The Nike Basketball Christmas Pack 2010-2015. An Overview.

What?! They have Christmas sneakers now? Yep. Kids these days. Seems like they could use some holiday opinion-ing.

Nike’s basketball branch has been releasing a “Christmas Pack” every year since 2010. Each of their “signature” athletes gets a Christmas colorway. From 2010, that’s been Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant. Though he had a “Christmas” colorway last year (actually more of a “PE,” or “player edition,” which saw formal release later in the year), Kyrie Irving wasn’t part of the 2014 marketing blitz. This year, he is.

Onto the reviews:

2010

sgsdg hgdshdh e
KD 3, Kobe 6, LeBron 8V2

Not much Christmas-y about the bright yellow (and now dated-looking) KD 3s, but the Kobe 6s are considered classics, and have been nicknamed the Kobe 6 “Grinchmas.” Red and white clearly get the point across on the LeBrons which really kicked off the mid-[sneaker]-career golden age for Lebron James (8 V2, 9, 10, 11), though the black mid-sole looks out of place and not very festive. Evaluating on just on a hit-or-miss ratio,  a weaker than it sounds: 2 out of 3.

Overall: ***

2011

gsdgdsfsh
KD 4, LeBron 9, Kobe “System Supreme” 7

I’m never digging a strap on sneakers, but the usually under-used copper color on the KD 4 looks quite warm and, thus, Christmas-y. I wouldn’t say that copper is the warmest metal (hello, that’s nickel… duh). Again, LeBron James isn’t messing around: lots of red and green on the 9s, with a “frosty” (read: transparent blue-ish rubber) sole. Kobe Bryant is doing… that over there from that weird time period when Nike was using very thin flywire in the paneling itself instead of on or around the paneling (the LeBron 8 V2 is the same way. Look at the LeBron 11, below, for comparison). A stronger 2 out of 3 than 2010.

Overall: ***½

2012

LeBron 10, Kobe 8, KD 5
LeBron 10, Kobe 8, KD 5.

Look, the Kobes and KDs just… are. They’re neat, but not festive. BUT, those LeBron 10s with the metallic red with green laces and transparent green rubber; the full length max zoom air; the backwards swoosh (back when that was actually notable); the ruby-colored plastic support above the speckled mid-sole… Christmas! Let’s take a closer look:

nike-lebron-x-10-christmas-2012-541100-600-02

A REMARKABLY strong 1 out of 3.

Overall: **** on the strength of the LeBron 10 alone.

2013

Clockwise from left: KD 6, LeBron 11, Kobe 8
Clockwise from left: KD 6, LeBron 11, Kobe 8

The best of Nike’s Christmas packs so far; Kobe’s doing whatever he’s doing over there, so let’s ignore him while we focus on the others. Each deserves a deeper dive.

KD 6 – metallic red and mint green with gold accents. That’s “Christmas” with a capital “let’s all gather by the fire and sing Christmas carols.” Some finer points: the “KD” badge in the heel decorated with Christmas lights (!), the “snow” flecks on the green mid-sole, and the flannel pattern on the heel. Oh, wait, they also included an “ugly sweater” pattern in retroreflective (“3M”) ink on the medial side, so it only shows up if the light is just right.  Perfect. (though maybe so Christmas-y it may look out of place on December 27)

kd6-2 KD6-1

LeBron 11 – lots of green and snowy scenes to be found.

lb11-1

Overall: ****½ Kobe’s too good to be celebrating Christmas, I guess.

2014

2014
KD 7, Kobe 9 Elite, LeBron 12

Whoa! Three Christmas-themed sneakers in the “Christmas Pack” for once. Kevin Durant went with an “eggnog” theme with his. The strap is unfortunate, but it’s neat execution if you like your sneakers to be two-tone. The white of the front is actually an off-white, eggnog color. Kobe Bryant has a quite festive Christmas stocking theme that is executed nearly ideally (the black carbon fiber sticks out visually, but Nike wants the carbon fiber to look like carbon fiber). Finally LeBron James has a white birch tree printed pattern (think of birch bark). The ad copy is a bit… convenient “white birch like he saw when he was a kid in Akron!” or something like that, but it works. A big 3 for 3.

