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NBA VP says if players ultimately don’t want to wear sleeved jerseys, league will listen

Jan 27, 2014, 8:44 PM EDT

adidas NBA All-Star Jersey EAST Detail 2 Clipped

The sleeved jerseys the NBA rolled out last season and has expanded the use of this year have gotten a mixed reaction from players and fans alike.

The vote that counts, however, is the one made with dollars spent on them by the fans, and that’s why we saw all 10 teams that played on Christmas Day wearing them, and it’s why the decision was made to go with the sleeves for the All-Star game in New Orleans this season.

The league is a business, but it isn’t one that will sacrifice on-court product for a short-term money grab. So, if over time a majority of players express their unhappiness with the sleeves, the NBA might listen.

From Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report:

“We don’t have any intention to do anything that is going to compromise the play on the court or that the players are against doing,” Sal LaRocca, the NBA’s executive vice president of global merchandising said. …

In any case, LaRocca said plans for next year’s Christmas Day uniforms and the 2015 All-Star Game already are being discussed. If the All-Stars make it clear they don’t like the look or feel of this year’s uniforms, the league will respond accordingly.

“If the feedback is that the players don’t want to wear them, we won’t,” LaRocca said. “We are 50-50 partners with the players in everything we do.”

Here’s the thing: The players are making just as much money as the league is off of these and all other jersey sales. It’s a 50-50 revenue split in this area, so despite certain players expressing their unhappiness with (or blaming substandard shooting performances on) the sleeves, if fans continue to buy them in volumes that exceed expectations, the jerseys and their sleeves are likely to be here to stay.

  1. eugenesaxe1 - Jan 28, 2014 at 2:43 AM

    The sleeves aren’t going to bother anyone once they play 2-3 games in them. Or just show them how much $$ they bring in, that’ll shut them up.

  2. heatlebronwade - Jan 28, 2014 at 4:02 AM

    very disgusting every one hates them and all player n fans voiced there word on it. They look umcomfortable and no players can play in them!

  3. davidly - Jan 28, 2014 at 6:46 AM

    “We are 50-50 partners with the players in everything we do.”
    Semantics? Not to split hairs, or anything, but this can only be bs. Just to take the most obvious (and pre-eminent) example: Where would the team owners fit in in this 50-50 partnership between the players and league brass?

  4. fanofevilempire - Jan 28, 2014 at 7:44 AM

    Sterns Nazi rule is coming to a end, I wonder if a player cuts the sleeve off would he get a fine, maybe the players should complain about how bad the officiating had become.

    • redbaronx - Jan 29, 2014 at 1:49 AM

      @fanofevilempire – Sometimes you exceed your own stupidity! Stern is a Jew and you’re likening him to a Nazi. What kind of moron do you have to be to call Stern a Nazi? Grow up!!!! When you think you’re making a witty comment…..DON’T!

  5. sportsfan18 - Jan 28, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    All these companies have to do is give them or sell them real cheap to many of the better high school programs and the major college basketball programs.

    The current NBA players don’t have a history of playing in these.

    If you get younger players who have played in them for yrs, in high school and in college, well it would be a much easier sell to get those same players to wear the sleeves in the NBA as they had already played in them for years.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 28, 2014 at 9:57 AM

      ship them to Africa, the people will appreciate it.

      • ranfan12 - Jan 28, 2014 at 3:52 PM

        The corrupted government there will just take them and throw them away.

    • redbaronx - Jan 29, 2014 at 1:58 AM

      @sportsfan18 – I think ultimately it would bother younger players too. I remember playing in High School that I would only wear sleeves underneath the jersey if I was cold, but the tradeoff was that I always felt it impeded my shooting motion because the shirt would stretch around the armpit and shoulder or would get bunched up. Once I got to the age where I was shooting above my head that became a real nuisance It might have been just in my mind, but especially for shooters, you don’t want to have anything creeping into your head or to have to start messing around with the jersey during a game.

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