Basketball fans don’t agree on much, but there seems to be a unanimous disdain for sleeved NBA jerseys. The sentiment extends to players, who have been vocal with their disapproval since adidas introduced the style in 2013. Thus far, adidas and the NBA haven’t budged on doing away with sleeved unis, fueling speculation that they’re being kept around for extra jersey ad space in the future. But earlier tonight, the face of the league made an emphatic statement against his team’s new alternates.
Visibly frustrated with how he was shooting the ball during the 2nd quarter of tonight’s game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks, LeBron James ripped both of his sleeves to feel more comfortable. He’ll probably be fined for the act, but it’s understandable that a man who has been playing basketball in one system of dress for at least 25 years doesn’t want to feel restricted by unnecessary sleeves.
There’s also some unintentional (maybe) marketing going on here, with Nike set to take over official NBA apparel rights beginning with the 2017-2018 season. It’ll be interesting to see if the NBA, who has been a backer of the sleeved jerseys, insists on keeping them around.