Adidas and the NBA will tell you that the sleeved jerseys are selling faster than they had projected, which is why you are seeing more of them (including the “Latin Nights” series of games, that are going on this month) . All-Star weekend commissioner Adam Silver said math showed that shooting percentages were almost identical when players wore sleeved jerseys as when they wore traditional ones.
He also said if the players didn’t like them there was something to discuss.
Count LeBron James among those who might want to have a discussion — he doesn’t like them.
The NBA’s biggest star voiced his complaint after a 6-of-18 shooting night as the Spurs beat the Heat handily 111-87 (you can see the video above, via SI’s The Point Forward).
“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 jumpshot anyway, so it’s definitely not a good thing.”
After watching the game, I would say some of the “blame” for LeBron’s rough night should go to Kawhi Leonard, who did a good job hounding LeBron and trying to make him uncomfortable all night.
There have been players that have gone with a sleeved jersey a couple sizes too big just to create a little room. More than one has privately grumbled about them, although Silver said the reaction when players were surveyed was mixed. LeBron wore them on Christmas against the Lakers and shot on 7-of-14 but went 0-if-4 from three.
The fact is this is about money — if the jerseys are selling the NBA isn’t going to move away from them. And they say they are selling. Fast.
But we may see less of them if there is a vocal backlash from players. LeBron has the platform to speak out in opposition and not get reprimanded by the league. He has. We’ll see where this goes from here.