A recent report from Uni Watch’s Paul Lukas indicates “the NBA’s sleeved jerseys are not selling well.” Lukas, the go-to source for jersey-related information, got this information from a “buyer for a well-known chain of sporting goods stores” who remained anonymous.
As noted by Yahoo Sports:
The sleeved jerseys, in a small but significant sample size, made absolutely no impact on shooting percentages last season, but that isn’t the point. NBA players are slavish to routine, from literal head to toe. They didn’t grow up wearing these sorts of jerseys, and they’re vocally uncomfortable about change this far into their careers. That’s usually the case, with most rich dudes.
When Adidas thought of the idea to have sleeved jerseys three years ago, they believed they had something that would be trendy and make them a lot of money. The idea was simple enough: give teams an additional merchandising option and fans who may shy from a sleeveless wardrobe piece a chance to sport some official team gear.
Players commonly wear short-sleeve shirts under their jerseys in high school, college and practices. So Chris Grancio, Adidas’ head of global basketball, said putting sleeves on the NBA jersey was a “natural takeaway from how players choose to play today” and served as a “great opportunity for fans to embrace their favorite players or teams in a more authentic way.”
It is funny how adding a couple of inches of fabric can turn off players and fans from wearing or purchasing a jersey because of the look.
Before the Christmas Day debut, LeBron James was afraid that the sleeves would affect his shooting. The Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki and Warriors’ Stephen Curry called them ugly and awful. Trail Blazer Robin Lopez and former Heat forward Shane Battier also complained about the look. Knicks guard Beno Udrih was seen rolling up his sleeves after missing a three-point attempt on Christmas Day.
So is it any surprise that a recent report indicates that the unsightly, tight-fitting NBA sleeved jerseys aren’t selling well?
The NBA will probably give the sleeved jerseys at least another season or two before making a evaluation on the numbers. Even then, they’ll probably continue to sell them as long as they’re profitable; they may just eventually back off on making players wear them as a means of moving units.
It just might be time to trash this apparel project and move on to the next profit-maker for the NBA. Here comes the sponsorship patches.