The Golden State Warriors will debut the NBA's "first modern short-sleeve jersey" when they take on the San Antonio Spurs later this month.
Critics have long feared that a jersey with sleeves would hinder an athlete's performance on the court. But according to adidas, the new uniform is actually 26 percent lighter than Golden State's normal uniforms. It consists of 60 percent recycled material and incorporates the brand's ClimaCool technology to allow players to remain comfortable.
"The importance of this is—this is the beginning of a change with regard to the way players look on court and the way fans support their teams," Lawrence Norman, vice president of adidas global basketball, told USA Today.
He added, "Lightweight is a characteristic athletes have been asking for from sneakers to uniforms. They believe lighter is faster, and we agree. Players are already wearing compression shirts under their jerseys. If you look at colleges, a lot of college players are wearing shirts under their jerseys. Rec players are wearing t-shirts instead of tanks. There is a legitimate trend in the marketplace."
Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts isn't expecting fans to immediately take to the change. "I'm fully expecting there will be a lot of traditionalists out there who say, 'That's not what a basketball jersey is supposed to look like,'" he said. But he hopes that fans will eventually accept the change, much like they did with the transition to longer shorts.
Golden State will also wear the new jerseys during their home games against Houston and Chicago on March 8 and 15. Thus far, adidas has not announced plans to roll out the sleeved jerseys to other NBA teams, but many expect several other teams to adopt the look. Even adidas-backed college basketball teams will reportedly get in on the action.