Sleeved jerseys – WHAT??

The closest measure of response that I had to that was a surprised disbelief, something near the level of Charlie Murphy telling viewers of “Chappelle’s Show” that he and his “group of flunkies” were served homemade pancakes by one Prince Rogers Nelson after a shameful game of basketball.

When you think of sleeved jerseys, you think of Evansville or those 1980s women’s NCAA basketball teams. You may even think of the college guys that play with the compression shirts underneath the game tank, but guess again – the NBA’s Golden State Warriors have collaborated with adidas in creating a third jersey (and uniform, altogether) that features game sleeves.

In a word, they’re beautiful.

Don’t discount the impact of marketing with these things, though. A jersey that is totally unlike anything that the league has ever seen, particularly in the modern era, is going to bring super stacks to the Warriors ownership.

Marcus Thompson II of the San Jose Mercury News said it best:

“This jersey was designed with the fan in mind. The rationale is having a full shirt as the team's jersey allows people to represent their team in more settings. Unlike soccer, baseball and football, basketball uniforms are limited, from a fashion perspective, because they are sleeveless.”

But even that doesn’t touch on the aesthetic value of the uniform.

Not since the days of Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Berry, and Sleepy Floyd have the Warriors worn gold and blue. It’s a nostalgic look that only looks better paired with its already-present retro styling.

Bay bridge? Check. Serif font? Check. Old-school “WARRIORS” chest wordmark? Checkmate.

The Warriors even fought against the status quo and paired pinstriped shorts against a solid top (something that the Charlotte Hornets had done in reverse), and apparently, the pinstripes are a collective nod to the cables that line the Golden Gate Bridge.

Back to the actual jerseys, these spell ‘design progress’ for the NBA for a couple of reasons. One reason is that the ‘shersey’ (SH-irt + j-ERSEY) eliminates the need for cats to play wear undergarments beneath the traditional sleeveless jerseys (something I’ve long disliked). Another is that the shersey is expertly tailored and not a tight-fitting compression top, and more like a tapered-relaxed fit tee in the body.

Bottom line, if the uniform wasn’t on point with the actual color scheme and aesthetic features, the sleeved jersey wouldn’t be hot on its own. The sleeves are what they are (performance benefits and all), but the uniform would be an instant classic even if it had no sleeves.

Said Warriors president Rick Welts, who oversaw the team’s addition of the new jersey:

“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.”