Shirt Tales: Warriors Unveil New Alternate Jerseys That Include Sleeves
The Warriors next week will become the first team "in the modern NBA era to play in something other than a tank top,” as the team yesterday unveiled its “innovative new uniform with sleeves,” according to Marcus Thompson II of the OAKLAND TRIBUNE. The team will debut the yellow tops for its Feb. 22 home game against the Spurs, which is “being aired on ESPN,” and then wear them again on March 8 against the Rockets and March 15 against the Bulls. The new jersey is “much less a T-shirt than the next phase in the evolution of basketball apparel.” The uniforms are 26% “lighter than their traditional counterparts.” The shorts -- which have “pinstripes inspired by the Bay Bridge -- have been modernized, too.” The stretch woven fabric, “pricked with thousands of holes, make the bottoms as lightweight and airy as ever.” The Warriors and adidas worked together "for more than a year to bring this concept to life.” Several players “tested them during their offseason and the Warriors have gone through full practices in them.” Reps from the Warriors and adidas said that they have “gotten nothing but positive feedback from the performance end.” The only “remaining question is the reception of fans and the basketball community.” Warriors President & COO Rick Welts said, “I'm not foolish enough to think some won't think we're messing with tradition. But I think it's going to be really well received. Over time, I wouldn't be surprised if every team has one." Thompson noted the jersey was "designed with the fan in mind," with the idea behind it being "having a full shirt as the team's jersey allows people to represent their team in more settings." Welts noted that the team is "already in the top 10 in merchandise sales," and if fans "take to the new alternate jersey, the franchise could see a boon." Welts: "We didn't do this for the sales. This is all about the image of the franchsie and being forward” (OAKLANDTRIBUNE.com, 2/11).
WILL THEY IMPACT PERFORMANCE? YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Devine wrote from a "player's perspective, how the new jerseys and shorts feel on the court would seem to be of paramount importance." Warriors F Harrison Barnes, who modeled the new jersey, said he is "able to shoot and move" in it. He said that players will "like the new unis once they 'take ... a little bit of time to get used to' them." Devine wrote a lot of "guys will probably need more than just Barnes' testimonial to convince them that the sleeves won't restrict their range of motion on stuff like jumpers and raising up for rebounds" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/11). Barnes acknowledged he initially was concerned about the jerseys because he thought they "were going to be like a short-sleeved T-shirt." Barnes: "I had my reservations, but just to be wearing the uniform and just being able to play in it, you really don’t notice anything different" ("Chronicle Live," Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 2/11). But NBA TV’s Dennis Scott said, "I’m waiting to see what Steph Curry and Klay Thompson have to say about it. As a shooter, I don’t want anything on my shoulders” ("NBA GameTime," NBA TV, 2/11). SI.com's Ben Golliver wrote the Warriors get credit for "swinging big, but you can bet the resistance to the new designs will be fierce in a league that’s long preferred jerseys that throw back to the good old days." Golliver: "We know exactly what’s getting blamed the next time someone suffers through a 4-for-18 shooting night" (SI.com, 2/11). ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser said, “I like the look … but if their shooting percentages go off by this (tiny amount), they will burn these things, even though the fabric is lighter and they look really good.” ESPN's Michael Wilbon: “You know what’s lighter than this? That jersey without the sleeves. ... I think it’s going to last for half a game” (“PTI,” ESPN, 2/11).
TRYING TO BREAK THROUGH THE CLUTTER: Oakland Tribune columnist Monte Poole said the Warriors with the jerseys are “trying to attract attention," something the team has "been trying to do since they got here.” Poole said the Warriors “realize that this team has almost been invisible for 20 years," so they are going to do "whatever they can do” to draw notice. Poole said Warriors co-Owner Peter Guber “is a huge Hollywood guy." Poole: "He understands the show, what a marquee means, what neon is good for, so he’s going to do everything he can to try and attract attention to this franchise.” But CSNBayArea.com's Ray Ratto said, “I’m unclear on everything but one thing: Why they actually did this? They want to sell product, that’s all this is" ("Chronicle Live," Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 2/11).
SIGN OF THINGS TO COME? ESPN.com's Paul Lukas wrote if the NBA "revives its now-postponed plan to add advertising patches to the league's uniforms, the sleeves will offer some handy real estate for patch placement." Could that be the "real reason behind this new jersey format?" (ESPN.com, 2/11). Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, Matt Mullin wrote, "I'm not convinced this is the future of NBA uniforms, but people may have felt the same way when ... Michael Jordan decided he needed bigger, longer shorts so he had something to grab onto when bending over to catch his breath" (PHILLY.com, 2/11).