Posted December 27, 2013

Mark Cuban not a fan of NBA’s sleeved jerseys nor the business strategy behind them

Dallas Mavericks, Rob Mahoney, Sleeved Jerseys
Mark Cuban

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban “hated” the sleeved jerseys that dominated the NBA’s Christmas slate. (Eric Gay/AP)

The NBA’s ever-divisive (if not outright unpopular) sleeved jerseys got the blowout treatment on Christmas day, when each of the 10 teams in action wore the newest cut of official uniform. The look is unusual at the least relative to the NBA standard, and inspired a wave of reaction across social media platforms and through the NBA world. Among those to chime in: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who didn’t mince words in offering his assessment of the style and marketing of the jerseys to Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas:

“Hated them,” Cuban said before the Mavs hosted the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night. “I just thought it made our guys look more like a high school wrestling team or a college wrestling team.”

…”I could have thought of better ways to sell [the short-sleeved jerseys] and a lot of different ways by having them in a casual-wear situation,” Cuban said. “We would have been better off, if we want people to wear them casually, to get the trainers and everybody else to wear them to show them in a realistic setting. So I would have done it a little differently, but we’ll see what happens.”

Specifically, Cuban — himself no stranger to the t-shirt genre — noted that the skin-tight cut of the jerseys seems to run contrary to its casual-wear intentions. The point is very much valid; while the sleeved jerseys offer opportunity for corporate sponsorship and a new, specialty item to sell in team stores, the jersey itself isn’t exactly accommodating of different body types. It’s one thing entirely for Dwight Howard or LeBron James to sport the clinging jerseys, but another entirely for a casual fan merely looking for something comfortable to wear in support of their favorite team.

Cuban is also far from the only public critic of the NBA’s recent turn toward sleeved jerseys. The long-tenured star of Cuban’s Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki, couldn’t get behind the look either:

After playing in one as a member of the Knicks on Christmas day, veteran guard Beno Udrih complained (conveniently, perhaps) about the sleeve’s nag on his shooting form. From Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal:

“Personally it bothered me and my shot. On a normal shot, I’m used to getting my shoulder and elbow up [unhindered]. That was my personal feeling. I don’t know how anyone else was feeling. I know Timmy [Hardaway] was saying he wore it in college before. I never did it before.”

The Pacers’ Roy Hibbert, who was operating ESPN’s NBA-centric Twitter account through some of the Christmas day action, piped up on the look:

Last season, Golden State’s Stephen Curry ragged on the jerseys after an embarrassing loss to Chicago, per USA Today:

“You’re on national TV, NBATV (the game was not nationally televised), wearing our ugly jerseys,” said Curry, who had just eight points on 2 of 13 shooting and didn’t hit a three-pointer for the first time in 54 games. “I shouldn’t have said that (about the jerseys), but it’s just one of those things where there’s a lot of attention on us and we don’t show up to play. And we just come up short. We want to give our fans a show. We want to give them something to cheer about and make it fun for them to come to the game. When they’re leaving with six or seven minutes left, that’s not a good night.”

When the news broke over the summer that a handful of NBA teams planned to roll out sleeved jerseys this season, then-Sun (and current Laker) Kendall Marshall voiced his displeasure on Twitter:


MAD magazine should do something on this...Corporate tattoos are not unusual and a full body suit would give more opportunity for the sponsors. 7 footers should be suitably compensated by having more square inches of advertising available. Athletes are only allowed little holes in the suits so that they can breathe and maintain biological function - preferably not during advertising intermissions and not when in closeup, where they'll be deducted income for inadequate advertising due to breathing, perspiration or anything that the fine print finds "detrimental to the sponsors intended purposes". Television coverage provides opportunities to sell advertising closeups in HD resolution - dental fillings, lip gloss and facial tattoos are the billboards of tomorrow. "Eat at Joes Diner", "Call 1-900-555-9876 for a good time" and other possibilities to keep the NBA, the IOC or other sports corporations in the pink should be welcomed by all. Reductio ad absurdum....


Actually, they are Stern's way of hiding ugly tattoos. But they trade one ugly for another.


Basketball used to actually be about a game once upon a time.  


Who cares what this windbag says? Hey Mark, how are the Rockets looking?