It seems like professional athletes venture into the world of fashion every other day: Michael Jordan's Air Jordan, Lance Armstrong's Livestrong and Serena Williams' Anereas are just a few successful clothing lines spawned by sports superstars. A coach putting his name on threads, however, is rare to say the least.
Fifty-four year old John Calipari is perhaps the most unlikely celebrity to launch his own fashion brand, breaking the news with a series of tweets Monday. The Kentucky head coach noted that a portion of the proceeds from his "Refuse to Lose" line will go to the Calipari Foundation, a charity that benefits youth communities, and that a selection of the clothes will be available at Lexington retailers as well as an online store.
The shirts themselves aren't too pricey; most run for $19.99 through athletic apparel ST Brands.
But Calipari's design is ugly to say the least. Tees, polos and tanks are either solid Kentucky blue or a mix of blue, black and gray (yikes), and the shirts' lone design is a circular insignia with Calipari's signature. "Refuse to Lose" is corny, as is designing a clothing series with one primary color, but wearing something with the coach's scribbled name takes it to another level.
It's hard to hate on Calipari for donating some of the funds to his charity, but seriously, who's going to buy this? Nobody is cool enough to sell signed shirts, and a coach as polarizing as Calipari is an especially tough sell. This looks way too close to Kentucky merch, but doesn't have a Wildcats logo anywhere in sight. Those looking to support Calipari's charity can donate directly; those looking to support UK can buy a real UK shirt; and those looking to not look as bad as an Cal on the sidelines can steer away from the brand altogether.
It's awkward if nothing else. Calipari may need some positive PR, but this isn't really going to cut it.