Indiana Pacers All-Star center Roy Hibbert is not a fan of the new short-sleeved Adidas NBA jerseys, and he is not alone.
“Keep away,” he tweeted in response to a picture of the Pacers sleeved Summer League uniforms.
Adidas unveiled the short-sleeved jersey, or “shersey” as it is likely to be labeled, last season when the Golden State Warriors served as guinea pigs for the new gear.
Complaints from Warriors guard Steph Curry about the jerseys being “ugly” didn’t dissuade the league however, as they have announced that more teams will sport sherseys this season.
All teams were offered the option of adding the jersey to their wardrobe, and at least five more teams will be sporting them this season.
While Pacers point guard Ben Hansboro was unsure of what Adidas was going for after playing his first game in sleeves this summer, the logic behind the clothed arm addition is simple: jersey sales.
The NBA and Adidas feel that the on-court introduction of these new sherseys (sorry, it is a fun word to type) will increase the amount of jerseys purchased and worn by fans.
The sleeveless nature of the NBA’s current jerseys limits the settings in which they can be worn. Many adults are uncomfortable in cutoffs, and even those that enjoy them have to pick and choose when to wear them, as they are not widely acceptable in all settings.
The NFL and MLB, on the other hand, see their stadiums filled with fans wearing jerseys similar to the ones seen on the field of play, something the NBA would like to see in its own arenas. The NBA feels that having a full shirt, rather than a cutoff, as the official jersey will allow “people to comfortably represent their team in more settings.”
In short, the league thinks that these new jerseys will be more widely fashionable, and thus people will be more willing and eager to buy them.
Nevermind the fact that the players, you know the ones actually playing the games, may not like them.
“They shouldn’t never ever do these type of jerseys in a game," stated Pacers players Orlando Johnson. "This is like a shirt I’m working out in. It’s not a basketball jersey."
Adidas claims that the jerseys will be almost 30 percent lighter, which is supposed to garner increased interest in the gear. The company also guarantees a full, 360 degree, range of arm motion, assuring players and fans alike that the sleeves will not in any way affect a shooter's motion.
Even if this is true, which is yet to be seen, as anyone accustomed to shooting a basketball knows even the slightest resistance, such as that from a shirt, can alter a shot. It doesn’t seem to be a necessary move to make. Players were fine with the traditional attire, and it doesn't seem like most casual fans are feening for more jersey-wearing opportunities.
Basketball jerseys have always been of the short-sleeved variety, just as soccer jerseys have always had sleeves, and it should remain that way.
While the whole shersey experiment is still in "trial" phase, it will be interesting to see how the NBA handles the issue if player complaints persist, as early signs indicate that it is likely to. Just wait until the players start complaining that the sleeves cover up their expensive ink.