LeBron James Complains About NBA's Sleeved Jerseys After Poor Shooting Performance
The Heat and Spurs on Thursday wore short-sleeved jerseys as part of the NBA's Noches éne•bé•a Series, and Heat F LeBron James following the game said his "poor performance may have been a result of his uniform," according to Shandel Richardson of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. He said, "I'm not a big fan of the jerseys. ... I've got to figure something out the next time I wear the short-sleeved jerseys." He added that the sleeved jerseys "affected his jumpshot because of the tight fit." Richardson notes James scored "just 19 points on 6 of 18 shooting," but Thursday marked the "last game this season" the Heat will wear short-sleeved jerseys. Several other players -- Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard -- also "expressed their displeasure in wearing the jerseys." Ginobili wore a uniform "one size bigger to improve comfort" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 3/7). James said that the sleeves affect him on "long-range shots especially 3-pointers." He was "quick to point out that it bothered him on Christmas Day, when he wore a short-sleeved jersey and shot 0-of-4 from 3-point range," as well as during the All-Star Game last month, when he "was 0-of-7 on 3-pointers in a sleeved jersey." NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has indicated that while there is "an 'enormous demand' from fans for the jerseys in stores ... the league would address them if players felt uncomfortable" (ESPN.com, 3/6).
MIND OVER MATTER? Fox Sports Florida's Bill Reiter said James "hates playing" in the sleeved jerseys but the NBA "mandates it, and he plays awful" when he wears them. FS1's Gary Payton said, "I could play with long sleeves and a coat on. I don’t care." But Reiter said, "When stuff gets in his head, it gets in his head and I'm telling you, the (sleeved) thing is in his head" ("Fox Sports Live," FS1, 3/6).