It may be time to start blasting those biceps, because sleeves on NBA jerseys are about to be a relic of an ugly past. On January 17th, The Wall Street Journal business reporter, Sara Germano, described the changes coming to NBA uniforms.
Beginning with the 2017-18 season, Nike will take over for Adidas as the provider for NBA jerseys and apparel. Adidas signed an 11-year deal back in 2006 with the NBA, but announced last year that it would not be renewing its contract - instead focusing their efforts on its new partnership with the NHL.
While the main focus of Germano's article is how the current pricing tier for NBA jerseys will become more expensive, that's not what stood out to me. Mainly because I'm an adult and I have a job. So I'm not going to sweat it too much when Nike dangles a Jimmy Butler jersey out in front of me.
What caught my attention the most was that Nike is planning to scrap the almost universally hated sleeved jersey design Adidas dumped on us in 2013.
The sleeved jersey design will go down as a footnote on Internet slide shows for ugliest uniforms of all time. When they first debuted, fans were confused, players hated shooting in them and NBA executives overestimated consumers willingness to spend $110 on a glorified t-shirt.
Frustration among players with sleeved jerseys was brought into the spotlight when the league's most talented and marketable player ripped them at center court in a glorious display
On November 4th, 2015, LeBron James went 4-11 and 0-3 from beyond the arc before tearing his sleeves at the arm pit. He went on to drop 23 points in a win over the Knicks. However, it should be noted that LeBron put up possibly the greatest performance of his career in game 7 of the 2016 NBA finals wearing the same sleeved Cavs alternate jersey.
Regardless, it sounds like Nike is burying sleeves for good. What comes next are ads, which I'm not mentally prepared for. The Sixers and the Kings are two of the thirty teams that have already sold ad space for next season - a 2.5-by-2.5-inch patch on the front. From what I've seen, it's not a total aesthetic disaster. So for now, I'll be content with the conclusion of the sleeved jersey era.
I write the words I'm too uncomfortable to say.