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.
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.
Watch Giannis Antetokounmpo go off for 32 points, 13 boards, lead Bucks rout of Thunder
MILWAUKEE —Giannis Antetokounmpo had 32 points and 13 rebounds and the Milwaukee Bucks surged to a 24-point lead in the second quarter in a 133-86 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.
The 47-point loss was the Thunder’s worst of the season.
Both teams were without their second-leading scorers. Bucks All-Star Khris Middleton was a late scratch with a sore neck. An ankle injury kept Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari out.
The Bucks had won four in a row and the Thunder had won five straight.
The Bucks built their second-quarter lead behind 14 second-quarter points from Antetokounmpo, seven from Donte DiVincenzo, who started in place of Middleton, and back-to-back 3-pointers from Wesley Matthews.
A key moment occurred late in the second period.
With Milwaukee leading, 54-43, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer got a technical foul after approaching a referee during a timeout with 3:43 left in the quarter. That was moments after Eric Bledsoe was called for a charging foul that irked Budenholzer. After that, the Bucks went on a 17-4 run and led 71-47 at halftime.
Milwaukee outrebounded Oklahoma City, 67-36.
The Bucks made a season-high 21 3-pointers. The Thunder were 6 for 35 on 3-pointers.
Giannis Antetokounmpo shrugs off James Harden dig: ‘I’m just trying to do my job’
“I’m not the type of guy to take stabs at somebody. … I’m just trying to do my job which is win games and go back home to my family. At the end of the day, if that’s what he believes that’s what he believes. I can’t say anything about it. I’ve just got to keep being focused.”
If you’re circling dates on your calendar, March 25 is what you’re looking for, the day the Bucks host the Rockets.
Harden should believe he is the best player in the game — you don’t get to be where he is without that level of confidence. Antetokounmpo should believe the same thing about himself. We could say the same things about LeBron James, Luka Doncic, and a host of others. It’s part of what makes them great, and not a surprise.
If the MVP thing is eating at Harden he might not like this season’s outcome any better. While I haven’t done a poll, most voters I’ve spoken to have The Beard third behind Antetokounmpo and LeBron James. There’s still more than six weeks of basketball before votes are cast — and the Rockets as a team are surging — but right now, the Greek Freak looks like a repeat winner from what I am hearing.
Rockets protested game despite Tilman Fertitta’s dissent
“That’s my basketball people who got mad at ’em. Honestly, I don’t think we should have filed the protest because honestly we blew the 22-point lead. But if something is important to my players and basketball ops people, I give them a lot of leeway.”
I wonder whether Fertitta would have publicly shared his stance if the protest succeeded. I also wonder whether how supported Fertitta’s basketball employees feel considering he’s publicly revealing that he wasn’t on their side.
But this is actually one of the more encouraging stories of Fertitta’s ownership. He allowed room for debate. He listened to the other side. He posted the $10,000 protest fee.
It didn’t pay off this time, but that’s how good owners operate.
As expected, Rockets sign veteran Jeff Green for remainder of season
Before they committed fully, Houston signed free agent Jeff Green to a 10-day contract. They just wanted to make sure the veteran forward was a fit in their small-ball system.
It turns out, he was a perfect fit.
Through four games, playing a little more than 19 minutes a game, Green averaged 9.8 points a game on a ridiculous 89.6 true shooting percentage. That’s not sustainable (he’s shooting 61.5 percent from three), but it was enough for the Rockets to sign Green for the remainder of the season, something the team announced Friday.
Green, at 6’8″, played on the wing most of his career. However, with the Rockets he backs up P.J. Tucker at center.
Green started the season a member of the Utah Jazz, but the fit there was not as clean. While he averaged 7.7 points per game in 30 appearances, the Jazz ultimately waived him to create a roster spot for Rayjon Tucker.
This contract only runs through the end of this season, but the Rockets could re-sign Green for next season, if the sides agree this summer. For now, the focus is on the Rockets’ hot streak and building on that as the league moves toward the postseason.