The NBA and the fine folks at adidas have gotten more aggressive in their jersey marketing strategy recently, adding a version with sleeves to the rotation last season and expanding that offering to more teams during the current campaign that just began.
Christmas Day is often viewed as the time that the game’s more casual fans begin to pay attention, and that opportunity won’t be wasted as all 10 teams playing on the holiday will be wearing unique versions of the sleeved jerseys for that special occasion.
Some photos circulated on Thursday of what these jerseys would look like, and despite the lack of any official announcement, it’s been confirmed that these are in fact the ones that the teams will wear on December 25.
From Paul Lukas of ESPN.com:
ESPN.com can confirm that photos circulating on the Internet on Thursday are what NBA teams will be wearing on Christmas Day. The jerseys will have sleeves and, more intriguingly, will not have uniform numbers on the front. Instead, they will carry a team logo on the chest, similar to a hockey jersey, with the uniform number moved to the left sleeve. Each player’s name and number will remain on the back, as usual. The overall visual effect is that of a glorified T-shirt.
Several of the jerseys were offered for sale earlier this week by an eBay seller called “erikdeals,” whose listings for the Christmas jerseys included versions for the Bulls, Heat, Nets, Lakers and Thunder, all of whom are playing on Christmas Day. Although erikdeals’ auction listings referred to the jerseys as “warm-ups,” the designs matched the Christmas Day game jerseys shown in a recent adidas catalog obtained by ESPN.com.
It’s purely a commercial enterprise eschewing tradition in favor of these versions, but keep in mind they’ll look a little better on the players in a game situation than they do laid out in these photos.