By Kevin York
On Monday, the Golden State Warriors announced that for three of its remaining home games, the team will wear the NBA’s “first modern short sleeve jersey.” The only question I had upon hearing this news was, why? After seeing the first few photos released of these new jerseys, I was still left asking why.
Anyone that played in a summer basketball league growing up knows what it’s like to wear a sleeved t-shirt while playing. It’s not ideal. The sleeves can affect the movement of your arms when shooting, rebounding, passing, actually they can affect movement in nearly every facet of the game. That’s why most kids in those leagues cut off the sleeves (that, and to a lesser degree, for looks). It allows for better range of motion with the shoulders, especially when it comes to shooting. When I saw these new sleeved home alternates that Golden State unveiled I was pretty shocked. Not only is it a t-shirt, it’s a tight t-shirt. I know Adidas, the manufacturer, raved about how light the jersey is and how the fabric stretches so the sleeves aren’t the type of hindrance that traditional sleeves can be. They went so far down the ‘innovative’ path that they tied the Warriors wearing the new jersey to the team’s proximity to Silicon Valley. Innovative jerseys for a team based in an innovative area. Sure, Adidas. Seems like a stretch to me, and not a good stretch like your new jerseys are supposed to allow.
I don’t know about you, but that photo doesn’t make the sleeve look like it would allow you to move around a lot.
Let’s be honest. Adidas didn’t introduce these because they wanted to make some big basketball jersey performance innovation. The performance enhancements seen from a jersey are minimal anyway. They introduced these for money, pure and simple.
The problem is, THESE THINGS ARE UGLY. If another team was going to follow Golden State’s lead, it would be for money reasons, not for performance reasons. Big mistake by Adidas. Did they expect teams to line up their door, wanting their own t-shirt jersey? Will the Nets, widely seen as the team now at the forefront of basketball fashion, be trotting out in these things next year? No, we won’t see another team adopting these things. Who ever thought this was a good idea? Are we seeing that many problems with the traditional jersey style that every team in the league wears? No, we’re not seeing any problems.
Adidas is calling these the “adizero NBA short sleeve uniform system.” Really? System? It’s a shirt, guys. A more fitting name might be the “bizarro NBA t-shirt jersey.”