SBD/December 27, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Mavericks' Cuban Says NBA Players, Fans Turned Off By Tight Fit Of Sleeved Jerseys

Cuban likened the sleeved jerseys to high school wrestling uniforms
Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban on Thursday said that the NBA "committed a major fashion faux pas by having all 10 teams that played Christmas Day suited up in short-sleeved jerseys," according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN DALLAS. Cuban said, "Hated them. I just thought it made our guys look more like a high school wrestling team or a college wrestling team." Cuban "understands the NBA is attempting to market the short-sleeved jerseys to fans who might not want to wear tank tops." He just "doesn't believe it's necessary for superstars such as LeBron James and Kevin Durant to wear the T-shirt-style jerseys in games to get them to sell." Cuban: "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. 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." Cuban thinks that the short-sleeved jerseys "still will sell but that a lot of fans will be turned off by the tight fit." He anticipates that people "will buy the jerseys a few sizes larger than normal so they'll be baggy." Cuban: "The people that will buy them are more the jersey heads and the people who are trying to be hip and cool. ... Maybe I'll be wrong. Maybe they'll sell like gangbusters in China" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 12/26).

EVERYONE'S A CRITIC: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes the NBA "used to sell basketball. Now? Merchandise. Its national telecasts resemble a shopping channel." The short-sleeved jerseys "may have looked like thermal underwear, but they'll make the perfect purchase for the fools who will buy anything" (N.Y. POST, 12/27). CBS Sports Network's Paul Burmeister said of the Nets’ Christmas Day uniforms, “Forget Reindeer, Jason Terry looked like he skinned a zebra for those knee highs. On the bright side, considering the Nets had their worst shooting second quarter in a decade, those stockings were only the second most embarrassing thing about that team” (“Rome,” CBSSN, 12/26). CBSSN’s Tony Luftman said, “Basketball players need to be comfortable. It’s their league, it’s their game. When everybody marvels at David Stern and celebrates how great he is, they’re have been several times during his legendary run where he’s made bad decisions. ... This unilateral decision to put [players] in these tight jerseys that impacted their comfort in playing the game, this is ludicrous.” But CBSSN’s Doug Gottlieb said, “Most guys shoot in these exact same kind of shirts everyday when they practice.” Gottlieb added, “What I didn’t like about it was it was uniform. I like when there is a certain amount of creativity for different teams, (and) different looks. It was pretty obvious that this was a hardcore sale by the NBA. You even saw the ad running for the NBA store. …it became too much” (“Lead Off,” CBSSN, 12/26).
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