A Death Knell for NBA Sleeves?

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When the King talks, the peasants listen.

That’s the takeaway from yesterday’s news, first reported by Bleacher Report, that newly minted NBA Commish Adam Silver plans to meet with LeBron James to discuss the players’ objections to the league’s sleeved jerseys (which James has worn at least three versions of this season). Now, it’s true that James used to be the Heat’s union rep and has remained active in the union’s affairs. But I’m pretty sure Silver’s willingness to meet with him has nothing to do with James’s union role. It’s because James is the most important NBA personage there is. Or to put it another way, he’s more important than Silver.

Is there any other athlete who could snap his fingers and get his sport’s commissioner to jump? Nobody in baseball comes to mind. In football, Roger Goodell clearly lords over all of his players. In the NHL, the league thought nothing of pissing off one of its highest-profile players with the newly instituted tuck rule (although Wayne Gretzky presumably enjoyed the same status James now does).

Whatever ends up happening with the sleeves, the thing that caught my eye in the Bleacher Report article is the following quote from Silver:

Ultimately, if the players don’t like them, we’ll move on to something else. I don’t regret doing it for this season. But it’s intended to be something fun for the fans and the players. And if it becomes a serious issue, as to whether players should be wearing sleeves, we’ll likely move on to other things.

Interesting that Silver twice felt the need to say that he’d “move on” to other initiatives if the sleeves are mothballed. Hard to be sure if he means other uni-related initiatives, but here’s a radical idea that I offer at no charge: Has the NBA considered, you know, sticking with tank tops? (And for all you conspiracy theorists who are thinking, “Duh, he means ads on the jerseys!,” keep in mind that Silver just said the other day that uni ads are still at least five years away, so that’s presumably not what he was referring to when he talked about “mov[ing] on to something else.”)

Incidentally, it seems to me that Silver has been very visible during his brief commissionership, which isn’t yet two months old. Lots of quotes, lots of presence. That strikes me as a positive thing — even if you don’t agree with all (or any) of his positions, I like to see a commissioner making his views known and generally setting the tone for his sport. Granted, today’s commissioners are essentially just corporate CEO’s, not custodians of their respective sports’ heritages, but I still like the visibility factor.

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Special deal for Uni Watch readers: Many of you may already be familiar with the book Seasons in Hell, Mike Shropshire’s hilarious account of the 1973-75 Texas Rangers, which was arguably the worst team in MLB history. It’s great book, very much in the style of Jim Bouton’s seminal Ball Four, to which it has often been favorably compared.

The e-version of Seasons in Hell has just been released, and our friends at Diversion Books are making it available to Uni Watch readers at the special price of $1.99. That’s a 60% discount off the usual price, and for this week it’s a Uni Watch exclusive — there’s nowhere else you can buy this e-book at this price. (Don’t have an e-reader? You can download one for free here.)

This is the first of two special e-book deals we’ll be running with Diversion Books. The second one, The Bill James Guide to Baseball Managers, will be available in the coming weeks. If sales are good, there will likely be more special deals down the road, so you know what to do.

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PermaRec update: Another lost class ring (shown at right) has been found. Get the scoop on Permanent Record.

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Tick-Tock: Today’s Ticker was compiled and written by Garrett McGrath, except for ’Skins Watch, which was handled by Paul.

’Skins Watch: Daniel Snyder announced last night that he’s starting a foundation to aid Native American tribes. Some observers quickly assessed this as a cynical ploy or a way to buy good PR, but I say good for him. If he’s willing to give material assistance to Native people, more power to him. But that doesn’t mean he can’t also stop misappropriating Native imagery and stop naming his team after an ethnic slur. It’s not like the one thing suddenly gives him a free pass on the other things.

Baseball News: The Pirates will honor the recently deceased Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner with a commemorative patch throughout the 2014 season (thanks, Paul). The patch looks pretty great up close (from Harrison Tishler). … Nerdy and Monumental Historical Find: Tom Shieber, using clues from the uniform of the Washington Senators catcher, was able to date rare footage of Babe Ruth at bat against Walter Johnson as June 1st, 1925. More importantly, the footage captured Lou Gehrig on the bench on the very first day he began his famous streak of 2,130 consecutive games. … A beautiful envelope design from the 1945 Chicago Cubs, the last time they were National League champions (from Todd Radom). … Rickey Henderson wore many hats during his career (thanks, Brinke). … The Charleston RiverDogs, the Class Single-A affiliate of the Yankees, will wear seersucker-patterned uniforms for Sunday home games this season (from Alan Poff). … That’s no moon, it’s the Durham Bulls in Star Wars-themed jerseys for their May 4th game (thanks, Phil). … Great ad featuring a player with sweet swing. … “Don, Why are you breaking Ebbets Field down?” from a blackboard in the clubhouse at Brooklyn Dodgers Ebbets Field in 1960.

College Football News: Miami will be wearing the Speed Flex Helmet this coming season (thanks, Phil). … The complete Miami uniform will be unveiled on April 12th at a Hurricanes Carnival (from Joseph Wingard). … The new Syracuse football iPad app teases the new Nike-designed uniforms. … The College of Idaho is having a Twitter helmet vote by utilizing the RT and Favorite functions. Vote here (from Brad Iverson-Long).