KD 7 detail:

kd7

Kobe 9 Elite detail:

K9

LeBron 12 detail:

LB2014

Overall: ****½ None are as nice as the Christmas-themed options in the 2013 pack, so a tie is in order.

2015

LeBron 13, Kyrie 2, KD 8, Kobe 10 Elite
LeBron 13, Kyrie 2, KD 8, Kobe 10 Elite

Nike’s theme this year is “Fire and Ice.” Notice two white and blue colorways (ICE!!!) and two black and red colorways (FIRE!!!). Of note is that the medial sides of the KDs and Kobes don’t match the lateral sides:

KD (this is the same pair of sneakers!). The medial is completely different. The speckled pattern on the mid-sole is supposed to be hot coals… hmm. Close enough.

KD8-1

Kobe: red on the medial side, black on the lateral side. Funky.

Kobe-2015

Somehow, white and blue are 2015’s “Christmas Colors.”

Some details of the LeBron 13 — brr! But some neat snow and ice details in the fabric:

lbj2015-2 lbj2015-1

And to give him some attention, here’s a close-up of the Kyrie 2 — eh, a lot of textures going on there. Good execution on both the “cold” and “snow monster with a taste for mammal blood” themes [check out that strap]:

kyrie

kyrie3

Despite the KD 8 and Kobe 10 being very cool (pun!) models, these colorways are not Christmas. I don’t love the whole blue and white thing, but it’s growing on me. A very weak 2 out of 4 hit to miss ratio.

Overall: **½ This isn’t a good year for the Christmas Pack. Sorry, Nike.

UniDiction 2011: Week 16 – Eagles vs. Cowboys and Week 15 Round-Up

follow me on twitter (@dancfuller)

Again, the Eagles one, I won. Good deal.

Week 15 Round-Up

Throwback_7A little more uniform action in Week 15 than we’ve seen in a while. The Chargers wore their powder blue throwbacks, which are better than the normal Chargers uniforms, but like some of the other (loud) throwbacks (Bucs, I’m looking at you), they’re best as a “two games per year” sort of combo.

Red_red_2The Cardinals wore solid red again (three weeks in a row). Repeating myself, these look awful, though the red pants mean that the rare, trivia-riffic white over red combo may yet make an appearance.

 

Throwback_2Finally, the Rams, the team with a bajillion uniform combos (and that actually pretty much all of them, unlike the Titans), brought out their throwbacks last week. They’re nice, but loud enough that they’re best as a (say it with me) “twice a year kind of alternate.”

 

Week 16 UniDiction – Cowboys vs. Eagles

Of course, this game will be visual deja vu to week 8, as the Cowboys are a White at Home team. Of course, I hadn’t unveiled my snazzy new UniDiction format back then, so I’ll let the picture speak for itself. Even though I dislike (hate?) the Cowboys, I have to begrudgingly admit their uniforms are pretty nice.

Week16

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that the Cowboys blue uniform set is almost completely incongruous with their normal white uniform set, and I’ll gladly point out the issues at great detail below.

Comparison

The Eagles will be in their best combo, green over white, which is a 22 point sort of uniform.

I’ll also point out that games like this are the reason it’s stupid that the Eagles chose not to wear an alternate jersey this year (whether black or last year’s throwback). It’s like they’re not interested in making money.

Predicted Score

Cowboys 18

Eagles 22

Merry Christmas! (for the record, I’m not above commentary on Santa Claus’ uniform if there’s a desire from the readership….ha!)

****

A pretty good-looking football game, as usual between these teams.

The 2006 Fuller Christmas Letter

Look, we have a new design! If there are any issues with this new layout, please (please, please) leave a comment so I can fix it. It looks fine on my computer, but maybe it doesn’t on yours. Please let us know what you think – Positive, Negative, Who Cares – in the comments section for this review.

