Greatest Uniforms in Sports, No. 5: New Zealand All Blacks
“Aggressiveness, intimidation, honour, respect, courage, war—embodied in one uniform. And it only needs one colour to say it all” is how Arden Zwelling describes the New Zealand All Blacks uniform in an article for Sportsnet Magazine.
It is the most intimidating uniform you can wear. No flashy logos, no patterns, no designs. Just darkness coming at you from all directions.
The All Blacks uniform epitomizes rugby. Rugby is a game based on esteem and tradition. Foul play is often policed not by the referee but by the players themselves, who dole out cleated stomps at the bottom of piles to guilty parties; teams shake hands after games and applaud each other off the field; players address the referee as “sir.” You honour those who came before you in the game and those who will come after you with the way you play, and you respect your opponent, even as you’re driving your shoulder through his ribs.
The All Blacks approach to rugby is aggressive, much like the their uniform, which embodies the fierce competitiveness that they bring to the pitch. Since 1892 the uniform barely has changed. The founders of the New Zealand rugby union chose black jerseys with a silver fern leaf over the heart, white shorts and black socks as the official uniform. By the 1900s, the shorts were black, too, and countries the team toured took to calling the squad the “All Blacks.” Every team would wear all black if they could, but not every team could pull it off.
The teams below have been prevoiusly featured by the magazine for their great uniform previously:
No.1: Montreal Canadiens
No.2: New York Yankees
No.3: Boston Celtics
No.4: Chicago Blackhawks