The Celtics will debut their sleeved jerseys tomorrow and for the next three games thru St. Patrick's Day. There's nothing we can do to stop it.
On our poll last week, 70% of you indicated that you didn't like them. So why is the NBA pushing these things down our throats? Well, money of course. For the most part, the younger crowd are the ones buying jerseys and they like things that are different and new. Also, sleeves are more socially acceptable than sleeveless in terms of walking around town. I've always felt silly about wearing one of my sleeveless jerseys in a social setting because I either have to wear the ol' white shirt underneath, or show everyone exactly how little arm definition I have.
So from a practical standpoint of merchandise sales, I can understand why the NBA is making this such a big deal. Still, I'm not fond of seeing them on the players themselves and I'm hoping that this is a trend that will fade away.
There is a good amount of consternation among fans that "this is how it will be from now on." However, the folks at Uni Watch remind us that perhaps we shouldn't be quite so worried.
Similarly, NBA uniforms got pretty wacky in the 1990s, especially in Vancouver, Toronto, Atlanta, Philly, Detroit, Sacramento, Cleveland, and Milwaukee. Again, if there had been a uni-centric community back then, I’m sure the responses would have been similar to what we’re hearing now: "It’s the new way — get used to it, because change is inevitable." But it’s worth remembering how those other two eras of change played out. By 1993, pullovers, sansabelts, and powder blues had all disappeared from MLB diamonds. And by the early 2000s, all the NBA teams listed in the previous graf had jettisoned their outré designs and replaced them with more conventional looks. In both cases, the radical designs are now viewed with a mixture of "What were they thinking?" disbelief and a fond but condescending sense of nostalgia. So maybe the real lesson here is that an era of change tends to spawn an era of retrenchment.
So it may take a few years for the league to shift back to the traditional look, but hopefully we'll get there sooner or later. Though I'd venture a guess that some team is going to adopt the sleeves for their main uniform instead of just an alternative.
I was hoping that the tradition-steeped Celtics would draw a line in the sand and resist the trend altogether, but oh well. There are worse things.
Speaking of which, the next thing to be wary of is advertising on the jerseys. This isn't a new concept, it was first talked about by the NBA 5 years ago and it has been the norm in overseas basketball leagues as well as other sports for years. But thus far it sounds like the NBA does not have it on the immediate horizon.
Floated as a possible revenue stream five years ago, the NBA appears to be no closer to putting ads on its jerseys. The league had even mapped out the dimensions -- a 2½-inch by 2½-inch space on the front of the jerseys -- but a simple idea turned into something more complex the more it was considered, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. In 2011, Silver said selling the space to advertisers could be worth $100 million. "The sense was that we were a little premature on the program and we needed to think it through systematically a little bit more," Silver told ESPN.com.
So at least we won't have to see Celtics play in uniforms sponsored by Bud Light or something like that.
I don't like the sleeved uniforms, but apparently they are here now. Hopefully they'll be gone soon enough.