What with my mom using a computer relatively regularly these days, she’s made a habit of writing a Christmas letter every year to stuff into Christmas cards. I’ve long been on the record about the, well, “impersonal-ness” of Christmas card letters, but at the end of the day, is a general letter any more impersonal than the simple signatures at the bottom of any Christmas card? Eh, not really. Two (three? – maybe four? – god, I’m old) years ago, I actually made a deal with my mom that I would write the letter for the cards, mainly because I had complained about the content in years past. She sent my letter out indiscriminately with the cards, so I’m sure that my tale of how my brother had become an unsuccessful comic artist/writer probably fell upon many a “not getting the joke” ear. Anyway, that’s in the past, so here we are at 2006’s letter.

Nate still hates Christmas.

First, let it be known that I don’t feel bad reviewing my mom’s letter – as my mother, she should expect no less from me. Whatever the star rating I assign, she should simply say, “well, that’s Dan for ya.” In her defense, this the first year that both my brother and I have been completely out of her hair, both having completely moved out years and (almost) a year ago.

On to the letter (note: my comments are in pop-ins, so be sure to hover over what look to be links):

MERRY CHRISTMAS – HAPPY, HEALTHY 2007

The usual busy-ness has overtaken our lives despite our empty nest. Gordon’s mother passed away in Wilmington in March after her 16+ year siege of dementia or Alzheimer’s. It took about 4 months to know that working weekends & holidays were no longer for me, as much as I enjoyed it. Our business and my new (in August) Nursery School director/ teacher position, trying to rebuild the program, at our nearby church, Mon.-Fri., and painting our new kitchen trim/doors/walls keep me hopping. Sept. & Oct. were crazy with 3 part-time jobs. I left the organist position 10/31.

We celebrated 3 November weekends by going to the Delaware shore – visiting relatives, to Gordon’s take-in father, now 90, in So. N.J., and to Longwood Gardens!

Our business went through a few slower months again this year, but Gordon keeps busy. We were fortunate to have work, while other shops were extremely slow or dead. We’re dinosaurs. Dealerships, as you know, give huge, extended warranties on new vehicles. There are dealer-only repairs due to technological restrictions. The trend is for repair information to be restricted or unavailable- e.g. our ’97 Volvo wagon.

Brian and Beth are fine, in Oxford (near the very recent Amish one-room schoolhouse tragic shooting). She’s made a great recovery from thyroid cancer surgery/treatment, enjoying her new, administrative job with the same hospice. Brian, a Nationwide Ins. senior claims adjuster, is in Chester County, also. We plan to see more of them on our weekends! Brian and Dan live 40 minutes apart.

Dan lives in Media, an hour+ away from us, and is a project manager for LaFrance Corp., Concordville, PA. He works in its factory in China, a 45 minute ferry ride from Hong Kong, a few times a year for a few weeks. Interesting work, but definitely a company city in a ‘third world’ area, he says. After five VERY hot, humid summer weeks, he preferred his three weeks during a very warm, not-so-humid fall. He and his high school friends premiered their new movie, Franklin II, this Saturday night at a church in Bethlehem. They have a good time. It’s not serious movie-making, but with serious production values, I guess. His website is emptybookshelf.com.

Come see our kitchen some time. Primer White (2 coats on walls & trim, which our 2nd contractor custom-made to cover #1’s mistakes takes time!) is looking pretty good. But that’s another story. The year of our totally incompetent contractor-thief is over! I’m jealous of all you handypeople!!

Sorry to be late, but the best to you in 2007!

Love,
Peggy and Gordon

end of letter
***

The 2006 Fuller Christmas Letter receives three stars. There was nothing patently untrue or unnecessarily subjective in it, though the details which make my life more difficult (such as the whole putting the ‘works in China’ part before ‘for a few weeks each year’) makes my Christmas season filled with too many conversations that start with “So, Dan, I hear you’re in China most of the year” then me following with, “well, I’m there less than two months per year…I’m in the US most of the year.” Minor grammatical quibbles aside, it provided a fair update of the Fullers for 2006AD.

I’ve never been known for my punctuality, so I cannot deduct any points for the fact that the cards will be going out during Epiphany instead of Advent/Christmas.

Dan’s review of The Myth of Christmas Starting Earlier Every Year


Dan prefers to think the Nessie does exist, because there’s no proof that it doesn’t.

