A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 18, 2015
“Play for the name on the front of the jersey, not on the back”

Player names are usually on the back of their uniforms; team names are usually on the front. “Play for the name on the front of the jersey, not on the back” is a saying that has been printed on many posters. “Are you playing for the name on the front of the jersey or on the back?” was credited to Canadian hockey coach Sherwood (Sherry) Bassin in 1993. “If you play for the name on the front of the jersey,” Bassin added, “then everybody will remember the name on the back.”

“Play for the name on the front of the shirt, and they’ll remember the name on the back” has been credited to Argentine footballer Lionel Messi from about 2007 and English footballer Tony Adams from about 2012.


Erie Otters (Canadian Hockey League)
Sherwood Bassin
Sherry Bassin, the only General Manager in Erie Otters history, has won at every level of hockey, including the 1993 Memorial Cup with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and two gold medals with the Canadian World Junior Team (1982 and 1985). He is also a two-time recipient of the OHL and CHL Executive-of-the-Year Awards (in 1990-91 while with the Greyhounds and in 2001-02 with the Otters).

As an OHL General Manager, the Oshawa, Ontario native has built five League Championship teams (Oshawa Generals in 1983 and 1987; Sault Ste. Marie in 1991 and 1992 and the Otters in 2002) and participated in six Memorial Cup Tournaments.

26 May 1993, Winnipeg (Manitoba) Free Press, “The Legend ascends throne” by Scott Taylor, pg. C1, col. 5:
SHERWOOD BASSIN slipped out of Winnipeg’s North End 20 years ago believing in the theories of the legendary Vince Lombardi.

Bassin is never without an epithet.
(...)
No. 3: Are you playing for the name on the front of the jersey or on the back?
“If you play for the name on the front of the jersey,” Bassin laughs. “Then everybody will remember the name on the back.”

6 March 1995, The Capital Times (Madison, WI), “Unity works wonders” by Mike Lucas, pg. 1B, col. 6:
The old cliche applies about playing for the name in front of the sweaters instead of the name on the back.

Google Books
Coaching: The Art and the Science:
The complete guide to self management, team management, and physical and psychological preparation

By Dave Chambers
Toronto, ON: Key Porter Books
1997
Pg. 136:
Are you playing for the name on the back of your sweater or the name on the front of the sweater?
Sherry Bassin, manager, junior and professional hockey

6 February 1999, Augusta (GA) Chronicle, “Devils near top spot” (AP), pg. 4B, col. 3:
“We play for the name on the front of our jerseys and not on the back—that symbolizes what we play for,” (Duke University basketball player Trajan—ed.) Langdon added.

29 July 1999, The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA), “Spotlight on area athletes” (Jodie Sheetz), Youth Plus, pg. 7, col. 4:
Advice for aspiring athletes: Play for the name on the front of the shirt instead of the one on the back.

Google News Archive
22 March 2005, Spartanburg (SC) , “Players keep it poppin’” by Lee Jenkins (New York Times), pg. D2, col. 6:
“Our team doesn’t have names on the back of our jerseys,” Winthrop guard Terrell Martin said. “So we play for the name on the front.”

Google News Archive
17 January 2006, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), “Playoffs: No regular season rematches remain,” pg. B5, col. 3:
New Kansas City Chiefs coach Herman Edwards: “The one thing I do know, and I will promise you this—the players who play for this football team, they will play for the name on the side of the helmet, not the name on the back of the jersey.”

Google News Archive
26 July 2006, Sarasota (FL) Herald Tribune, “Krzyzewski: ‘There’s no ego problems on team USA’” by William C. Rhoden, pg. 2C, col. 1:
“They’re all trying to fit in. There are no ego problems; there have been no problems. They’ve shown already that they’re playing for the name on the front of the jersey, not the back. They’ve played and practiced like it’s an honor to be here. I’m pleased.”
(Team USA basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski.—ed.)

Twitter
Tia Dobi
‏@TiaDobi
Tommy Lasorda “Play for the name on the front of the jersey, not on the back.” http://tommy.mlblogs.com/archives/2005/04/ nice
9:50 PM - 17 Jan 2009

Twitter
Basketball Babe
‏@baskeballbabe
Quote of the Day: “Play for the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back.”
3:24 PM - 22 Apr 2009

Google Books
188 Business Tips (and 300 Questions) to Get Your Brain Juices Flowing
By Michael Daehn
Lulu.com
2010
Pg. 41:
There’s an old saying in hockey: play for the name on the front of your jersey, not the name on the back. In other words, play for your team’s success, not your own.

Twitter
Alex Prior
‏@AleeexPrior
Football is a sport where you play for the name on the front of your shirt and everyone will remember the name on the back!
12:53 AM - 28 Feb 2010

Twitter
☮☯ S_Gabriel
‏@Sheylaax3
“You just gotta play for the name on the front of your shirt, and they’ll remember the name on the back.” Lionel Messi. <3
8:56 AM - 12 Jun 2010

Twitter
Izzat Helmi
‏@izarthelmi
play for the name on the front of the shirt, and they’ll remember the name on the back - Tony Adams
8:28 AM - 27 Apr 2012

The Clock End
Top 10 Tony Adams Quotes
posted in Featured, Featured2 on September 24, 2013 by Kaya Ismail
For 22 years, Tony Alexander Adams plied his trade as a defender for Arsenal Football Club, graduating from the youth system, rising to captaincy, winning trophies and, inevitably, a place in every Arsenal fan’s heart.
(...)
3. Play for the Name on the Front…
This one is an extremely famous quote, and rightly so. For me, it pretty much embodies everything Tony Adams stood for as an Arsenal player.

With over 500 senior appearances for Arsenal, scoring 32 goals from centre-back and winning trophies, it’s fair to say that Adams played for the name on the front. Consider yourself remembered, Tony.

“Play for the name on the front of the shirt, and they’ll remember the name on the back.”

New York (NY) Post
Washington Heights Little League honors fallen officers
By Mike Vaccaro
April 18, 2015 | 5:06pm
(...)
One of the more remarkable ideas hatched along the way was for the 250 or 300 kids in the league to wear major league team names on the front of their shirts — Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, etc. — but on the back the players carry the name of an NYPD officer killed in the line of duty.

“You know the old saying, ‘You don’t play for the name on the back of the jersey, but for the name on the front of the jersey?’ We do it a little different,” Moynihan says. “We really do play for the name on the back of the jersey.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Saturday, April 18, 2015 • Permalink