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adidas says aggregate reaction to sleeved jerseys from players and fans has been ‘very positive’

Jan 18, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Chris Paul AP

NEW YORK – The 2014 All-Star jerseys were officially unveiled by the folks at adidas on Thursday, but media were invited to the company’s showroom in New York the week prior to get a look at the uniform collection in person.

Along with the sneak peek, executives from adidas and the NBA were available to discuss the sleeved design, which has been controversial among fans from the very start.

But as we continue to discuss, as long as they sell, they aren’t going anywhere. And Chris Grancio, adidas head of global basketball sports marketing confirmed that the sales of the sleeved alternate jerseys have, to this point, indeed been very strong.

“Terrific,” Grancio told NBCSports.com. “[Sales have] exceeded expectations. We’re very pleased with the results so far, and in our view, based on the way in aggregate players and consumers have reacted to it, it’s been very positive.”

That last part is contrary to what you may think if you do nothing but read basketball Twitter when the topic of the sleeved jerseys comes up, and the game’s best player in LeBron James, remember, made a point to complain about them following his poor outside shooting performance on Christmas Day against the Lakers.

The company doesn’t do any custom fitting of the jerseys, but they do, however, make samples in all sizes widely available to teams before they’re scheduled to play in them in a game that counts. And that included LeBron and the Heat long before Christmas.

“He had practiced in it,” said Christopher Arena, NBA Vice President of Apparel, Sporting Goods & Basketball Partnerships. “I’ve seen pictures.”

The majority of players, according to Grancio, say the sleeved jerseys have zero impact on their performance, and that they are a complete non-issue after a very short time.

“Probably the most consistent piece of feedback I hear from players when we go to a team practice and work with the equipment manager, put sizing samples out and they go shoot for a few minutes — the number one thing we hear back is, ‘I forget I’m wearing it,’ ” Grancio said. “With the amount of design work that went into ensuring that this jersey performs identically to a tank, we’ve really delivered that. And when I’ve been in locker rooms talking to players about it, the consensus has been, ‘after I’m out there shooting and playing for 10 or 15 minutes, I forget that it’s different.’ ”

The debate will rage on, but as long as sales continue to exceed expectations, the players are going to need to get used to it. adidas maintains that it hasn’t been a problem for most, and in fact, some players who have big games wearing them may instantly become the sleeved jerseys’ biggest supporters.

“We’ve done tremendous amounts of testing with NBA athletes,” Grancio said. “And there is no performance difference. Based on athlete feedback, based on the numbers, it really is aesthetic preference, I think.

Chris Paul scored 40 the first time he wore one in a pre-season game, so, he’s a fan.”

  1. vikesdynasty - Jan 18, 2014 at 8:08 AM

    You’re kidding? They’re ugly as hell. Leave the sleeveless look. It’s worked for over 65 years

    • shanelsweet - Jan 18, 2014 at 8:48 AM

      If you want to see what ugly as hell looks like, I could send you a picture of me and my “wings” wearing one of those sleeveless jerseys. They never worked for me. Lots of folks are liking the new look, and after all, it’s not like they’re going to stop using or making the jerseys that you like better so there’s no need to hate on the new ones. Can’t we all just get along?

      • sire2334 - Jan 18, 2014 at 10:34 AM

        If it limits seeing you and those alike with “wings” then Im in favor.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 18, 2014 at 1:13 PM

      Manchester City of the English Premier League(soccer) just reported their match
      jerseys were stolen. The Nets and Atlanta is being investigated for smuggling the
      jerseys out of the country.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 19, 2014 at 10:40 AM

      look out for capri shorts next.

  2. donivantrip - Jan 18, 2014 at 8:19 AM

    These jerseys are TERRIBLE and they need to exit the NBA asap. Players have already complaining about it, how the hell can this guy call it “very positive” when over 5 players have found it uncomfortable, including arguably the biggest cash cow in LeBron.

    idk who came up with this idea but i really hope theyre a fad. Ive never seen the NBA push something so hard as theyre pushing sleeved jerseys.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 18, 2014 at 1:15 PM

      these jerseys were designed for Ellen Degeneris.

  3. velocirep - Jan 18, 2014 at 8:24 AM

    Very very ugly. Please no.

  4. padraighansen - Jan 18, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    What is he benchmarking his data against? The sales have been strong compared to what, koozies?

    The sleeved jerseys are brutal.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 19, 2014 at 10:37 AM

      Rosie O’Donnell has given the jerseys the thumbs up.

