NBA to Widen Use of Short-Sleeved Jerseys

As many as five teams will don an alternate sleeved jersey next season, despite public unpopularity.

Adidas, who pays the NBA roughly $35 million per year to be the league’s sole uniform producer, is attempting to increase apparel sales by marketing its short-sleeved shirt to those unwilling to buy a tank top. To do this, they are using active players as in-game models.

The Golden State Warriors were the first team brave enough to wear them in a February 22 nationally-televised game (which they won) against the San Antonio Spurs. While high school and NCAA scorers prove that sleeves have minimal impact on playing basketball, the looks are another matter. To put it nicely, Lindsay Lohan’s clothing line was more fashionably designed.

Stephen Curry called the getup “ugly,” and Phoenix Suns’ guard Kendall Marshall begged his organization not to use them. Between the amateurish warm-ups look and mismatched shorts, we can understand their feelings.

Yes, there are good things about the jersey, like hiding sweaty armpits and less-tasteful tattoos, but it’s clear this decision only comes down to profit margins.

Patrik Nilsson, president of Adidas North America, stated, “We know that more men are comfortable wearing T-shirts than tank tops, so the idea that part of our consumer base would be interested in wearing a jersey with sleeves makes sense.”

Assuming Nilsson’s logic is true, he forgot to mention one critical piece: Adidas already makes T-shirts replicating jerseys! The problem with a Steve Nash top, for example, is that it’s less than $30 after taxes. If you keep the same design but change the material, you can justifiably double the price and call it an official game jersey. How clever!

Never mind that sleeveless uniforms are an NBA trademark, and its sales continue to increase. As the saying goes (now), “If it ain’t broke, add new revenue streams.”

Photo Credit: Rocky Widner / Getty Images

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Rui Thomas

Rui Thomas is an NFL and NBA aficionado whose credits include Yahoo! Sports, FanNation, GoldenGateSports and He also owns the Rui sympathizes with every West Coast team.

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