warriors-sleeve-jerseys-hanging

Good news for people who hate sunburns and bad news for people who like how basketball jerseys normally look — we’re about to see a whole bunch of sleeves next season.

From ESPN:

Hoping in part to push along sales of NBA jerseys, more teams will wear uniforms with sleeves next season.

An NBA source told ESPN.com that as many as five teams will wear the short-sleeve jerseys as an alternate jersey for as much as 12 games during the season. [...]

All teams were offered the option to add this jersey, according to Sal LaRocca, the league’s executive vice president of global merchandising, but LaRocca would not confirm exactly how many teams have committed to it.

OK. And why exactly is this happening?

LaRocca did say that part of the appeal of this jersey was to offer a different option at retail, though he doesn’t expect it to outpace the sales of the current design of the league’s jersey any time soon.

“The life cycle of our jersey continues to be really strong,” LaRocca said. “Over the last few years, sales of our traditional tank-top basketball jersey has been growing worldwide. But 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.”

Ah yes, the classic “more options at retail” reasoning. Just as we all suspected. Though I’d like to believe the real reason is that someone at the NBA’s league office saw me wearing a Warriors sleever and said, “More people need to look exactly like this.” I have to wonder just how much that post influenced this decision. Probably a lot. Or not at all.

But whatever the reasons behind the sleevaissance, sleeved jerseys are coming and they’re coming hard. Depending on which teams wear sleeves and when they decide to wear them, we could possibly see a sleeves vs. sleeves basketball game next season. If that happens, and everybody on the court is in a t-shirt and shorts, it’s going to look like the best pickup game you’ve ever seen.

As for the teams that will be wearing the sleeves next year, I’m going to venture a quick guess based purely on team personality. Just because they feel like progressive franchises who aren’t totally tied to tradition, here are the five teams I’m guessing will wear sleeves next season: Warriors (duh), Mavericks, Magic, Hawks, Pelicans. Those teams just seem like they’d be willing to try something silly with their jerseys, even if the players who are wearing them think they’re ugly.

Let’s just hope the shorts match the jerseys this time around.