  5. djeter220 - Jan 18, 2014 at 8:57 AM

    I’ve got no problem with the concept of sleeved jerseys. Watch any NBA game today and you’ll see the trend among players is to cover up all the skin an NBA uniform exposes with long arm and leg sleeves. My problem with them has been the horrible designs they’ve used on X-mas day and All star uni’s. I’m fine with the Clippers jersey shown in the pic above, as well as the one Golden State wears, the closer they look to their sleeveless jerseys the better.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 18, 2014 at 1:16 PM

      I think the NBA Marketing Dept. want to hide the tattoos.

      • spursareold - Jan 19, 2014 at 11:22 AM

        Nope. It’s ALL about maximizing future ad space. Many sports, including the WNBA, already do it. The NBA selling jersey ads is just around the corner.

  6. pacers24 - Jan 18, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    these clowns are obviously not reading the mentions on twitter directed @nbaallstar when they showed those jerseys lol

    i didnt read a single positive one and i scrolled through a few hundred

    hard headed fools over there at adidas i guess

  7. gregclucas - Jan 18, 2014 at 9:18 AM

    The sleeved jerseys are perfect for sales to fans. They can be worn in public without having to wear some sort of undergarment as with a regular jersey. However, they are not a good look for the players in the games. Anyone who says “surveys” have shown most fans like them are surveying the folks in the addidas offices. I have yet to hear from any fan I know who likes the look on the players. I am sure someone does..I just don’t know anyone.

    • jerseyshoreintrovert - Jan 18, 2014 at 7:26 PM

      Created an account to say I agree. Personally I think their pretty cool, but they look kind of awkward on the players.

  8. discountdoublecheck - Jan 18, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    Yeahhh…you’re just lying about that Adidas.

  9. eagles512 - Jan 18, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    I agree that the problem isn’t the sleeves, it’s the blind guy who is designing them.

  10. kelsey412 - Jan 18, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    These jerseys make me think that I am watching a YMCA league game.

  11. louhudson23 - Jan 18, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    Face it, many,many stupid people buy stupid crap all the time…and that is the point of all this,not to design or create anything worthwhile,simply to sell something….it’s a disposable world where the purchase is the thing….and something clearly new and different,regardless of merit of use or design, leaves no doubt about the ‘newness” of the purchase…sleeveless jerseys are so last week…like your phone and your “beats”….

  12. imthedudedude - Jan 18, 2014 at 10:06 AM

    “As long as they sell, they aren’t going anywhere.” That’s a terrible, terrible thing to say. Same thing could be said for cigarettes and alcohol maybe? Merica! Land of the money, home of the money!

  13. mat9844 - Jan 18, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    Obviously, these statistics are from some alternate reality. Selling them by the thousands to outlet stores doesn’t necessarily make them ‘popular’ with fans.

  14. jcrileyesq - Jan 18, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    please find one nba player not sponsored by adidas who things these jerseys don’t suck

  15. bidetsfordays - Jan 18, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    Report: Adidas says whatever the hell it wants to in attempts to sell more jerseys

  16. timb12 - Jan 18, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    Adidas sits on a throne of lies.

  17. 00maltliquor - Jan 18, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    1) I have NEVER seen anyone sporting these sleeve jerseys in public. Who’s buying them?

    2) Just judging off the comments on the threads to each one of these sleeve jersey articles It seems to be safe to say that the vast majority hate them. We’ve got commenters from all over the US and abroad on here.

    Methinks Addidas is lying through their teeth with a straight face.

  18. Jeff - Jan 18, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    Well, Adidas didn’t ask me, and I don’t like them.

  19. rushbacker - Jan 18, 2014 at 6:30 PM

    Turrible. Just turrible.

  20. dinofrank60 - Jan 18, 2014 at 9:50 PM

    I don’t think we’re allowed to disagree with this.

    - NBA fans

  21. fearthehoody - Jan 19, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    Positive feedback? Right! Just like Goodell says the fans “Want more games”

  22. 24thesho - Jan 19, 2014 at 3:58 PM

    Trying to “soften up” up the look of the men’s NBA? Because, the WNBA will now be having it. So, the men (I presume) on the board of Adidas actually thought and continue to think that this was and is a good idea? Really? There are trying to remove the “mostly” African American masculinity and street edge from the NBA. This is what this is all about.

  23. scbaby2013 - Jan 21, 2014 at 1:39 AM

    These jerseys suck

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