The NBA caught an awful lot of flak from fans, fashionable bloggers, NBA players and owners alike for the short-sleeved jerseys the league introduced as part of last season's five-game Christmas Day showcase. And while neither the league nor its teams* have necessarily taken widespread criticism (or even reportedly rough sales numbers) of the upper-arm-covering alternates as a definitive indicator that they should shelve the short sleeves, the NBA and Adidas did decide to go a different route this December.
Without further ado, here's what the 10 teams playing on Christmas Day will be rocking while we unwrap our gifts and unstuff our stockings:
— NBA (@NBA) November 14, 2014
OK, so we're looking at what UniWatch reported back in July — traditional (read: non-sleeved and non-monochromatic) jerseys with either a primary of secondary team logo centered on the chest with the uniform number beneath it on the front, and the player's nameplate appearing below the number and bearing their first name rather than their last name on the back.
Adidas calls the first-name gimmick "a nod to [the players'] familiarity and popularity with the NBA fan base around the world." I call it "a missed opportunity," given that we're not going to see such remarkable actual first names as "Wardell," "Maybyner," "Sergeballu" and "Almario." To each his own, I suppose.
As for the actual aesthetics: I don't much like the contrast of the nameplate, which seems to stick out like a sore thumb from the dominant color of the rest of the jersey, but then, I suppose snapping your eye directly to "DERRICK" is kind of the point, isn't it? How much you like the front will probably depend largely on how strong your team's secondary logo is. The Knicks and Lakers' ball-centric secondary options, San Antonio's Spur and the Warriors' forever fantastic bridge seem like winners to me, while I'm a bit cooler on the the Cavs' sword-and-C, the Clippers "jumble o' letters" and the Wizards' D.C. hand jive. There is, as ever, no such thing as a good non-plain-white Oklahoma City Thunder jersey.
So, a mixed bag, then, but yet another name-juggling alternate to add to your nickname collections. While some traditionalists (this one included) might prefer the teams wear their, y'know, regular jerseys, at least we know we'll all have something to talk about around the TV and tree with our in-laws while they tune into the NBA for the first time this season.
In conclusion, and in the interest of providing guidance to BDL's readership in a trying time, I submit to a trusting public a new installment of Dan Devine's Inarguable Power Rankings, identifying which items in a group of things are most powerful. In this episode: Dan Devine's Inarguable Christmas Day First-Name Alternate Jerseys Power Rankings.
Let's dig in and weigh in. And please remember, as always, that the list is the list.
10. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
9. Kendrick Perkins, Oklahoma City Thunder
8. Otto Porter, Washington Wizards
7. E'Twaun Moore, Bulls
6. Shabazz Napier, Miami Heat
5. Ekpe Udoh, Los Angeles Clippers
4. Pau Gasol, Bulls
3. Ognjen Kuzmic, Golden State Warriors
2. Cleanthony Early, New York Knicks
1. Ed Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
* After I wrote this late September post, a league spokesperson reached out to me "to clarify that short-sleeve jerseys are not mandated by the NBA and that the choice to wear adidas’ short-sleeve jersey design as an alternate, pride or special-event uniform this season lies with the individual teams – it is a team decision, not a league decision." So any team wearing them this year is doing so of their own accord rather than on the basis of an NBA mandate.
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