Say it ain’t so NBA, say it ain’t so!

Paul Lukas writes for ESPN.com, uni-watch.com and is heralded as “Sports Journalism’s foremost uniform reporter” and he has some bad news for those of us on the sleeveless 2014 front, the NBA all star jerseys are going to have sleeves. Full article reprinted below.

The uniform designs for this season’s NBA All-Star Game, which will be played on Feb. 16 in New Orleans, leaked on the Internet on Thursday. And in a development that probably won’t surprise most fans, they feature sleeves.

The East and West designs both feature a large Fleur-de-lis on the chest and uniform numbers on the left sleeve — a format similar to the “Big Logo” jerseys that 10 NBA teams wore on Christmas Day. The East version is blue with greenish-teal trim, while the West version is red with purple trim.

The NBA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But both designs appear to be legitimate, as they match the images shown in an adidas All-Star catalog obtained by ESPN.com from an industry source.

The league hasn’t yet released the All-Star designs or announced an unveiling date. But a sales listing for a Swingman retail version of the East jersey was spotted Thursday on a French retail website called Basket4Ballers. The listing was quickly taken down, but not before it was tweeted and picked up by various media outlets:

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Soon after the East jersey leaked, additional photos began circulating, showing Swingman retail versions of the front and back of the East and West jerseys, along with what appears to be a West warm-up jacket:

The All-Star designs would be the latest step in the NBA’s relentless drive to add sleeved jerseys to its uniform portfolio. Players have given the sleeved designs mixed reviews, with some saying the sleeves are too restrictive.

The All-Star jerseys also continue the league’s Christmas Day format of using jerseys without front uniform numbers. It remains to be seen whether this is a one-season experiment or a sign of things to come.

WHY?!?!?! I don’t see how you can play basketball in sleeves. I agree completely that they are too restrictive, because range of motion is a huge deal in basketball. Dexterity is a huge component of being a multi-faceted basketball player and tight sleeves reduce that.

At this point, for me, watching basketball is about watching the most explosive athletes doing super human things. Dunking, catching alley-oops and blocked shots have become all the rage because that is what gets shown on highlight reels. It isn’t the basketball I grew up watching, it isn’t fundamental basketball, but its the basketball our cultured has supported. Its why I don’t often talk about basketball on the site, I find the regular season boring. Sleeves are going to impact the length and reach of players ability to do those highlight plays and I’m all for making the exceptional play exceptional again, but lets do it a different way.

I would love the NBA to challenge the now bigger, faster, stronger athletes of today by raising the rim by 1 or 2 feet. I think the game could become more competitive and that offensive and defensive play design would again start to have a great effect on the daily game, not just in the playoffs. I think we would see a return to the fundamentals of the game where passing, really crisp, well timed, well practiced passing would be a vital to the success of teams, not an after thought.

99% of the athletes that enter the NBA can dunk, and can do it with a bit of flair. So why do we care about dunks anymore? Raise the basket 2 feet and suddenly NOW I care about dunks again. The superhuman athletic feat would again be superhuman. The cream would rise to the top, and the pretenders would again be mortals. The mortals could learn to play or go home.

The sleeves thing isn’t about playing the game though. Its about money and selling more jerseys. If the NBA is about 1 thing its the multi-faceted marketing of making money. This will do it.

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