Men’s basketball celebrates Mardi Gras in style with themed jerseys


On Jan. 31, just days after the first Mardi Gras parades of the year, Tulane men’s basketball debuted its new Mardi Gras-themed jerseys against East Carolina University.

The team also wore them in its game against Temple University this past Sunday. It follows in the tradition of New Orleans’ NBA team, the New Orleans Pelicans, who also don a unique jersey every year in celebration of festival season. The idea was sparked more than a year ago according to Interim Equipment Manager Gabe Delatte, who had a major hand in designing the Tulane uniforms.

“It actually kind of started from a bottom-up approach,” Delatte said. “Sometime last year some of our local players had, in passing, mentioned that idea like, ‘Hey, we should have a Mardi Gras jersey. That kind of got talked around in a vague sense and Coach [Mike] Dunleavy, when he heard about it, was all on board and started getting the ball moving.”

The jerseys still have a green base, similar to the usual road uniform, but they also have purple and gold striping. It was important to the players that all the Mardi Gras colors be included. Designers had to ensure, however, not to overuse purple and gold so the team would not look too similar to the LSU jerseys.

A team of collaborative designers already involved in the basketball program, including Delatte and Adam Miller, the associate director of strategic communications, were tasked with designing the jerseys. They were inspired by Marquette University’s iconic striping.

“We took that and tweaked it a little bit to fit our purposes and use that as a way to get the purple and gold into the design,” said Delatte. “We put the jester hat, we got ‘Roll Wave’ with beads around it, and also have the comedy and tragedy Mardi Gras masks, just to put as much Mardi Gras into the jerseys as possible.”

For Delatte and the rest of the team, the Mardi Gras jerseys mean more than just an interesting look. It is about connecting to the city in a new way, and connecting with both the local fan base and a nationwide one.

“It’s a great way to get excited about the heat of the conference season while … using that energy that’s going on in Mardi Gras to cross over to the basketball court,” Delatte said. “This is something that can make Tulane basketball stand out from the crowd for recruits, for fans and especially getting these things on TV, where our alumni base all across the country can see and be a part of that Mardi Gras season.”

The enthusiasm over the jerseys has also been uplifting for the team. The players were excited, and the reactions outside of the team have also been encouraging.

“I’ve just been seeing everywhere everybody’s loving them, trying to figure out how they can get their hands on them,” said Delatte. “We were taking a leap and a risk. It’s something that’s never been done before. I’ve happy that it’s been overwhelmingly positive.”

The team will wear these uniforms for two more games: Feb. 8 against Tulsa and Feb. 11 against Houston.

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