The NBA will again roll out sleeved, soccer-style jerseys, this time for the 2014 All-Star Game in New Orleans on Sunday.
According to Adidas, “the uniforms are inspired by New Orleans’ rich and unique culture, featuring vibrant Mardi Gras colors and shiny brass and silver accents on a short-sleeved silhouette. The NBA All-Star logo appears on the chest of the blue ‘East’ and red ‘West’ jerseys in the shape of the fleur-de-lis, the official symbol of Louisiana, with a purple ‘W’ or green ‘E’ cut out to identify the conference of each player.”
The uniforms will be similar to the Christmas Day jerseys worn around the league.
The Dallas Mavericks didn’t play on Christmas this season, so this weekend will be Dirk Nowitzki’s first time playing in a sleeved uniform. Nowitzki will be making his 12th All-Star Game appearance, more than any other player in franchise history.
“I think it’s going to look sweet on me. Especially the tight fit. The younger guys seem to like it. All the older guys like the no sleeves and the wider look, but the new generation they’re more into their tight-fit clothes,” said Nowitzki, while laughing through his description on Tuesday.
“I’m a more old-school guy. I like the old jerseys, but I guess we all have to suck it up and do it.
“This is going to be my first time in those, because a lot of teams already have them in their rotation, and we don’t. It should be a great experience.”
LeBron James was one of the first NBA players to go on record as anti-sleeve. Speaking to Miami Herald reporters prior to the Heat’s Christmas Day game, he said “I can’t have my shooters out there worrying about some sleeves and not shooting the ball.”
TNT’s NBA analysts, Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith, also had a take on the much-maligned design during an All-Star conference call.
“It’s different, but the only thing I like about them is the symbol on the front, the [fleur-de-lis] symbol,” O’Neal said. “Other than that, I’m not really with the sleeves. I want them to be like back in the old days.”
Barkley, who drew a few laughs from his co-hosts when admitting to playing in sleeves during his middle school career, was indifferent to the effect the sleeves might have on players.
“If you [can] shoot, you [can] shoot with a sleeveless jersey, regular jersey,” Barkley said. “If you can play, you can put on some wind gear and play.”
To some, such as Smith, the jerseys harken back to the league’s most memorable fashion faux-pas; the short-shorts of the 1960s and 1970s.
“I remember when everybody started wearing baggy shorts and everybody was like ‘Oh it’s terrible!’ ” Smith said. “If you find a guy in short shorts now, he’d get ridiculed.”