Every sports team makes some weird merchandise. It’s part of the deal when extracting every ounce of profit from the emotional connection fans share with a franchise. T-shirts, bobbleheads, dog jerseys, pickup trucks—you name it, somebody will slap a team’s logo on it and mass-produce it.
Some of this stuff looks rushed and cheap. That happens when the extractive nature of the sales business bubbles up and spills over the surface. We needn’t discuss that junk—you’ve seen it at the supermarket or the dollar store. But the San Antonio Spurs are different: their oddball merch is designed with obvious intent. The stuff is no less weird, but it looks as if someone has put real thought into it.
We began exploring the Spurs’ online store after receiving a press release about an utterly incomprehensible co-branding exercise—a limited run of five hundred T-shirts celebrating both the Spurs and nineties Canadian country icon Shania Twain, ostensibly in honor of her appearance at this weekend’s Austin City Limits festival (which, as the name suggests, does not occur in San Antonio). But the team’s Shania collaboration is just the tip of the iceberg.
Shania Twain x San Antonio Spurs Tee
Start with this: the shirt features an image of Shania in a tiny black dress, astride a horse, gazing out from the center of the garment. The perspective on the graphic makes the horse’s head appear roughly equal in size to the singer’s entire body. We’re talking a truly massive noggin. Then, in pink script, we get Shania’s name, lest anyone think that’s just a random cowgirl chilling in front of an otherworldly magenta glow. Over Shania’s left shoulder, meanwhile, in a subtle gray hue, we get to the other half of the partnership—an ethereal Spurs logo floating in the background.
I Love MTV Tee
The mid-eighties weren’t a great time to be a Spurs fan. The organization wasn’t completely irrelevant, with three postseason appearances between 1983 and 1989, but the franchise never got past the first round, and even in those playoff seasons, the team failed to produce a single winning record. (The 1984–85 team managed an even 41–41.) If you’re looking to wax nostalgic over a Spurs era, this isn’t it.
So it’s surprising that the organization created the I Love MTV shirt, featuring the cable network’s iconic eighties logo with the slogan “I Want My Spurs” underneath, instead of “I Want My MTV.” The logo’s bubble letters are filled with basketballs and partial illustrations of an NBA court. It’s not a bad crossover for enthusiasts of both the Spurs and peak-era MTV, but if you’re a Spurs fan, wouldn’t you rather be reminded of any of the pop culture trends that were relevant between, say, 1998 and 2019? With 22 straight playoff appearances and five NBA championships in that span, it’s not a hard target to hit.
Wakanda Forever Tee
There are actually two Spurs x Black Panther T-shirts, but one of them is pretty straightforward—just a Spurs logo beneath a Black Panther logo. This guy, though? Lots going on. The shirt looks like an attempt to cram as many different logos as possible onto the top two-thirds of a plain white tee in Microsoft Paint. We get the classic Spurs logo, a bubble with the words “Spurs for Life” at a jaunty angle, and the 2022 alternate “SATX” logo, all stacked one on top of the other along the right side of the design. Down the middle, flipped at a 90-degree angle, we get the words “San Antonio Spurs BASKETBALL.” Then, on the left side, we get a Black Panther mask logo above the phrase “Wakanda Forever,” also flipped on its side. None of these images or words include any shading or even so much as a drop shadow; the shirt has a distinctly DIY aesthetic, or maybe a stick-and-poke tattoo vibe. We don’t hate it, but we are confused by it.
Ebbets Field Flannels Collection
Not gonna lie, these look pretty great. They’re all slightly anachronistic, applying a 1950s look to a team that didn’t even exist until 1973, but I’m into it. I would like to send the Woodblock tee to my grandma and ask her to make me a cross-stitch to hang over my stove.
These Colorful Workout Pants
Look at all the color blocks on these sweatpants! The orange, pink, turquoise, and white “Fiesta” uniforms the Spurs wore regularly from 1989 to 1997 are polarizing, but if they’re your thing, these are the workout pants for you! Wait till your friends see them. None of them have got a pair of workout pants with that many colors on them. Sadly, the matching sweatshirt is no longer available, so you’ll need to figure out some other way to style them. But look at your confidence in wearing those pants! You’ll figure it out.
This “We Drafted Victor Wembanyama” Commemorative Coin
Do you love collectible coins but no longer have it in you to stay awake watching ESPN2 till 3 a.m., when the commemorative coin ads start to run? Worry not! You no longer need to wait for a commercial offering you the call-now opportunity to buy a silver (uh, silver-plated) coin celebrating the most important moment in the Spurs’ past four seasons—being randomly selected in the NBA’s draft lottery to pick French prodigy Victor Wembanyama by virtue of finishing 2022–23 with one of the worst records in basketball. At a mere forty dollars, this literal token of your hope for better days is a downright bargain.