A proper basketball uniform is pretty simple: Shorts, sneakers and a jersey. One thing about the jersey, though: It's sleeveless.
But the Warriors are headed into uncharted territory: They're adding sleeves.
The Warriors, partnering with Adidas, will unveil a sleeved, form-fitting jersey top for the team to wear as an alternate on Feb. 22 in a nationally-televised game against the Spurs.
These aren't just NBA jerseys with sleeves, though. There's technology, man. There's new stuff on them. The San Jose Mercury News has the details:
“It was the right moment, the right team,” said Lawrence Norman, Adidas' vice president of global basketball. “Even more important, the right city. When you launch something as innovative as this — that will change the way the players look on the court and the way the fans support the team forever — why not launch it in the most innovative part of the United States?”
The new jersey is much less a T-shirt than the next phase in the evolution of basketball apparel. It's being called the “adizero NBA short sleeve uniform system.” And Adidas boasts it as a revolutionary marriage between performance and aesthetics.
The uniforms are 26 percent lighter than the traditional jerseys, which Adidas said its research revealed was most important to players. They come with the ever-popular moisture-absorbing feature. The sleeves are made with stretch fabric that wraps 360 degrees around the shoulder to ensure full range of motion, because anyone who has played basketball knows how a T-shirt's sleeve can interfere with a jumper.
I don't really get the point, but whatever.
Here's the excuse they're using: It's so the fans can actually wear the same thing the players are.
The rationale is having a full shirt as the team's jersey allows people to represent their team in more settings. Unlike soccer, baseball and football, basketball uniforms are limited, from a fashion perspective, because they are sleeveless.
Ah, so it's about moving merchandise. Well, I certainly get it now.
This isn't the first time the league has ventured into the form-fitting jersey world, as it unveiled a sleeveless set for the 2011 All-Star Game in Los Angeles.
It's bold, and it's likely a thing that's not built to last. The only time you're supposed to play basketball with sleeves is during pickup. Though Warriors president Rick Welts thinks the sleeved jerseys are a thing of the future.
"In the early '90s, I was part of the transition from short shorts to longer shorts," said Welts.
"We certainly heard from a lot of basketball traditionalists that short shorts were sacrosanct to the basketball uniforms the way they should be. I'm not foolish enough to think some won't think we're messing with tradition. But I think it's going to be really well received. Over time, I wouldn't be surprised if every team has one."
We'll see how it goes. If the Warriors play terrible and Stephen Curry can't make anything, at least we'll know what to point the finger at. Gotta be the sleeves.
Photos via Warriors.com