Here we go again. It seems as though, once again, my opinion is wrong and has been invalidated by our site’s speech-impairing oppressor, the same man who makes up words like “opinionary” for use in his reviews. The opinion in question is my agreeance with the masses that the Christmas season is starting a bit earlier than normal this year. I have presented four facts proving that the department stores, media outlets, and product manufacturers have started promoting Christmas-themed items well before Thanksgiving. I provided dates for numerous events that occurred this year, not some vague concept of a time long ago, yet his rambling review is supposed to have more credibility than mine, just because it came more recently? I don’t see how this can fly. Sure, my facts may be wrong, and if presented with proper evedence that shows Santa coming to the mall before November 19th in any past years, or The Grinch airing before November 13th in the past, well then I am all about offering a retraction statement. Unfortunately for my detractors, I have very high doubts about said evidence’s existence. The reality is that Walmart has gone on record stating that their campaign, which started on November 1st this year was the earliest it’s ever been. Toys R US sent their first catalogue out the day after Halloween. Looking at the internet, it seems that either most of the evidence seems to agree with me, or it’s just more popular to agree with my point of view, as I’ve found numerous articles from places like the Chicago Tribune, one of Upstate New York’s top news outlets, and Dan’s favorite, USA Today. Of course, there are stores who are still sticking to the more traditional Thanksgiving-time start to the season, but if just two of those stores would start earlier, I would still be justified in saying that some stores are pushing Christmas merchandise earlier.

I suppose I’m getting away from Dan’s review, so let’s look at it, paragraph by paragraph. First of all, the picture caption. It’s said that I hate Christmas. While I actually laughed at the caption, it’s simply not true. In fact, Christmas is probably my favorite holiday, because there’s actually something to do, unlike the boring Thanksgiving, the all-too-saccharine Easter, and the incredibly depressing Valentine’s Day. Not only that, but nothing in my review states that I have any dislike for the holiday.

Next, he states that I have offered no valid negative effects of Christmas coming earlier each year. If I would’ve offered the negatives, I’m sure I would’ve been chastised for taking up valuable space with cliched arguments that one can find anywhere else on the worldwide web. If my implications in the review weren’t enough, I’ll put them explicitly. The continued expansion of the Christmas season has led to a decline in the amount of celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday, and potentially soon-to-be the Halloween holiday. In addition, the purveyors of said trends run the risk of creating a dissatisfaction with the holiday spirit, weeks before the holiday actually arrives, making it all the less enjoyable for us, the consumer, and the people who have to deal with Christmas songs 24/7.

Next, it is stated that I offered no comparison to years before, which is completely inaccurate. I offer that Santa used to come on Thanksgiving, the entire reason the Macy’s Parade exists in the first place. I also offer that in my childhood, I don’t remember Christmas progamming starting until at least after Thanksgiving, as I used to consider the showing of Rudolph and Frosty to be quite early. I then go on to say that it is completely inappropriate for candy to be Christmas-themed before Halloween, mostly because I’m not used to it being sold that early.

After this, he misreads my attempt at satire (in this specific case, exaggerating the start of the Christmas merchandising season to begin in July) as completely serious. In reality, I was searching for a picture of Santa on the beach, but this was the best picture I could find. I in no way actually believe that the Christmas season would ever start before Halloween (there’s too much merchandising to be made in the Halloween holiday that Thanksgiving doesn’t offer, as well as running the risk of completely alienating their consumers), let alone July.

I suppose that by using this thought process, Dan is literally suggesting that I transform myself into some sort of sheep and time travel back to twenty years ago to see that Christmas music was playing on the radio on November 1st (which is not an exaggeration), see the err of my ways, and come begging on my knees for forgiveness for being “wrong”. I don’t pretend that I’m not agreeing with all the other half-wits who haven’t thought this through, but the last time I disagreed with all the sheep who were following each other in agreeance, I was ripped apart anyway.

I’m not averse to Christmas being a season. In fact, it is a season, and always has been in the Church calendar. But that season starts four weeks before Christmas. Even this year, with Christmas falling on a Sunday, and Advent actually starting five weeks before Christmas, the season doesn’t start until November 27th, again, after Thanksgiving. My point was that this is the first year that I’ve seen significant proof that the people who have been harping on this point for years might be right. My disclaimer at the end effictively showed that in order to see if this is true, we would have to wait until a few years from now. Because I did not have the forethought to write down specific dates of things in the past, does that mean that my opinion should be considered wrong and invalidated? I don’t think so.

