Earlier today, pictures of Alabama football’s new locker room leaked out, causing recruits and fanboys across the web to drool on their keyboards. While still a work in progress, it’s clear that new locker room, part of $9 million in renovations, is all that and several national championships. When looking at the pictures, it was hard for not to compare it to UK’s new locker room at Rupp Arena, which was finished last winter. Therefore, it was hard for me no to write a post about it. I compared the two in five categories: lighting, graphics, mural wall, lockers, and floor. I’ve got a “G” and I’m sitting on an “O”…
To be fair, Alabama’s locker room is not finished. But, from the looks of it, it has a similar circular area as UK’s, although it will probably be used for a different function, considering that you could probably only fit Alabama’s D-Line and O-Line inside of it. Maybe. Each area contains an homage to its program’s championship-laden, and the red glow around Bama’s gives me some serious Miami nightclub feelings, but since it is one of their colors, you can’t really fault them for that. UK’s blue rim around the edge of the ceiling and uplights around the banner inset give the locker room a cool, spacey hue complimented by the individual locker detail lights. The “A” cutout in the ceiling is neat, but UK’s blue trumps the flamingo pink in my book.
This one was tough for me. UK’s got a lot of graphics in its locker room areas, including murals of former players, accomplishments, and a giant mural of the 2012 championship moment in the kitchen area (more on that later). Alabama’s graphics are a little more abstract, featuring renderings of the 2011 and 2012 national championship rings etched on the walls. I give them props for thinking outside of the box when it comes to honoring their storied history, but honestly, if you’re going that route, I expect a little more houndstooth. In terms of art, they get the nod over Kentucky’s photo collages, but there’s no better way to showcase success than having every current NBA player’s picture on the wall, along with a row of metallic national championship medallions.
I love the giant graphic of the championship-winning moment and all its glory, but it can’t compare to Alabama’s striking mural of the players coming on to the field. The photo is shot from the players’ perspective and really puts you in the moment. Even better, the picture is actually a composite of past Alabama legends running onto the field, including Julio Jones, Mark Ingram, Cornelius Bennett, Derrick Thomas, Chris Samuels, Barrett Jones, and Greg McElroy. A similar mural will be unveiled later featuring Alabama’s NBA alums, similar to the one Kentucky has near the front of the Joe Craft Suite.
Gotta go with UK here. Understandably, Alabama had to purchase many more lockers for their players, but that metal finish is just begging to be dented, smeared with fingerprints, or possibly punched in anger. It also doesn’t look very comfortable to sit in, and I’m only 5’3″. I could easily see players smacking the backs of their heads against the metal when leaning back. That’s not likely to happen in UK’s locker room, which features a little less storage. Still: wood > cheap metal.
The “A” is nice, but you can’t beat an actual piece of your program’s history. Go Cats.
Not so final verdict: As you can tell, so far, Kentucky’s locker room at Rupp Arena is still superior; however, we haven’t seen pictures of the alleged waterfall that is being installed in Alabama’s locker room this summer, so perhaps a comprehensive comparison will come once it’s completed. Water features do change everything. Either way, I hope Mark Stoops and company are taking notes for the future Commonwealth Stadium remodel.