The sleeved jerseys are being worn more and more in NBA games this season. They were also worn during the All-Star Game and during the month of March (During “Latin Nights”, honoring Latino Heritage). According to Adidas, the sleeved jerseys are selling faster than they first projected. The new commissioner Adam Silver mentioned how statistics show that shooting percentages were almost identical when players wore sleeved jerseys as when they wore traditional one and if the players didn’t like them, then the issue would be up for discussion.
Well, you can add the NBA’s biggest star LeBron James among those who might want to have a discussion — he doesn’t like them.
The Miami Heat’s All-Star forward voiced his complaint after a 6-of-18 shooting night as the San Antonio Spurs beat the Heat 111-87.
“I’m not making excuses, but I’m not a big fan of the jerseys,” James told reporters. “Not a big fan of them. I have to figure something out the next time I have to wear the short sleeved jerseys…
“Every time I shoot it pulled,” James continued. “It feels like it’s just pulling every time I shoot, right underneath my arm. I already don’t have much room for error on my jump shot anyway, so it’s definitely not a good thing.”
James also wore the sleeved jersey on Christmas when the Heat played the Los Angeles Lakers where he went 7-of-14 on the floor, but went 0-of-4 from three-point line. A few players have gone with wearing the sleeved jersey a couple of sizes larger just to create a little room. Silver said that there were mixed results from players who were surveyed about the new jerseys.
The fact is, this is all about money. When Silver became the new commissioner, his main focus was bringing in more revenue for the league and using every avenue necessary to achieve that goal. In 2012 the former commissioner David Stern stated that “sponsorship patches” were in the works over the summer and were scratched out, not because Stern is against it…
As a personal matter, I am not in favor of it, but I’m not standing in the way of it, If my board wants to do it, we’ll do it… [NBA uniforms have] no information of the manufacturer and no sponsor, and that is something that I have worked hard to preserve for many decades. But I understand that the time may have to come to consider it. So we’re going to let the Board of Governors decide what to do.
The “Patch Project” was shut down because the NBA owners couldn’t find a way to split the profits. Yes, the owners couldn’t find an equitable way to distribute their greed in a way that will please every owner. They found a new revenue stream with the patches, but now that they have discovered a money-maker, they are fighting because they cannot share.
The NBA may not be able to bring the patches in for another year or two, but if the “Richie Riches” of the league find a way to play nice and learn how to split the money up, the project will be up and running sooner than you think. Commissioner Silver is thinking ahead, he believes more material is needed on the jerseys to fit more sponsorship patches so they can make more money, hence the sleeved jerseys.
If it’s true that the jerseys are selling better than projected, the NBA isn’t going to move away from them. So the fans and the players better get used to them, because they look to be here to stay.