Look the Film: White Men Can’t Jump

White Men Can't Jump

The purpose of a Look the Film dedicated to making you look like a chump is obscure even to me.

But here it is regardless.

It might be that 90s dorkism is about to make a roaring return. It might be an homage to the warmer months when you could (theoretically) get away with dressing like this. It might be because a friend requested it and I had no better ideas to hand. I digress, here we go, how to dress like Woody Harrelson’s chump from White Men Can’t Jump.

And on first look, surprise surprise, there has already been a direct basketball boot tie-in from Nike. The Nike Hyperlite was launched in 2009, with the simple white outer and flash of neon yellow across the sole’s heel. Alas, it seems no cynical movie/shoe combo is going to be easy for Look the Film, with these no longer available. Forgoing the defining yellow streak, the Nike Court Force Hi (£45, JD Sports), offers a subtly grey shoe, dorky enough to make even Woody Harrelson look like a herbert.

And so began a search for socks: so grey and 90s they look capable of producing a pong hitherto particular to adolescent boys. After an exhaustive(ish) search for this grey/red stripe combo I reached a compromise (or was defeated and settled for) Light Grey Striped socks (£12.00, TopMan). This way we can pay homage to the Nike’s missing yellow by selecting the yellow topped pair from the five pack.

A caveat: never buy shorts like those in this picture. Certainly never buy them to play basketball in. The Quiksilver Murf 22’s (£45, boardshorts.co.uk) mimic the trashiness of Billy Hoyle’s b-ball shark, but are otherwise inexcusable. Some classic 90s layering is needed up top, with a French Terry Drop-Shoulder Sweatshirt (£39, American Apparel) forming a base layer for the lack-of-sense-defining Parental Advisory T-shirt (£14.99, 8ball.co.uk) to play on top of.

A bigger caveat: I do not endorse the wearing of caps. I just give thanks that I live in a world where finding a cap as bad as the one in White Men Can’t Jump is this difficult. I spent hours trying to find a pig ugly, tie dyed multicolour hat, and I settled on this Lady’s Union Jack Pink Heart Design Diamante Baseball Cap (£5.36, Universal Textiles). A travesty.

Nike Court Force Hi – £45
Light Grey Striped socks (Five pairs) – £12.00
Quiksilver Murf 22’s – £45
French Terry Drop-Shoulder Sweatshirt – £39
Parental Advisory T-shirt – £14.99
Lady’s Union Jack Pink Heart Design Diamante Baseball Cap – £5.36

Total: £161.35

Total including postage (UK): 177.82

As an alternative you could slice open a basketball, stuff £177.82 into it and kick it into the ocean.

Just Not Cricket: How Don Delillo Breaks Cultural Sporting Barriers

Delillo’s Sports: End Zone, 1972 – American Football, Pafko at the Wall, 1992 – Baseball.

Here in England it is hard not to understand the passion evoked by football on some level. Not the wife-beating hooliganism passion, but the type born out of formative years spent watching and yearning and of infatuation and opinions passed on from parent to child (admittedly mainly from father to son). Obviously this goes beyond our boundaries, and the same passion can be found from the villages of Lagos to the icy playing fields of St Petersburg.

But baseball? American football? We seem to have a tacit agreement with our country folk to not understand the sport of the ‘other’. There are too many rules, everything is played out on technicalities. They look tough but they are dressed up like bomb disposal experts. On and on we can go, all the while ignoring the undesirables of our own game; the divers, the overpaid self-infatuated shadows of the game’s past, Birmingham FC.

When I was in my teens I liked American Football because I thought Americans were, without doubt, the most amazing people in the world. They made TV, sounded cool regardless of what they were talking about and were, like, totally awesome in a war. I learnt the ins and outs of American Football via a combination of late night TV and the Sega Mastersystem – but it was only ever a surface attraction: the fanfare enthralling an underdeveloped mind.

Don Delillo writes the American sports on the same level we understand ours: a schoolboy infatuation which for a select few turns into a fantasy come true. He captures the reality of slight increases and the pain and despondency of failure heaped on defeat with a sprinkling of humiliation. His writing doesn’t seek to explain the sport, but shows how the game is made to mean something by the people who watch it.

He speaks to the majority of his readers by being the majority of his readers; the focus of our passion makes an attractive livelihood for very few. A scattering more hold it as a jobbing hobby/second income. For the majority these achievements are a social sacrifice too far, or more likely a skill unhad. Delillo turns you on to a sport by capturing all the anguish and disappointment wrapped up and released among the masses gathered to watch the few.