‘Band Of Ballers’ Shirt Offends United States Veterans

Under Armour’s “Band of Ballers” shirt sparked intense controversy as it offended United States soldiers and veterans. The shirt, which parodies “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima,” features a silhouette of four basketball players “raising” a basketball hoop.

“Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima” is the work of photographer Joe Rosenthal. The iconic picture, which was taken in 1945, features six soldiers raising a large American flag on the island of Iwo Jima.

Not only is the photo visually stunning, it captures a significant moment in time.

In February 1945, United States Armed Forces began battling the Japanese Imperial Army for possession of the island of Iwo Jima. Although the United States was victorious, the number of casualties was staggering.

Within a period of 36 days, more than 19,000 U.S. soldiers were injured and 6,821 were killed. As reported by Military.com, “Iwo Jima was the only Marine battle where the American casualties… exceeded the Japanese.”

At the conclusion of The Battle of Iwo Jima, American soldiers erected flags to celebrate their hard-won victory.

As reported by CNN, Joe Rosenthal vehemently denied rumors that the iconic photo was staged. The photographer’s former colleague, Hal Buell, said Rosenthal was simply lucky enough to capture the perfect photo.

“… Joe got it… You couldn’t have captured the action at a better peak. A moment earlier, and the flag would have been too low. If it had been a second later, the flag’s staff would have been straight up and the photo wouldn’t have had that strong diagonal line.”

Rosenthal’s photo is iconic, as it symbolizes the victorious end of a devastating battle. It also captured the soldiers’ unwavering sense of patriotism.

As the photograph is widely known, Under Armour chose the theme for their “Band of Ballers” shirt. However, the design has become a point of heated controversy.


Wall Street Journal reports the clothing company received numerous complaints, including some harsh words from U.S. soldiers and veterans. As a result, Under Armour agreed to stop selling the controversial “Band of Ballers” shirt.

A company spokesperson also issued a public apology. However, the spokesperson contends the design was “not reflective of [their] commitment to support & honor our country’s heroes.”

The “Band of Ballers” shirt will not longer be available through Under Armour. However, the design remains a point of heated controversy.

[Image via Shutterstock]