“I’m not making excuses, but I’m not a big fan of the jerseys,” James told reporters. “Not a big fan of them. I have to figure something out the next time I have to wear the short-sleeved jerseys.”
Both teams wore the sleeved uniforms on Thursday night, but LBJ was the guy who couldn't get anything going. He finished with just 19 points on 6-of-18 shooting from the floor, missing all three of his attempts from long range. It was his lowest offensive output in nearly a month.
This isn't the first time James has provided a sour opinion of the league's new style. He said the following of the sleeved All-Star jerseys in January, per Bleacher Report's Ethan Skolnick via Twitter:
LeBron's reaction to All-Star jerseys: "Whatever. I'm not a big fan of the sleeved jerseys, but whatever."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) January 18, 2014
He also alluded to being uncomfortable in sleeves after the Christmas Day game against the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this season.
"It's definitely a different feeling," James said, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "It felt a little tug."
James had trouble shooting the ball from outside in all three aforementioned games, as B/R's Ethan Skolnick explained in his latest column:
He missed six of seven jumpers on Christmas in Los Angeles against the Lakers, and all seven of his three-point attempts in the All-Star game. Thursday, he missed 10 of his 11 shots from outside the paint, including a pull-up 3-point attempt in transition late in the third quarter that could have cut the Spurs lead to two. And he spent stoppages pulling down on the sleeves and shaking his head.
Skolnick also pointed out that the Heat won't be wearing sleeved jerseys again this season, which will undoubtedly please King James.
Of course, Miami's superstar isn't the only one with a negative opinion.
Call me old school but these jerseys with sleeves are awful.....— Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) December 25, 2013
Needs to be a mass burning of these sleeved nba jerseys. Also, no to the grey lakers logo. Looks like the real jerseys are in the wash...— Robin Lopez (@eegabeeva88) December 26, 2013
The NBA's president of global operations and merchandising, Sal LaRocca, said in February, "If the players as a general matter feel like they don’t want to wear short sleeves on a go-forward basis, the league would simply not do it," per Sports Illustrated's Tim Newcomb.
James has been adamant that he doesn't care for the new look, and he's not alone. Perhaps it's time for the NBA to reevaluate the change by polling players and getting a majority opinion of whether they should stay or go.
Numerous athletes have spoken up against the sleeved jerseys, so it will be interesting to see how the league reacts to their pleas going forward.