Before marketing became such a big part of professional and college sports, athletic apparel was worn to signify allegiance to a particular team. While there are still die-hards representin their teams through thick and thin (how else can Lions jerseys be explained?), nowadays jerseys and caps are chosen like toothbrushes by color. And if that orange Yankees cap just doesnt seem as cool as it once did, check out the new Year of the Dragon 2000 baseball hat collection at www.lids.com ($19.99-$24.99). Most baseball and college teams are available in "authentic" Kanji symbols (as if kids at the mall are really concerned with the legitimacy of Japanese calligraphy). If you pick the right team, the hat might match your Wu-Tang Clan T-shirt with the mystical kung-fu symbol on it.
If youve watched ESPNs SportsCenter in the past year, you know about Jason Williams. The point guard for the Sacramento Kings, he makes unbelievably flashy passes to local hero Chris Webber. Tagged "White Chocolate" because he is the smoothest whiteboy to hit the NBA since Pete Maravich, Williams is the epitome of the "new-school" NBA star entertaining, not exactly fundamentally sound, and experienced with those troublesome marijuana laws. Thus, replica #55 purple and black Jason Williams jerseys ($39.99) are flying out of local sporting goods stores, and the Kings are quickly becoming the team of choice for the hip-hop generation.
Americans love football because its exciting, violent and emotionally gripping. The rest of the world watches its own style of football (we call it soccer) because its a combination of art, religion and chess. If you prefer the international game, you may not be popular at local sports bars, but at least you can represent your favorite teams with "traditional, British-made" football jerseys available at www.toffs.com. If youre an Anglophile indie rocker, a reader of Nick Hornbys football memoir Fever Pitch, or a FIFA 2000 video game addict, visit this Web site at your own risk you can drop a lot of dollars.