient has become a prominent part of Arizona soccer’s uniform schemes over the last several years. The “white” kits they wore in 2019 featured too much gray.