**

Dan’s Review of The Myth of Christmas Coming Earlier Every Year gets two stars, mostly because he presented little evidence to prove his case, instead relying on meandering, obscure ideas about the grass being greener on the other side and the probability that old people are wrong simply because they complain a lot and don’t always remember things. I’m not saying that he is wrong, per se, just that it appears as though my evidence greatly outweighs his, thereby lending more credence to my opinion. In addition, for a review that was specifically not supposed to be a review about my review, he spent more time discussing the merits of my ideas, instead of presenting his own case. I may be lashed for speaking out against the upper management, but perhaps this serves to be the last of the unwarranted reviews of other people’s reviews, namely those presented by the Junior Staff.

The Myth of the Christmas Season Coming Earlier Every Year

The Junior Staff has done it again. Instead of reviewing his review per se, I’ll simply re-assess the topic through the lens of having read his review. The issue with his review is simply that it’s plain-old wrong and short-sighted.

Nate hates Christmas.
Nate hates Christmas.

I know that Nate is older than I am (by a whole two months) and that the onset of his old age is even less graceful than mine. Does this mean that he’s moved into the territory of old-cooted-ness? Apparently yes. He offers no truly negative issues relating to the ballooning of the “Christmas Season,” except that it might begin to eventually float into his late-September birthday. In fact, that very day is already marked by a number of historical events and feasts for a a variety of martyrs . Of course, Nate’s birthday isn’t included in these lists, but I’d wager that the populace at large would be more upset that the Christmas Season is encroaching on the anniversary of the Battle of the Sexes tennis match than Nate’s birthday. That out of the way, onto the more general aspects of “the myth.”

Yes, the whole “Christmas-thing” starts early every year. But earlier each year? I doubt it. The Junior Staff offers no comparison to either his youth, his parents’ youth, his grandparents’ youth, or even the creepy old guy’s down the street. In fact, he even says that he has “no historical evidence to back it up.” Now, I’m sure that “way back when,” it was different; the times when people walked to school uphill both ways and Christmas shopping, planning, etc. all began at 10am sharp on December 21st. Those were the “good old days,” and that’s the way they likes it (that’s not a typo). It would seem that the Junior Staff subconsciously remembers those times even though he was born during the Reagan administration. At least ten years ago (probably 15), I remember being at what was then the new BJ’s Wholesale Club on Airport Road. It was mid-September, and guess what, there was a section of the store selling Christmas junk (literally…like those robotic Santas that probably start hundreds of fires each year). Maybe the season starting earlier each year is more widespread than in the past, but it’s not like we see Christmas specials in July and August (Christmas in July sales aren’t Christmas sales, thank you very much). If retailers started pushing Christmas in the summer, it probably wouldn’t get very far, as even though there are people who get their Christmas shopping done extremely early in the year, increasing the amount of Christmas advertising early in the year won’t convert the sane people who take care of it nearer to the actual date.

If Nate wants to complain that it comes early each year, that’s one thing (though it would be a rather trite review, which is probably why he instead reviewed the concept of it coming earlier each year), but giving credence to the myth is just bad news. People like to complain and people like to think it was better in the past. It’s like the story of the sheep who wanted to graze in the neighbor’s grass because it looked better. They went over to the neighbor’s and started to graze, only to then wish they were back on the original side. Well, this whole Christmas Season nonsense is like those sheep, except instead of wanting to graze in the neighbor’s field, they want to use a time machine to graze 20 years ago, when they “remember” that the grass was better. Of course, the grass wasn’t any better and most of them don’t even remember it, and a fair number weren’t even born yet.

Please don’t be one of those time travelling sheep.

*

The Myth of the Christmas Season Starting Earlier Each Year receives one star due to the fact that while not completely a fabrication of the sentimental, it is a greatly exaggerated event. Sure, way back when (maybe the time of Constantine?) Christmas was a day, not a season, but that distinction changed almost equally long ago. In the mean time, the season has grown, but it’s safe to say that it hasn’t been during my (or any of my contemporaries’) lives.

