NBA to expand short-sleeve audition
Hoping in part to push along sales of NBA jerseys, more teams will wear uniforms with sleeves next season.
An NBA source told ESPN.com that as many as five teams will wear the short-sleeve jerseys as an alternate jersey for as much as 12 games during the season.
"We are interested in doing more short-sleeve jerseys when it makes sense," said Patrik Nilsson, president of adidas North America.
Nilsson said Wednesday that adidas is motivated to get more fans wearing jerseys while also innovating the game jersey for the players. The company pays roughly $35 million a year to be the official apparel provider of the league through the 2016-17 season.
All teams were offered the option to add this jersey, according to Sal LaRocca, the league's executive vice president of global merchandising, but LaRocca would not confirm exactly how many teams have committed to it.
LaRocca did say that part of the appeal of this jersey was to offer a different option at retail, though he doesn't expect it to outpace the sales of the current design of the league's jersey any time soon.
"The life cycle of our jersey continues to be really strong," LaRocca said. "Over the last few years, sales of our traditional tank-top basketball jersey has been growing worldwide. But we know that more men are comfortable wearing T-shirts than tank tops, so the idea that part of our consumer base would be interested in wearing a jersey with sleeves makes sense."
The jerseys, which adidas calls the adizero NBA short sleeve uniform system, are 26 percent lighter than the traditional NBA jersey, according to the company. While it might appear to be tight, adidas also says the uniform provides a full range of motion so as not to compromise a player's shot.
The Golden State Warriors were the guinea pigs this season, as they wore the short-sleeved jerseys for three games. What remains unclear is how well adidas and the NBA will do in persuading its star players to agree to give the jerseys a try when the tank-top style is all they have ever known.
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