New kit highlights and celebrates the city of Coventry and the Black people who have contributed to the growth of the game in the city.
Early last month, Coventry Flames revealed the club's plan to introduce a brand new colorway for their playing kit as part of its Black History Month celebrations. The reveal, which was done via the club's Instagram account, teased a few details about the kit, and explained that it would "celebrate and spotlight a number of current athletes and coaches from within the club ... and highlight the history of the local basketball community, along with the leaders and contributors of the last 50yrs." Explaining the idea behind the kit, a spokesperson for the club said, "there's so much great work that has been done across all facets of the game of basketball by Black people in the community and we really want to highlight that, not just during the month of October, but throughout the course of the season."
In a much-anticipated reveal, the men's and women's National League Basketball teams both debuted the new threads in their first double-header of the season, on November 4th. The women's team faced Liverpool at 3pm and the men played Loughborough Riders II right after at 5pm. Although both teams fell short in two very exciting games, the results did not take away from what the day was really about, and the significance of the kit they donned on Saturday. Flames women's guard/forward, Zainab Balogun, who scored 21 points for Coventry, shared some of her thoughts on the kit: "I thought the kits were amazing, the look of it is really nice. I also love what it represents, I think it’s important to acknowledge BHM. I love the time that Flames took to make the kit and include the names of everyone involved, it shows the appreciation, so I’m really happy with it!" Men's team player and Coventry University alum, Feranmi Olunloyo also heralded the playing uniforms as a "nice touch and very aesthetically pleasing" and expressed the hope to wear it often during the season.
The playing kit, designed in collaboration with Akuma Sports, incorporates several subtle but important details in its ode to Coventry Basketball and Black history. For example, sitting prominently on the lower back of the kit, is the outline of the map of Africa, with player numbers outlined in the Black History Month colours, green, yellow and red. The front of the jersey shows the Windrush ship, which transported several West Indians to the United Kingdom beginning in 1948 (see if you can find the date the ship arrived hidden on the kit). The most personal touches to Coventry are the city's skyline and the names of the Black individuals who have contributed so much to the growth of Coventry basketball - such as Robert 'Dip' Donaldson, Roy Owen, Marcus Garvey and current Coventry Flames coach, Luis Romero - dispersed throughout the jersey. Everywhere you look, a new detail is revealed that showcases the thought and symbolism of the kit that has made players very proud to wear it.
Coventry Flames will continue to wear the kit throughout the season as they work through their National League schedules. To catch the teams in action, be sure to tune into the club's YouTube channel, where the games will be livestreamed and available after the games.