The Myth of the Christmas Season Coming Earlier Every Year


Is this where we’re headed?

I used to think this was a joke; something that hippies and old ladies complain about. “Christmas is getting here earlier every year”. “Yeah, right”, I’d say. “Thanksgiving is still Thanksgiving, and Christmas season doesn’t start until after that, on Black Friday when all the parents of the spoiled children rush to the malls and toystores at five in the morning to fight over a tickle-me-elmo doll.”

That was, of course, until three pieces of information got to me this year. Firstly, last Saturday, November 12th, while visiting Ithaca College, I saw an ad that TBS was running. The Grinch was on, telling us all about how he was going to steal Christmas. This is the old animated Grinch, not the crappy, overhyped, overproduced, overgrossing Jim Carrey atrocity. This was the classic cartoon that gets played every year; as much a part of Christmas as the 24-hour marathon of “A Christmas Story” is. Except one thing. They were advertising it because it was airing the next day. That’s right. November freakin 13th marks the official first day of the Christmas television season this year. A full twelve days before shopping season gets into full swing. Of course, this is not to say that Christmas specials have never aired this early. Rudolph and Frosty, etc. usually air around the 7th of December, but that’s forgiveable. Those actually air in the same month as Christmas, without another major holiday between the two. There used to be a time when there actually were Thanksgiving specials (hard to believe, I know). The one I remember had something to do with a bear in a pilgrim suit becoming friends with some other animal (maybe a duck?) dressed as an Indian, and I seem to remember it airing every year. Of course, it could all be a dream, or something I made up because I can’t find it after numerous internet searches.

Secondly: A few days later, I heard a radio ad for the Palmer Park Mall. I’m not sure exactly where that is (Maybe Jersey?). The main focus of the ad was that Santa was coming. HOORAY. Santa’s going to ride in on a fire engine on Thanksgiving day, signifying the coming of the Christmas shopping bonanza. WRONG! Santa is now coming to the mall on the totally arbitrary Saturday the 19th of November…. BEFORE THANKSGIVING! What’s the point? An extra four days to see Santa? Was there really that much of a demand to see Santa last year that kids didn’t get to see him because of time constraints? Are the kids really ready to see Santa this early in the year? I don’t mean to sound paranoid here, but is there some sort of Santa war going on between malls where they’re trying to get there earlier than the next guy to draw more business? Freakin Santa!

Thirdly, while at Redners, pushing the cart for the website’s egomaniacal slavemaster, we were looking near the candy department, by the WALL OF VALUES. And we noticed sweet little hershey candy, wrapped in yuletide colors. Awww, how nice. Green and Red kisses, green and red Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Green and Red Rollos, you get the idea. Really decorative and sweet for your holiday. Except… IT WAS FREAKIN OCTOBER 25th (or thereabouts). This is time to be selling Halloween candy. Pumpkins, and witches, and ghosts, not Christmas trees. I guess the idea is that you can get your Christmas candy early and let it sit in your dish, counting down the days. The one thing that doesn’t cross your mind while waiting for this candy to be in season is that it loses freshness and by the time it actually is December, that candy is more than likely going to break your teeth when you bite into it. The only other reason that I can suggest for the candy being there is that maybe… just maybe, Redners didn’t sell it the year before, which would explain why it was sitting on the WALL OF VALUES!

My point is this: we need to slow down. The earlier we start celebrating Christmas, the sooner we run out of material, and we’re forced to create four additional Charlie Brown specials, or watch Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey look as though they’re having seisures while singing carols, or I don’t know, watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” all four times that NBC shows it. We’ll be celebrating in September soon enough, and then my birthday will become engulfed in the massive Holiday that’s enveloped the rest of the fourth quarter of the year. And that’s the real shame of it all. Let’s not let that happen. For the children.

I forgot one thing. Sunny 104.5 in Philly is now playing all holiday music. They started last week (November 15th about). With over a month of this stuff, you’d think your head would explode.

****

The Myth of the Christmas Season Starting Earlier and Earlier gets four stars as it seems to be true, but I have no historical evidence to back it up. Next year, we’ll compare the dates for the Grinch special and Santa’s first day at work, then we’ll see.