Soccer News: Eithad Airways will announce its sponsorship of the NYC FC today. … The Seattle Sounders debuted their new alternate kits on Sunday. … “I went to the Chicago Fire game on Sunday and noticed fans displaying a sign expressing their displeasure with the elimination of the white strip on the front of the jersey,” says Guy Finelli. … The “revolutionary” new football boot from Nike has a built-in ankle collar that covers the bottom of the sock, which may violate FIFA rules (from Kevin Corcoran). … The rest from Yusuke Toyoda: Yesterday’s Ticker mentioned that Federico Higuain of the Columbus Crew recently had a misspelled jersey, but we didn’t have a photo. Now we do. … Around 3,000 fans protested the change of Cardiff City’s team color from blue to red. … Stoke City unveiled their new Warrior-sponsored kits for next season.

NBA News: On Sunday, the Minnesota Timberwolves honored Bob McDonald, the winningest high school basketball coach in Minnesota history, with a specialized jersey with No. 1012 printed on the back (from Jeffrey Bovitz). … “I saw these NBA team-logo finger wraps at a Safeway store in Ft. Lupton, Colorado,” says Alex Allen.

Grab Bag: A user on Reddit organized the evolution of every NHL jersey in a neat infographic (thanks, Phil). … The Raiders posted a picture of newly acquired defensive end Justin Tuck’s facemask (from William Sour). … Sunday’s 182-mile long Milan-San Remo bike race was so cold that Luca Paolini poured hot tea on his hands to keep them warm (from Sean Clancy). … The Road, The Corrections, and other modern classic books imagined as adorable children’s books (from Andrew Moeschberger). … “Robert Mitchum going with the rarely used FNSOF (full name stenciled on front) look while visiting the troops in Vietnam in 1967,” says Hugh McBride. … The Citrus Bowl — the stadium, not the game — is about to lose the word “Citrus” from its name (from Jim Nedelka).

 

142 comments to A Death Knell for NBA Sleeves?

  • Hank-SJ | March 25, 2014 at 8:11 am |

    Reddit NHL infographic link is broken.

  • StRoseBH | March 25, 2014 at 8:11 am |

    “A user on Reddit organized the evolution of every NHL jersey in a neat infographic” Link not working

  • Dumb Guy | March 25, 2014 at 8:16 am |

    That doesn’t look like seersucker to me. It just looks like stripes.

    • Paul Lukas | March 25, 2014 at 8:20 am |

      Good point. I’ll change it to “seersucker-patterned.”

    • BvK1126 | March 25, 2014 at 10:34 am |

      I’m sure you’re right that the actual uniform isn’t made with seersucker material. But the they do a pretty good job of approximating the classic seersucker stripes. I like it. It’s original, creative, and appropriately familiar look for sweltering summers in the Deep South. Now if only the RiverDogs would do something about that lame nickname…

      • scottrj | March 25, 2014 at 10:47 am |

        I dunno, the press release suggests pretty strongly that actual seersucker material will be used.
        http://www.milb.com/...

        • Chance Michaels | March 25, 2014 at 4:39 pm |

          Sure does:

          “Seersucker is a staple in the Lowcountry and we thought that having our uniforms made in that style will not only be cooler for the player but will also make them look cooler,”

      • Dumb Guy | March 25, 2014 at 12:46 pm |

        It looks like pajamas.

  • Dumb Guy | March 25, 2014 at 8:20 am |

    Must be the lighting (or my monitor) but Justin Tuck’s mask looks very white. I can’t imagine the Raiders are going white.

    Even though this guy is.
    http://celebrity.yah...

    • Paul Lukas | March 25, 2014 at 8:21 am |

      Just the lighting. Definitely gray — look toward the bottom of the mask and it’s more apparent.

  • mike d | March 25, 2014 at 8:31 am |

    I wonder, if the sleeved uniforms were made by Nike, would James be allowed to share his discontent with them?

    I think Adidas went overboard with them. With the exception of the Clippers powder blue and Suns black versions, the sleeved jerseys are horrible.

    • Commenter formerly known as Eric B. | March 25, 2014 at 10:07 am |

      Adam Silver doesn’t run adidas. I don’t know why it would matter who makes the uniforms….

      • Dudam | March 25, 2014 at 11:26 am |

        Because LeBron’s bank account is full of money from Nike and they may not like him voicing his distaste over one of their products.

        • Commenter formerly known as Eric B. | March 25, 2014 at 2:54 pm |

          LeBron’s bank account is also full of money from the NBA and he still is voicing his distaste over one of their products…

    • SaveFarris | March 25, 2014 at 12:54 pm |

      My guess is that if Nike had been the sleeve originator, they would have cut in their top talent (LBJ, CP3, MJ, KD, etc.) in the design phase before releasing them. (I’d be shocked if Rose & Howard, addidas’s top basketball guys, weren’t consulted before they launched the sleeves.)

