LeBron, Adam Silver to talk sleeves

ByDarren Rovell ESPN logo
Monday, March 24, 2014

Well aware of superstar LeBron James' unhappiness with having to wear a sleeved jersey, NBA commissioner Adam Silver will meet with him at season's end to discuss the league's on-court fashion statement.

"I've had conversations with LeBron about the jerseys, and we agreed that we would park the issue until the end of the season," Silver told Bleacher Report. " And that once the season is over, he expressed an interest in sitting down."

Silver's latest comments expound on what he told ESPN.com last month, which is that if enough players complain, the league will consider canning the sleeves. The league has maintained that, competitively, the jerseys haven't compromised the integrity of the game.

James' latest round of criticism about the sleeves came after he shot 6-of-18 from the field in a 111-87 loss to the San Antonio Spurs earlier this month.

"I'm not making excuses, but I'm not a big fan of those jerseys," James told reporters that night. He went on to say that every time he shot the ball, he felt a pulling under his arm.

Many other players have expressed their displeasure with the sleeved jerseys, which were developed by league apparel partner adidas to bolster retail revenue. Tank-top jerseys aren't ideal for a majority of the population, and T-shirt jerseys don't have the same margins. While many fans have ripped the look of the jerseys, adidas officials have publicly expressed satisfaction.

Through March 20, shooting percentage for the teams that have worn the sleeved jerseys on a limited basis was .456 for those games as compared to .461 wearing tank tops, according to Bleacher Report.

"If there was any reason to believe that the sleeved jersey was affecting competition, the program would have already ended," Silver told ESPN.com last month. "If the players decide, whether it is just a function of superstition or that they really don't like them, we'd probably move away from it."

Silver said last month that he is aware of the mixed reviews players have been giving the jerseys, although sometimes the words seem a bit misguided.

"I laughed when I was talking to one team %5Band%5D one of the players was saying, 'I don't know if I can shoot the same way with a sleeved jersey,'" Silver told ESPN.com. "I said, 'I was just at your practice, you were wearing three layers of sweats!'"

Even though Silver calls the sleeved jersey a commercial success, he says the money that comes back to the league in royalties from those jerseys is "very minuscule."