Idaho D-League Team Celebrates Black History Month with Obama Jerseys

Obama Idaho Stampede

The Utah Jazz’s D-league affiliate takes the court adorned with the president’s visage upon their shorts in honor of Black History Month.

Though African Americans constitute less than 1 percent of the Gem State’s population (surely a figure higher than the percentage of Jazz musicians in Utah), the Idaho Stampede—which boasts a roster  more black than the surrounding state is white—rumbles onto the hardwood this Saturday night with images of Maya Angelou, Ray Charles, Jackie Robinson, and other accomplished African Americans on their jerseys. Barack Obama, who graces on a tank top, will appear on players’ shorts as well. The uniforms, it seems, will be far from uniform.

The special event includes an art-meets-athleticism performance featuring Detroit painter Patrick Hunter, who, according to the team’s press release, aims to

paint an Alvin Ailey inspired piece, in collaboration with the Idaho Dance Theater, at halftime during Black History Night.

During the game, Idaho will honor the late NBA player Earl Lloyd, the first African-American to play in an NBA basketball game. He would later become the first African-American to win an NBA Championship for the Syracuse Nationals (now known as the Philadelphia 76ers). There will be a special presentation during the game to honor Lloyd, and his son will be in attendance.

Including Lloyd, other influential figures on the Stampede’s jersey will be Maya Angelou, George Washington Carver, Ray Charles, Frederick Douglass, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King, President Barack Obama, Jackie Robinson and Harriet Tubman. All of Hunter’s original artwork featured on the jerseys will be on display at the game.

The Idaho Stampede already hold an ongoing online auction for the various clothing items soon donned by their players in an effort to benefit the Idaho Black History Museum, which surely could use the support and whose very existence strikes as a victory for black history. The novelty of the souvenirs, the art that really jumps off the fabric, and the attention received by the unusual celebration of Black History Month likely means that the museum grabs more than the $50 starting bids for these uber-cool Ray Charles trunks.

Fifty, now 50? Do I hear 60?