On Christmas Day of 2002 versus the Sacramento Kings, the Los Angeles Lakers debuted a home white jersey, much to the scorn of long time fans who felt that the team should maintain the tradition of being the only team in the NBA to rock a color other than white at home (the gold shirt).
This upcoming Christmas, the Lakers are due to make another slight tweak to the jersey. It was announced earlier this week that the team is set to wear short-sleeved jerseys for their matchup versus the Miami Heat. And once again, Lakers Nation aren’t the happiest of campers.
In life and in sports, it seems like people are opposed to change, even it’s for the better because of the fear of the unknown. But in general, the good ideas stick around when given a chance while the not so good ones fall by the wayside no matter how much it’s shoved down the public’s throat.
Back in the 90’s there was this group of highly touted future NBA players from Michigan known as the Fab Five, you might have heard of them. They began wearing these baggy shorts to play basketball, which was unheard of 20 years ago, and the reaction from the public was eerily similar to that of which facing short sleeved basketball jerseys in 2013.
It’s been like this forever, so why fix it, they said. It’s an aberration to the culture of basketball, they also said.
Fast forward 20 years, and what was once the deviation, has become quite the norm as everyone from LeBron James to Brian Scalabrine wears shorts down to their knees.
A key argument against the short sleeves is that the sleeves will get in the way of the primary action of basketball: shooting. Sure, if you’re wearing a regular white shirt from CHAMPS underneath your jersey — but this is a sleeved jersey designed by Adidas specifically for basketball. I have a feeling the specifications of the natural range of basketball will be met by a company who devotes millions of dollars towards these sorts of things.
“Basically, we’re an entertainment industry. You got to make products that people can wear. Things are going to continually change.”
Remember when Kobe Bryant initially released the first edition of his signature shoe, the Kobe IV, in a low-top in 2008? The backlash for that was even stronger than the reaction to the short-sleeves, and that was before Twitter exploded. Yet here we are four years later and the superstar shooting guard has now released five versions of the low-tops, each just as successful as the first.
So, the “shersey” may not be the most popular decision to be introduced to the NBA in the David Stern era; but worse things have been experimented with and have since been rescinded (see: the synthetic game ball in 2006).
From a marketing perspective, sherseys make perfect sense. It may not be the most fashionable trend to ever hit the market, I think we owe it to skinny hoop heads across the globe that are hesitant to wear sleeveless jerseys to give short sleeves a shot.
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