The Cleveland Cavaliers broke out their new all-black sleeved jerseys last night against the Knicks, which caused some ire from notable sleeve-hater LeBron James.
James got off to a cold start against the Knicks, and after a missed shot, he was caught on camera ripping at the sleeves to loosen them up. During a commercial break shortly thereafter, he found a pair of scissors at the scorer's table to cut them even more. He played the rest of the game with his sleeves flowing freely in the Quicken Loans Arena breeze.
And as SB Nation's James Dator notes, the ripped sleeves appear to have helped James' game!
Prior to the ripping, James was 4-11 from the field, 0-4 from three, 0-2 from the free throw line — 8 points and zero assists. After the ripping, he was 5-12 from the field, 1-1 from three, 4-5 from the free throw line — good for 15 points and 3 assists.
After the game, which the Cavs won easily against the sleeveless and listless Knicks, James claimed that he'd ripped the sleeves out of frustration with his shot, not out of frustration with the sleeved jerseys themselves.
LeBron James says he was just frustrated with his shot and took it out on the sleeved jersey. He spoke very complimentary of the jersey.
Considering James' longstanding feud with any and all sleeved jerseys, we'll chalk these comments up to James wanting to avoid a fine. But James isn't the only player who clearly hates these sleeved jerseys — Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Kawhi Leonard have all complained about how restricting they are.
The sleeved jerseys were born out of their marketability toward fans who'd prefer to wear a sleeved t-shirt than a sleeveless jersey to support their team. And that's fine — keep selling them to fans, by all means. But when the uniform starts messing with players' shots, it's time to relegate the jerseys to fans only.