The NBA's most visible star isn't pleased with the league's most visible new fashion trend.
After a poor shooting night in a 111-87 loss to the Spurs on Thursday, Heat forward LeBron James took issue with the short-sleeved Adidas jerseys worn by both teams.
"I'm not making excuses, but I'm not a big fan of the jerseys," James told reporters. "Not a big fan of them. I have to figure something out the next time I have to wear the short-sleeved jerseys."
The back-to-back MVP shot 6-for-18 from the field and 0-for-3 from deep in his worst shooting outing in nearly a month.
"Every time I shoot it pulled," James continued. "It feels like it's just pulling every time I shoot, right underneath my arm. I already don't have much room for error on my jumpshot anyway, so it's definitely not a good thing."
Heat forward LeBron James (right) wore a sleeved jersey against the Spurs. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images)
San Antonio and Miami were both wearing sleeved uniforms as part of the NBA's "Latin Nights" series of games, designs that are being worn by six teams (Spurs, Heat, Lakers, Suns, Bulls and Knicks) in March. In addition to the sleeves, the jerseys bear a Spanish version of the team’s name on the chest to “celebrate the growing support” of fans across Latin America and in Hispanic communities. Miami wore a black version with “El Heat” across the chest; San Antonio donned white “Los Spurs” jerseys.
James has previously worn short-sleeve jersey designs during both the 2014 All-Star Game and on Christmas 2013. He scored 22 points (on 11-for-22 shooting and 0-for-7 from deep) in the All-Star Game as his East team beat the West 163-155 in New Orleans.
LeBron James wore a sleeved jersey during the 2014 All-Star Game. (Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)
On Christmas, James tallied 19 points (on 7-for-14 shooting and 0-for-4 from deep) during a road victory over the Lakers.
“It’s definitely a different feeling,” James said of the jerseys back in December, according to the Sun-Sentinel. “I felt a little tug.”
(FREDERIC J. BROWN AFP/Getty Images)
Adidas first unveiled the short-sleeved jersey designs during the 2012-13 season and has ramped up their use in high-profile games this season. The new designs have drawn criticism from some players over both form and fashion.
Warriors guard Stephen Curry, one of the first players to wear the jerseys last year, let off some steam after a loss to the Bulls.
“You’re on national TV, NBATV, wearing our ugly jerseys,” Curry said, according to USA Today Sports, after he shot 2-for-13 overall and 0-for-5 from deep. “I shouldn’t have said that (about the jerseys), but it’s just one of those things where there’s a lot of attention on us and we don’t show up to play. And we just come up short. We want to give our fans a show. We want to give them something to cheer about and make it fun for them to come to the game. When they’re leaving with six or seven minutes left, that’s not a good night.”
Grizzlies guard Beno Udrih also criticized the jerseys after shooting 1-for-6 during a Christmas loss to the Thunder while he was a member of the Knicks.
“Personally it bothered me and my shot,” Udrih said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “On a normal shot, I’m used to getting my shoulder and elbow up [unhindered]. That was my personal feeling. I don’t know how anyone else was feeling. I know Timmy [Hardaway] was saying he wore it in college before. I never did it before.”
A number of players watching the Christmas Day games commented on the new look as well.
“Call me old school but these jerseys with sleeves are awful,” Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki tweeted.
Blazers center Robin Lopez added on Twitter: “[There] needs to be a mass burning of these sleeved NBA jerseys.”
The NBA has said that it would not continue with the sleeved jerseys if enough players complained.
“If the players as a general matter feel like they don’t want to wear short sleeves on a go-forward basis, the league would simply not do it,” Sal LaRocca, the league's president of global operations and merchandising, said back in February.
Adidas executives have maintained that the short-sleeve look is selling well
at the retail level.