The NBA reportedly is considering putting an end to the era of sleeved jerseys, a uniform style that has been derided by players and fans alike.
With the NBA’s partnership with Adidas as the NBA' exclusive apparel provider coming to an end and Nike taking control beginning with the 2017-18 season, it appears the time may be right to pull the plug on the much-maligned sleeved jersey.
“Nike, meanwhile, is expected to present its initial NBA jersey designs to retailers beginning this week,” writes The Wall Street Journal’s Sara Germono (behind WSJ’s paywall), by way of Uni-Watch. “The company said it doesn’t plan to produce sleeved jerseys, a style debuted by Adidas in 2013 that received mixed reviews from players and fans.”
The report doesn’t outright state Nike won’t one day produce sleeved jerseys, but it certainly seems like the NBA and the company are headed in that direction.
Among the biggest critics of the sleeved jersey has been LeBron James, although he wasn’t the only NBA player to bemoan the style. The Cleveland Cavaliers superstar has not shied away from making his unhappiness known about the look since the sleeved jersey was first introduced. James went so far as to rip the sleeves on his jersey during a 2015 game, blaming the act on frustration.
James did mention at the time the sleeved jerseys were here to stay so long as demand kept up for them.
“If the fans love them, I love them. I think that’s all it’s about,” he said after the sleeve-ripping incident.
Fortunately for James, it appears whether or not he or the fans actually do love sleeved jerseys may not matter for much longer.