The final, final chapter. Mark Cuban finally unveils the new Mavericks’ basketball team alternate uniform design.

Though the subject has been done to death (and guess I’ve been one of the whingers at the forefront doing it) I sorta owe my pal Ross Kimbarovsky and Crowdspring a quick update on this. To summarize briefly – Mark Cuban, the owner of NBA basketball team the Mavericks, held a press conference yesterday in Dallas, part of which was spent announcing the winner of his uniform design contest that was launched May of 2013. Here’s the winner:
Granted, I’m no expert in the design of basketball team kits, but the winning design wasn’t bad and the reception has been generally positive on social media. The event is getting tons of press:

Back in the spring, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban had a contest where fans could design an alternate uniform for the team to wear for several games during the 2015-16 season. More than 1,000 fans submitted entries, and the results were entertaining. Tuesday, Cuban revealed the winning jersey design, which will feature the Dallas skyline across the chest. The winner is a Mavs fan named Geoff Case, who received $1,000 and season tickets for next season.

Congrats to Geoff Case – impressive and enviable bragging rights indeed (though, if we were to quibble, the contest didn’t start “back in the spring,” it started in the spring of 2013 and the contest was supposed to pay out $600 to a winner & $400 to a runner-up, but we’re not going to.) Kudos to Cuban for actually kicking something in (Crowspring paid the $1000) even though that part of the ‘prize’ was optional.
A nice little coup for Crowdspring in the marketing department and though the press is generally handling this as a ‘fan-driven’ exercise as opposed to a crowdsourcing-platform-driven one, a formidable feather in their cap (at least this was a real high-profile gig, as opposed to those dreadful pretend contests that some crowdsourcing companies like to have.) Having got all that out of the way, let’s now go to the..

Twitter Round-up.

Cuban teased the announcement on his Twitter feed, garnering over 5,000 retweets:

The announcement: Winner Geoff Case (left,) Crowdspring’s Ross Kimbarovsky (middle) and Maverick’s Mark Cuban (right) at the Dallas news conference. Cuban is holding the new Mav’s alternate jersey design:

A close-up of the new design:

Apparently the Dallas skyline art on the jersey held up by Cuban was missing something. A big something:

That ‘iconic’ Dallas skyline building would be Reunion Tower, akin to the Empire State Building in a New York City skyline or the CN Tower in a Toronto one. Not to bag on Case or Crowdspring – the building was featured on the original winning entry but got lost somewhere in the translation to a finished jersey:

This led to some questions. And a hurried explanation by Cuban::

So the version Cuban announced to the world wasn’t the actual design at all, but a “rushed” version that would be fixed later? And said “fixing” would be putting back a building that was in the original Dallas skyline artwork to begin with? Weird that. Naturally, this led to some Twitter snark:

Even Reunion Tower itself bemoaned their absence from the design:

But reassured by Cuban that it would eventually be added back for the real jerseys:

I’m pretty agnostic about the goof up – shit does happen – so as a “Let’s Announce our New Team Jerseys to the World” exercise, going to give this one a 50/50 on the Win/Fail Meter. As I mentioned up top, the design isn’t bad at all and when it’s finally on an actual jersey, it should be decent team gear. But what can we learn about crowdsourcing in total – the general theme that’s run through a lot of the coverage of this event?

At the end of the day..

Despite some folks’ zero-tolerance to them, I’ve always maintained that organic fan design contests are no biggie, but when they get monetized by crowdsourcing sites (for up to forty points off-the-top,) and as a way for a designer to earn a living, they’re completely and utterly preposterous. This Cuban Mavericks contest did nothing to dissuade me of that notion – hundreds of people waited over 15 months to see IF they were going to get paid. All fine and dandy for a fan contest where the thrill is getting the Mavericks to pick your stuff. I get that. My first paid gig was designing a logo for my high school radio station as part of a $100 contest (though I did have to chase teachers for months for my $100 bucks) and I’d gladly have waited for fifteen months to see if I won a Kiss logo contest back in the day. Those are organic things and groovy, done out of love, but not if you’re planning to use contest winnings from a crowdsourcing site to pay your mortgage or feed your kids, supposedly what the premise of designing stuff professionally is (or should be) about. And how, by the way, participating in design contests and crowdsourcing is marketed to designers and as come on to would-be clients. If anything, this episode has only cemented my opinions.

Yelling at cats.

Now, I get that almost no-one ever reads this blog. I’m a nobody, one sole guy yelling at cats in his little corner of the Internet. It does seem weird though, that 15 months after the contest was launched, 12 months after finalists were picked, the new “unfinished” Maverick jerseys were “rushed” out with a major error that nobody in Cuban’s organization caught, eight days after I hit the publish button on this post. And that in the middle of a press conference in Dallas, with Mark Cuban on the podium, someone very close to the contest thought the most important thing was to DM me personally on Twitter to tell me about it.