The last thing you want to do after missing a shot is to blame yourself, and after you miss more than a few shots, you could start to sound like this: "the wind pushed the ball," or "the dog barked," or "that ball has too much air in it."
Those might be valid excuses, but of course they're not accepted in the basketball world. But one excuse for poor shooting that has gained cred involves those horrible uniforms with sleeves. They are tight and they limit range of motion. Current case in point: LeBron James. In last night's game against the New York Knicks, James showed the world how he really felt about those wretched sleeves.
After an abysmal start in the first half—4-of-11 from the field, 0-for-3 from downtown, 0-for-2 from the free-throw line and only eight points—the King did something many other NBA players would like to do to the sleeves: he went into Hulk mode and ripped them off. It happened midway through the second quarter, and thereafter, James's shooting returned to normal.
After his act of sleeve vandalism, James's game did a complete 180. He scored 15 points on 5-of-12 from the field, 1-for-2 from three-point land and 4-of-5 from the stripe.
James hasn't played too many games with sleeves, and that's a good thing. When he's forced to wear them, he does not have a great shooting night. On Christmas Day 2013, he was sporting the all-red Miami Heat uniform with sleeves. His stat line: 19 points, 7-of-14 from the field (not that bad), but 0-for-4 from beyond the arc.
In the 2014 All-Star game, James again wore a sleeved jersey. His stats: 22 points on 11-of-22 shooting (again, not bad), but 0-of-7 from 3-point range. That's not just a typical off-night. Something must've been bothering him. Oh yeah, the sleeves.
He also wore sleeves on an NBA "Latin Nights" game. He went 6-of-18 from the field and 0-for-3 from behind the arc.
James is not known as a great long-range shooter, but whenever he has worn the sleeves, his shooting has suffered. Coincidence? We doubt it. The NBA should finish what LeBron started last night and rip up all of their sleeved uniforms. The fans would appreciate it, and the other players wouldn't mind either.
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