It appears as though the sleeved jersey experiment will end after four years, if Nike has its way. According to the Wall Street Journal, Nike does not plan on continuing making sleeved jerseys when the company takes over the NBA’s uniform production for the 2017-18 season.
“Nike, meanwhile, is expected to present its initial NBA jersey designs to retailers beginning this week,” wrote Sara Germano, as quoted by Paul Lukas of UniWatch. “The company said it doesn’t plan to produce sleeved jerseys, a style debuted by Adidas in 2013 that received mixed reviews from players and fans.”
Sleeved jerseys have been a point of contention among NBA players and fans since they were introduced in 2013. A number players, including LeBron James, have complained about the restrictive nature of the sleeves in the past (although James and the Cavs won the NBA title in sleeves this past year), while a large swath of NBA fans don’t like the sleeves for aesthetic reasons.
This change would impact 19 of the 30 teams in the league, as more than half of the teams have introduced a sleeved alternate in the past four seasons. The move away from sleeved jerseys would be a welcome sight for traditionalists who hated the look and for players that have complained of the feel. However, it opens up questions about the future of advertisements on NBA jerseys, a measure that was passed in 2016.
Many expected the sleeved jerseys to be used as extra room for advertisement patches to be added to jerseys as that becomes more prevalent. However, with the NBA logo moving to the back of the uniform, a spot for a small advertisement on the front has opened up making sleeves unnecessary for now.