Geoff Case was the man of the hour at the American Airlines Center yesterday, which is saying something -- he beat Mark Cuban, Chandler Parsons and Tyson Chandler for that honor.
He was the winner of the first ever fan contest for a professional team's jersey and got to be front-and-center at the Mavericks' press conference yesterday (he's in the lead photo on the left). The $1,000 and 2015-16 season tickets that Cuban awarded him at the press conference is nice, but I can imagine nothing compares to the moment when he first sees Dirk entering the floor in a jersey that he created.
A special thanks for Geoff for answering some questions over email for us and be sure to follow him on Twitter at @GeoffCase.
Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been a MFFL? How long have you done graphic design?
I can't claim to be a day-one MFFL because I was born in 1982 but always a fan of the local teams. I wasn't a diehard Mavericks fan until Mark Cuban took over the team, then Dirty, Nashty, Filthy happened and I was hooked.
I've been drawing since I could walk. I have artists on both sides of my family so it's something that has always come naturally to me, which is a true blessing. It's nice to be able to create for a living because it's a great way to eliminate stress. Creative design, music and filmmaking are things I've always been able to just dive into.
Did you know right away when you saw Cuban's blog post that you wanted to submit a design?
Not really, I saw the early submissions and didn't see one that I was blown away by. I had drawn some early version Mavs skyline jerseys in high school that looked interesting around 1998 or something. I didn't see any Skylines posted at the time, this disappointed me and decided that I couldn't leave my Mavs hanging without a proper version of the concept.
Since I knew what direction to take, I spent the next three days working on how to bring the Skyline to life. I watched YouTube videos of some of my favorite Mavericks games for inspiration (Dirk dropping 53 on the Rockets) and listened to Kanye West's 808 and Heartbreak on repeat during the entire creative process. Streetlights in particular was a big influence.
Why did you decide to put the Dallas skyline front and center?
The Mavs and the ACC are the main reason that downtown/uptown areas have been revitalized in the last decade. The Dirty/Filthy/Nashty/Cuban era got people excited about going to downtown again. Suddenly it was cool to catch a Mavs game and hit the bars afterward. Heck, you might have even seen Dirk and Nash playing pool. What better way to honor the turnaround of the Mavericks and the downtown area by cementing that legacy and story in a jersey design. It also provides emotional and visual context to the experience of going to a MAVS game with one of the city's most recognizable features. It incorporates the branding of the current mavs which is cost effective and selfishly gives me a jersey to rock in NBA2K that represents my city.
What are some of your favorite jerseys, both basketball and in other sports? Did they inspire your design?
I really think you should have clean lines and with the addition of HD television the textures of the fabrics should be interesting and semi complex but only if they add to the design objective. Some of my favorite current jersey designs of all time are listed below. Obviously, the Denver Nuggets jersey is one that is similar to the Skyline at first glance and it's hard to approach a that type of design without someone saying Nuggets, but honestly I've always thought that particular design is too busy with the rainbow colors and mountains. The stark background of Dallas skyline on jersey is much more powerful in my humble opinion.
Baylor Bears (Alt Black jerseys, Golden chrome helmets)
Boston Celtics (Current)
Brooklyn Nets (Jersey, not logo)
Seattle Seahawks (Current)
Dallas Cowboys (Current)
Golden State (The City)
Chicago Bulls (Current)
Dallas Mavericks (Home whites)
Miami Heat (Blacks)
What was your reaction when you found out the Mavs were picking yours out of more than 1,000 submissions?
Honestly, I was pretty confident in the design because a bunch of people contacted me after I posted it and were really passionate about it. However, the contest was set-up where they could decide not to pick anybody. The amount of time that passed between the end of the final voting that I assumed that was probably the case. When I got the call that my design won I was pumping gas and did like a half Michael Jackson type air kick, which made it kind of awkward at the Shell station but I didn't care. Even if you think you have a good shot at something there is nothing that can prepare you to hear that your favorite team is going to add something you created to their legacy.
I think the Mavericks fans will understand that I don't think it will fully hit me until I see Dirk Nowitzki walk out in a Skyline next year.