When I was formatting Jason Clinkscales' excellent story on the release of the movie 42, based on the story of Jackie Robinson, one thing I wanted to do is make sure that the photos in the article were awesome. These are the things you think about as the editor: "Does that headline make sense?" or "Is this the right photo?" or "Should I use its or it's?" (If you knew how much cussing out I receive from our senior editor Joe Boland over the misuse of its vs. it's, you'd think I was his illegitimate bastard child. I love that guy.)
Anyway, one thing that immediately popped into my mind was looking at Jackie Robinson's actual jersey. Got damn that thing is beautiful. I'm not a Dodger fan, but there's something beautiful about the Dodger uniform. The cursive blue script, the block red numbers in the front, the simple blue text in the back....I mean, I see how Mookie could rock the #42 jersey while slaving his way up and down the hot streets of Brooklyn carrying hot pizzas while trying to figure out a way to keep Rosie Perez's fine ass happy.
So it got me to thinking...if I could only choose one, which jersey would I rock for the rest of my dying days? Now mind you, I haven't rocked an actual jersey for casual wear in over a decade, and I probably wouldn't wear an actual jersey again unless I was attending a sporting event to support my favorite squad. I've narrowed this down to four choices...
THE HOMETOWN CHOICE
Adrian Peterson's #28, Oklahoma Sooners - I thought for a long time about selecting Derick Strait's #2 OU jersey or Barry Sanders' #21 Oklahoma State jersey, but there hasn't been a more empowering feeling in my life as a Sooners fan then watching #28 rumble up and down the field. If I put this on, it represents home, and even if folks know nothing about the state of Oklahoma, they know about the Oklahoma Sooners...and they know about All Day.
THE HIPSTER CHOICE
Thierry Henry's #14, Arsenal - There's something to be said about being able to recognize the person who made you a fan of an entire sport. For me and soccer, Thierry Henry is that guy. Yes, wearing a football kit (jersey for you heathens who know nothing about anything outside 'Merica) would be the hipster choice here in The States, but this is the guy is the reason I'll wake up at 7:45am on a Saturday to watch soccer. You're damn right I'll wear his jers....kit.
THE HALL OF FAME CHOICE
Gary Payton's #2, Seattle Supersonics - If we were making this choice based on the first ever jersey I've actually owned, then this would be it. Before the Thunder came to Oklahoma City, I was fortunate enough to already be a Sonics fan, and although Shawn Kemp will be my favorite Sonic of all-time, the first jersey I owned was that of Gary Payton. When Gary Payton was named to the 2013 NBA Hall Of Fame class, I was elated and overwhelmed as my boyhood hero was receiving the ultimate honor. It made me think of a gift my Uncle Bill gave me as a 6-year old, a #2 Sonics jersey of some rookie I'd never heard of from Oregon State named Gary Payton. (I think I wore that thing until it fit like a wifebeater.)
THE EASIEST CHOICE EVER
David Justice's #23, Atlanta Braves - No lie, thinking about this damn near made me tear up. Yes I know, I'm a big softie. However, when I think of my childhood and my love for the Atlanta Braves, it all comes back to my grandfather. Grandpop, as I was accustomed to calling him as a rambunctious kid, would always have on TBS with the Braves on. When the Braves finally made the World Series in 1995, I'd sit with him and watch every game. Now, I'd already long ago adopted David Justice as my favorite player, and when he'd come to the plate I'd nudge my grandpop on his leg to partially show my excitement, and also to make sure he was awake to see my boy Dave do work. It was Game 6, the store was tied 0-0, and we were one win away from bringing home that 'ship. Then Dave did what needed to be done...
As soon as he hit it, I yelled and ran around my grandparents to the point that I probably gave my Grandma a heart attack, my cousin stopped listening to his Infamous album by Mobb Deep to see what the commotion was, and I've never seen my Grandpop that happy in my entire life. I was 12 years old, and I took that moment for granted. I thought I'd be able to see my Atlanta Braves win a few more championships over the next 10+ years, sadly that wouldn't be the case. I thought I'd be able to see my Grandpop that happy again, and it took until my graduation from college almost 10 years later for him to be that happy again.
So yes, I'll take that exquisite thing of beauty that is the #23 jersey of David Justice any day of the week. Hopefully, it'll keep me from shedding a tear for my Grandpop.
So here's your question of the day, If You Could Only Choose One Jersey To Ever Wear, What Would It Be?
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Eddie Maisonet is the founder and editor emeritus of The Sports Fan Journal. Currently, he serves as an associate editor for ESPN.com. He is an unabashed Russell Westbrook and Barry Switzer apologist, owns over 100 fitteds and snapbacks, and lives by Reggie Jackson’s famous quote, “I am the straw that stirs the drink.”