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Adam Silver to consider nixing sleeved jerseys with enough player opposition

LeBron James has been among the more vocal critics of the NBA's sleeved jerseys. (FREDERIC J. BROWN AFP/Getty Images)LeBron James has been among the more vocal critics of the NBA's sleeved jerseys. (Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images)

The NBA's sleeved jerseys have been deemed "ugly" by Golden State's Stephen Curry, compared to high school wrestling uniforms by Mavs owner Mark Cuban, blamed for shooting struggles by Miami's LeBron James and Memphis' Beno Udrih, and said to make players look like "Beach Police" by Cleveland's Jarrett Jack. If that kind of commotion continues, according to Howard Beck of Bleacher Report, those awkward, tight-fitting jerseys could soon be set aside from the league's big-picture marketing plans.

Such a decision would ultimately come down to recently anointed NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who in conversation with Beck noted the possibility of a shift away from sleeves if player resistance continues:

Commissioner Adam Silver told Bleacher Report he intends to revisit the issue after the season. He plans to meet with LeBron James, one of the loudest critics of the jerseys. The NBA could decide to curtail the use of the sleeved jerseys, leave it up to individual teams or simply kill the program for good.

"Ultimately, if the players don't like them, we'll move on to something else," Silver told Bleacher Report. "I don't regret doing it for this season. But it's intended to be something fun for the fans and the players. And if it becomes a serious issue, as to whether players should be wearing sleeves, we'll likely move onto other things."

Beck also notes that the NBA "does not view [sleeved jerseys] as a major source of revenue" -- an important clarification that lends player objections an added weight. If the sleeved alternates were a cash cow for the NBA, the idea of scrapping them might be off the table entirely. But as just one of many lucrative merchandising options for a league that already peddles its product well, Silver is in a position to hear players out on the matter. Beck confirmed in his piece that Silver intends to meet with James specifically to talk about a number of league-wide issues, the sleeved jerseys likely among them.

That the NBA is open to player input isn't entirely new; league-wide irritation with the microfiber composite ball introduced in 2006 led to a swift remedy, and player pushback on a number of rules and regulations has resulted in relaxed enforcement or outright change. What's different this time around is the transparency with which Silver discusses the thinking in the league office on the record. It's a new day in the NBA, as fans could now be seeing the outline of a process that would remove sleeved jerseys from official play.
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