Why Do NBA Players Wear Sleeveless Jersey?

One of the things that differentiate players in every sport is their uniforms. In the NBA, players wear sleeveless jerseys and shorts. Originally, there were no basketball uniforms and players wear different types of athletic attire, ranging from football uniforms to tracksuits.
In 2013, the NBA introduced sleeved jerseys but most NBA players didn’t like them. This might make you wonder why players opposed wearing sleeved jerseys when they often wear sleeved shirts during practice and under their jerseys. Could it be that the sleeveless jerseys have become a tradition that they are not willing to let go or are they really that important? You’re about to find out why NBA players wear sleeveless jerseys in this video.
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The type of basketball uniform worn by players has evolved through the years, mostly following the general fashion trends of the day. In the early days of the sport, there were no uniforms. They only became important for easy identification of the players by the officials and spectators. The first official uniforms were mostly knee-length padded pants and quarter-length sleeve shirts. They were different from what we have today but the change was a gradual process.
One of the recent changes made to the NBA uniform happened in the 1980s after the legendary Michael Jordan joined the NBA. Jordan was getting frustrated every time he had to bend over on the court to catch his breath but had nothing to hold onto. Shorts were a little extra short then so he requested that his team’s shorts be made longer. After his request, other players started copying him and that was how the uniform version that is used today was created.
Almost everything about the basketball uniform has changed over the past decades but one thing that has remained constant is the sleeveless jersey. And if you’ve ever been curious to know why this is so, you’re not alone. In basketball, players often raise their arms above their head considerably more than any other sport. Sleeves tend to impede the movement of the arms and this might affect their shooting, passes, and grabbing a rebound. Although there are players who wear shirts under their jerseys, generally, most players prefer nothing on their shoulders.
So why did the NBA introduce a sleeved jersey if players prefer to play without sleeves? Well, let’s just say that the NBA thought they were doing what was best for their players. In 2013 when Adidas was still the official uniform supplier of the league, they came up with a new idea of making sleeved jerseys. According to them, players often wear short sleeves under their jerseys in high school, college, and practice. They also believed that the fans would feel more comfortable wearing jerseys with sleeves.
Unfortunately, most players and fans seem to disagree with Adidas and the NBA. Although the Golden State Warriors became the first team to unveil their sleeved jerseys in 2013, that didn’t stop some of their players including Stephen Curry to kick against the idea openly. He called them “ugly jerseys” in a postgame interview after the Warriors lost to the Chicago Bulls. Another player who never liked the idea was LeBron James. He showed his frustration during the Cavaliers vs Knicks game in 2015 when he ripped through the sleeves of his jersey. We got your message, King James!
Maybe Adidas shouldn’t have tried to fix what isn’t broken. Nike knew better that there was no need to reinvent the wheel when they replaced Adidas as the official uniform supplier of the league in 2017. They quietly discontinued the contentious sleeved jersey and there has been peace among players and fans since then. What are your thoughts about the sleeved jersey? Do you think that Nike should have continued with the idea? Let us know what you think in the comment below. Before you leave, don’t forget to hit the like button and subscribe to this channel for more interesting updates.

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