Yes, this tie is back. It is in honor of the sacrifice of the Red Heifer described in Numbers 19, the beginning of this week’s Parashat Hukkat. One could not enter the precincts of the Tabernacle or Temple in a state of ritual impurity. Only being sprinkled with the ashes of the red heifer would remove defilement from having had contact with the dead. As Professor Jacob Milgrom wrote, the Temple is a place to affirm life. Associations with death are not welcome.
As far as the tie goes, the Chicago Bulls may already be dead for this year, but basketball fever is still in the air.