The Utah Jazz have built a reputation for themselves as a team with a good taste in apparel. Still, it’s time they bring back the short-sleeved jerseys.
Do you remember when the NBA began its courtship with short-sleeved jerseys? Back in 2013, much to the displeasure of many an NBA fan, they began popping up around the league. By 2017, however, the trend had run its course — short-sleeved shirts were a thing of the past.
Theories abound as to why sleeves were introduced in the first place, but the biggest of them maintains that the league — coming off a lockout season in 2012 — was looking for a quick boost in merchandise revenue, as well as more wearable real estate for ads to one day occupy.
To this day, whether there’s any truth to that remains a mystery …
What’s less mysterious were the way NBA players felt about ‘em. Though the Golden State Warriors were the first to cover their shoulders in cloth, following a 113-95 loss to the Chicago Bulls in March of 2013, Stephen Curry referred to them as “ugly” in a postgame interview.
In spite of Curry’s public tearing down of the hopeful fashion trend, the league proceeded to push for mainstream sleeve adoption. On Christmas Day of that same year, all players with scheduled games were outfitted in “limited edition” holiday jerseys — with sleeves, of course.
Dirk Nowitzki noticed and had some not-so-nice feedback for the league:
Robin Lopez got in on the action, as well:
For the next four years, a constant stream of complaints would continue to make its way to Adam Silver’s desk: the jerseys were restrictive, absorbed too much sweat and were far too unsightly for the image-conscious hoopers who were forced to regularly wear them out on the court.
And though Nike’s technically responsible for the great kibosh on short-sleeved jerseys at the end of the 2016-2017 season, in this writer’s mind, LeBron James’ public display of shameful disrespect for shoulder warmth is what ultimately did them in — shield your eyes, if you must:
History lesson aside, what does all of this have to do with the Utah Jazz, exactly?
Of the NBA teams that adopted a short-sleeved jersey, the Jazz were one of the last to find a seat at the table. Still, hands down, theirs was the best short-sleeved option the league had ever seen.
Worn sporadically throughout the 2016-2017 season, the “Pride” jersey featured three gold, green and white horizontal stripes across the chest with a navy blue backdrop and J-Note patch.
Much like its short-sleeved ancestors, the jersey was met with immediate snark. Loud-mouthed, nosebleed-section fans felt the jersey was a cross between a pajama top and something an MLS team would’ve rocked during the 90s. Where beat writers like Ben Anderson saw “gimmicky,” however, I saw innovation — classic simplicity without something you’d see in a comic book.
Not to mention of host of worthwhile benefits for serious Utah Jazz fans:
- The Pride jersey was practical, clean and smart.
- The Pride jersey was warm and comfortable to wear.
- The Pride jersey could be worn without an undershirt.
- The Pride jersey was modest — we own this vibe in Utah.
- The Pride jersey masked the doughy qualities many of us possess.
The best part of them, though?
They were [expletive-ing] cool.
So, if your grandma gifted you one a few years back, and the jersey’s doing nothing but collect dust bunnies in the back of your closet, hit me up, name your price and I’ll take it off your hands.
Please and thank you.