I remember the moment I was given my first official basketball uniform. It was Christmas, 1994, and the jersey was Shawn Kemp. I’ve always been a Knicks fan, but Kemp was a showstopper, and every kid from that era loved watching him try and windmill dunk the hoop off its moorings. The moment I put it on, I remember feeling like I was in a movie or something.
This wasn’t the same thing as those YMCA t-shirts we were given in our rec league. It wasn’t a reversible mesh practice pinnie, either, which took three minutes to figure out which holes were for your arms and which were for your head. It was a jersey. A Champion basketball jersey. It was fucking awesome. And it made me want to get better at basketball because I wanted to play on the teams that were privileged enough to go sleeve-less.
It’s a weird motivation, but when you’re a kid, that kind of stuff matters.
Beginning last season, the NBA started transitioning to a new uniform style; lighter weight, different graphics, and, most notably, tiny, skin-tight sleeves. The overwhelming response has been, at best, luke warm. At worst, the Christmas day “Big Logo” debacle — which was unanimously panned by people with eyeballs. Now, French website basket4ballers.com has leaked what appears to be the 2014 Adidas-designed NBA All-Star uni.
And it’s sleeved. And ugly. And, quite honestly, stupid looking and unprofessional.
First of all, sleeved jerseys (and this one in particular) already exist. They’re called “warm ups.” The idea of transitioning the pre-game outfit to primetime confuses the shit out of me. It seems redundant. Imagine wearing jeans underneath some khakis. Seems ridiculous, right? That’s because it is. And layering two of the exact same shirts underneath one another in an NBA setting seems poorly planned and unnecessary.
Secondly, the graphics that accompany the sleeves seem to try too hard to make the uniform not look like the mustard-stained Hanes t-shirt you wear when you’re sitting around your home, farting. Adidas goes out of its way to render overly futuristic designs on the front of said uniforms, which almost always look silly, because after all, it’s a basketball uniform, and not a Spartan suit from the Halo games. In compensating for the bold choice to make the jersey different, they end up making them look like the corny, over-designed logos from the early 2000’s.
Like that bizarre Silver Surfer And One logo Warriors design. Who the hell thought this was a good idea?
Lastly, the trend of v-necked uniforms — which already came and went — make them look even less appropriate for basketball, and more suited for soccer. But hey, what do you expect when you give a German soccer clothing company full reign over the stylistic direction of the National Basketball Association? Basketball is an indoor contact sport, like boxing, and the uniforms they wear at it’s highest level should reflect such. The sleeves, which Adidas claims help absorb sweat, look superfluous on a guy running around in a temperature regulated building. If more material does indeed provide a perspiration-wicking advantage, why not throw in a turtle-neck? Why the angular neck-line dip, as if it were some sort of neon orange American Apparel women’s blouse?
Why? Oh, that’s right money.
It just seems like an obviously ploy to get people to buy the new set of uniforms, and I, for one, hate being blatantly marketed to. Ditch the sleeves, please. They’re stupid, and no American male will buy them. Then ditch Adidas for an American company, like, oh, say, Nike, and bring back the tanks. They improved the NFL’s gear, why not get them back in to the sport they’re most associated with?
In the meantime, roll a comb and some Lucky Strikes up in those things, and ride your motorcycle off into the sunset.
Photo via Uproxx