The NBA's ever-divisive (if not outright unpopular) sleeved jerseys got the blowout treatment on Christmas day, when each of the 10 teams in action wore the newest cut of official uniform. The look is unusual at the least relative to the NBA standard, and inspired a wave of reaction across social media platforms and through the NBA world. Among those to chime in: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who didn't mince words in offering his assessment of the style and marketing of the jerseys to Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas:
"Hated them," Cuban said before the Mavs hosted the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night. "I just thought it made our guys look more like a high school wrestling team or a college wrestling team."
..."I could have thought of better ways to sell [the short-sleeved jerseys] and a lot of different ways by having them in a casual-wear situation," Cuban said. "We would have been better off, if we want people to wear them casually, to get the trainers and everybody else to wear them to show them in a realistic setting. So I would have done it a little differently, but we'll see what happens."
Specifically, Cuban -- himself no stranger to the t-shirt genre -- noted that the skin-tight cut of the jerseys seems to run contrary to its casual-wear intentions. The point is very much valid; while the sleeved jerseys offer opportunity for corporate sponsorship and a new, specialty item to sell in team stores, the jersey itself isn't exactly accommodating of different body types. It's one thing entirely for Dwight Howard or LeBron James to sport the clinging jerseys, but another entirely for a casual fan merely looking for something comfortable to wear in support of their favorite team.
Cuban is also far from the only public critic of the NBA's recent turn toward sleeved jerseys. The long-tenured star of Cuban's Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki, couldn't get behind the look either:
After playing in one as a member of the Knicks on Christmas day, veteran guard Beno Udrih complained (conveniently, perhaps) about the sleeve's nag on his shooting form. From Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal:
“Personally it bothered me and my shot. 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.”
Last season, Golden State's Stephen Curry ragged on the jerseys after an embarrassing loss to Chicago, per USA Today:
“You’re on national TV, NBATV (the game was not nationally televised), wearing our ugly jerseys,” said Curry, who had just eight points on 2 of 13 shooting and didn’t hit a three-pointer for the first time in 54 games. “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.”
When the news broke over the summer that a handful of NBA teams planned to roll out sleeved jerseys this season, then-Sun (and current Laker) Kendall Marshall voiced his displeasure on Twitter: