Leaked images that reportedly show new sleeved jersey designs that will be worn during the NBA's Christmas Day quintuple-header have hit the Internet.
ESPN.com's UniWatch reports that the five images above, which show Adidas sleeved jersey designs for the Heat, Lakers, Thunder, Nets and Bulls, will be worn by the teams on Christmas. The site notes that SNYNets.com found the images on an eBay listing and that an Adidas catalog recently included the same images.
The images show jerseys that feature a solid color design with a large team logo on the chest and the player's number moved to the left sleeve. Lettering only appears on the front of the jersey if it's part of the logo design.
These new designs combine two elements used recently by Adidas: the sleeved look that debuted last season and the monochromatic color scheme (shown below) that was unveiled for the league's 2012 Christmas games. The combination of the solid color, the enhanced logo and the sleeves give these jerseys a decided "shooting shirt" feel, even if the sleeves aren't elbow-length.
I would consider these a clear upgrade over last year's models, which were intentionally riskier but not all that aesthetically-pleasing. This year's models are safer without being boring, and they should enjoy a wider appeal because they aren't so ostentatious. They should also benefit from the fact that the viewing public has had nearly a year to adjust to the concept of a sleeved jersey by now. Even the staunch traditionalists who reject the idea outright can't say they feel blindsided by this year's designs. Hard-liners might actually feel a sense of relief that the jerseys aren't wackier.
The NBA’s annual Christmas Day quintuple-header will go down as follows: Bulls at Nets (12 p.m. ET), Thunder at Knicks (2:30 p.m. ET), Heat at Lakers (5 p.m. ET), Rockets at Spurs (8 p.m. ET), and Clippers at Warriors (10:30 p.m. ET).
Last year, the NBA unveiled its Christmas Day jerseys in mid-November, so official confirmation of the jersey designs -- as well as the designs for the Clippers, Knicks, Rockets, Spurs, and Warriors -- should be available in the not-too-distant future.
As a reminder, here's a look at the monochromatic jerseys that were worn last Christmas.