Have you noticed the ugly new trend that is slowly taking hold in basketball? Have you asked yourself why? Previously, the University of Evansville was the only organization that dressed their basketball players this way. The jerseys became their hallmark and an interesting way to set themselves apart from the Indiana basketball world. They wore these sleeved jerseys until 2002.
When it was retired in 2002, I began to think that it was one of those basketball fashion trends that disappeared forever like John Stockton’s Daisy Duke shorts or Horace Grant’s goggles or Dennis Rodman’s multi-colored hair. Unfortunately, adidas proved me wrong this year with this image. Sidebar: something about this photograph makes me laugh, but I am not sure what.
Since these jersey debuted, we have seen these other uniforms.
While adidas may be touting the uniforms as “the first-ever super lightweight stretch woven short with maximum ventilation for player comfort,” it is actually a clever attempt to change the business of selling replica jerseys. As a public traded company, adidas has the task of trying to figure out how to grow its revenue base annually and to do that it must sell more jerseys. adidas has to pay the NBA and each of the universities represented above an annual fee for the right to be the exclusive outfitter of the league or respective team. To subsidize the cost of the sponsorship, it sells replicas of the official jerseys that those teams to wear. Usually, jersey sales track the popularity of the individual team, but adidas is probably guessing that introducing a new look to the official basketball uniform may raise jersey sales independently from the team’s success in this season. The basketball jersey tank top is worn best in a warm climate on a sculpted physique since it exposes arms, shoulders and the rib cage area. However, a basketball jersey with sleeves covers all of those areas, can be worn in colder climates and allows the somewhat out of shape and self-conscious fan to wear a jersey that shows his/her love for a team. Further, a 2009 Forbes article listed the top 10 highest selling jerseys in sports as belonging to NFL players. Adding the sleeves to the basketball jersey makes it look similar to a NFL jersey, so perhaps sleeves make the difference in sales. We will keep watching this trend.