This February, ’47 continues its celebration of the Black Fives Era –– the time from 1904 to 1950 when all-Black basketball teams emerged and flourished amidst a racially divided nation. Despite this reality, players had the courage and wisdom to know they could make history through sport –– and that’s exactly what they did.
Black Fives teams barnstormed cities across the U.S., at times playing multiple games in one day. The energy, talent, and ability to bring communities together over love for the game couldn’t go unnoticed. From Washington to Chicago to New York where the Harlem Rens went on an unprecedented 88 game winning streak –– the Black Fives secured a place in history and a future in basketball was inevitable.
In collaboration with the Black Fives Foundation, ’47 is dedicated to uncovering the stories and preserving the legacy of these pioneers, never taking for granted both the power and fragility of unity.
With this in mind, we worked with Complex to connect Claude Johnson (Executive Director of the Black Fives Foundation), Sean Kilpatrick (Shooting Guard for the Brooklyn Nets) and Muideen Ogunmola (Designer of YOBLOCKNATION) as they reflect on what the narrative means today. See the full story here.
In 2015, Black Fives x ’47 launched a debut collection featuring the authentic identities of the league’s original teams. In 2016 we expanded the offering, and this year, the team graphics have been reimagined through the lens of Ogunmola, incorporating his iconic, illustrative style.
Ogunmola’s love for sport (especially basketball) along with his Nigerian heritage and passion for African arts inspired him to include elaborate patterns, bold pops of team colors, and authentic quilt-like patches into this year’s assortment.
The artwork now lives on premium ’47 headwear silhouettes within the Black Fives x ’47 Collection, seen on Kilpatrick in the gallery below – shot not far from where the Harlem Rens created their legacy: