Dick Harmon: For this cause, BYU players will make pink work
It's big-time girlie. Nifty on a Barbie outfit.
Pink: Worn by BYU basketball players tonight, it will carry twice the shock value had they donned shoulder-length mullets and handlebar mustaches.
The pink Nike shoes are cute. Mall-walking cute.
All this pink attire the Cougs will wear for this year's first edition of the rivalry showdown with the Utes in the Marriott Center is to draw attention to the fight against cancer. Only four schools in the NCAA were picked to receive this pink stuff. BYU was one of them.
With head coach Dave Rose battling cancer, he becomes the perfect poster guy for this whole pink campaign. It has special meaning for his team.
Still, it is pink. Pig belly pink.
After Thursday's practice, some of BYU's players couldn't wait to take off their pink tennis shoes. If not to keep them clean, to save them for tonight. Or just to get out of pink.
"I can't let the public see it," said reserve point guard Lamont Morgan on why he took off his pink tracks very quickly after Thursday's practice.
Gotta save the shock value.
"It's like Batman coming out of the Bat cave," he said.
But will he wear them again — like ever?
"Yeah, sure. I'll wear them to the movies, you know," said Morgan.
Forward Noah Hartsock said he doesn't see himself wearing them anywhere.
"Probably around the house," he said. "But mostly, they'll be tucked away in the closet."
Freshman Tyler Haws says he might wear his on P-Day (day off) on his upcoming LDS mission. Of course, somebody might steal them if he's called to serve near Hollywood Boulevard.
Senior center Chris Miles doesn't envision any occasion he'll ever put them on again after today.
These 16 pairs of pink shoes are one of the styles of shoes BYU players have played in all season long. A Nike school (as opposed to Reebok or Adidas), Nike has five styles of basketball shoes players can choose from. This pink shoe is the Hyperize, a style most of the players have put on one time or another in the season.
To do this cancer awareness thing, Nike sent BYU six basketballs with pink-fill color inside the trademark swoosh. One of them will be reserved as today's game ball and will make its debut at the tipoff.
Also in the boxes were 16 game jerseys, which are replicas of BYU's regular home uniforms. These, however, will be trimmed with pink.
Coaches from throughout the country were sent shoes to wear for the fight-cancer campaign. Originally they were going to be pink, but somehow it didn't happen. In the spirit of the occasion, BYU's staff will add pink ties to their shirts today.
The set of uniforms for the team is worth $4,000. The 16 pairs of shoes have a book value of $1,500. The basketballs, worth $50 each, total out at $300 for a total outlay by Nike of about $6,000.
Some of the equipment will be signed by Rose and auctioned off as a fundraiser for charity. Others will be signed and kept by the players.
"I consider it an honor to be chosen to participate in this," said equipment manager Steve Bushman. "To be only one of four schools to be involved in this with Nike is something else."
When Bushman first opened the box, he was immediately hit with the color.
"When they said pink," he said, "they meant pink."
When he distributed them in the locker room before Thursday's practice, the players were excited.
"It was like Christmas. They all loved them," Bushman said. "It was something different and they were all exuberant because it was pretty elite to put them on."
Yes, the look will be something to behold tonight when Utah and BYU clash.
But it's meant to be that way. This cancer battle has torn apart bodies and left a trail of tears in all of our lives.
If it helps raise awareness, brings in some resources to help discover a cure, let pink be the accessory of the day.
Let me see, do I have a pink golf shirt somewhere?
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