      They’re smart enough to know if your top pitchmen aren’t happy with the product they’re pitching, maybe we should tweak the product until they are.

  • teenchy | March 25, 2014 at 8:32 am |

    Wow! A deal on “Seasons in Hell.” I haven’t even finished reading the column and I went out and bought it. One problem: I also DL’ed the Adobe ebook reader you linked to in order to read it, only to get an error message that “the file’s format is not currently supported.”

    I’ll await others’ recommendations while I try to sort it out offline. Been wanting to read this book for a while so hopefully will get it sorted soon.

    • teenchy | March 25, 2014 at 8:37 am |

      I think it’s an issue with .mobi vs. .epub format, the latter which appears to run on the Adobe reader. Sorry to bother.

    • Teebz | March 25, 2014 at 8:49 am |

      Download Calibre. It’s a free open-source e-book management tool that lets one read books as well as converting books between formats (Kindle, iPad, etc.). Highly recommended, and my only PC-based e-reader! (also works on Macs)

      • CortM | March 25, 2014 at 2:19 pm |

        Thanks, Teebz! That was a very helpful tip!

        • Teebz | March 25, 2014 at 3:58 pm |

          Welcome, Cort! My day job finally pays off for others. lol

      • teenchy | March 26, 2014 at 8:23 am |

        Teebz, Calibre works for both formats. Thanks for the tip!

  • OlegKvasha | March 25, 2014 at 8:42 am |

    If the U. Miami carnival is at 3pm, why does the ad feature a moon and stars?

  • Seth H | March 25, 2014 at 8:47 am |

    How is Lou Gehrig on his cellphone in 1925?

    • Paul Lukas | March 25, 2014 at 8:51 am |

      I thought the same thing when I saw that photo!

    • SDot | March 25, 2014 at 1:34 pm |

      Egad…he’s the same type of time traveler caught in this Charlie Chaplin movie talking on her cell phone!

      http://www.youtube.c...

  • terriblehuman | March 25, 2014 at 8:50 am |

    There was a discussion about pitcher safety and padded in this week’s episode of Hang Up and Listen, about how long (or more likely, how many scary incidents) it’ll take for pitchers to start wearing more protective headwear.

    Paul (and other readers), any thoughts?

    • Big CK | March 25, 2014 at 9:01 am |

      Athletes, as a rule, are creatures of habit, bordering on, and sometimes readily crossing over into, the obsessive. Wade Boggs and the fried chicken being the example that most readily comes to mind. Getting them to make any kind of change to their routine or their equipment practically takes an Act of Congress, and even then they are likely to appeal. And the reality is that, considering how many pitches are thrown in a season, the number of actual incidents is not really that high. It seems similar to any number of behaviors that people do with the ‘it won’t happen to me’ mindset, so I would actually be very surprised if padded hats or other safety equipment of that kind for pitchers ever gain any widespread use. It will bo more like the safety goggles in the NBA where players use them as needed when recovering from some prior injury, with the occasional player (a la Kareem) that wears them consistently.

      • terriblehuman | March 25, 2014 at 9:08 am |

        But then, Wes Welker has his goofy helmet and likewise for David Wright. Some pitcher’s going to take his brains seriously and he’ll take some teasing, but it might not become common, but it’ll gain some traction, I think.

        • Big CK | March 25, 2014 at 9:52 am |

          I agree that it will not become common, more on a case by case basis. Unless it starts to become standard equipment at lower levels (little league, high school, college, etc) and players start growing up with that type of equipment, getting used to it early on. That’s the only way I can see it getting any type of widespread usage.

      • Chance Michaels | March 25, 2014 at 10:07 am |

        the reality is that, considering how many pitches are thrown in a season, the number of actual incidents is not really that high

        I think this is a key point to remember. It’s easy to over-react to high-profile incidents, no matter how rare.

        • terriblehuman | March 25, 2014 at 10:57 am |

          It’s rare, but it’s also something that can plausibly happen on every play. Think about how many miles an average driver drives – most people will go their entire lives without being involved in a potentially fatal accident, but the seat belt is still a good idea.

          More relevantly, see how little resistance there was to coaches wearing helmets. The aesthetics and the functionality are different, but I think we sometimes overestimate resistance to change.

        • Big CK | March 25, 2014 at 12:22 pm |

          A fair point on the coach’s helmets, though as I recall that was a league mandate as opposed to an optional item, and also coaches are not likely to fear having their performance affected since their jobs are more mental than physical.

          I would agree that safety equipment is a good idea, but I simply think the rarity of these incidents and the nature of athletes will prevent the vast majority of players adopting them in the near future.

        • Chance Michaels | March 25, 2014 at 2:47 pm |

          True, although I will also say that the coaches’ helmets were an extreme over-reaction to a specific and rare event, because a helmet would not have done anything to prevent Mike Coolbaugh’s death.

  • Big CK | March 25, 2014 at 8:52 am |

    Nit-picky spelling point but it’s the kind of thing that jumps out at me: Rickey Henderson’s first name should have an ‘e’. It’s spelling ‘Ricky’ in ‘Baseball News’.

    • Paul Lukas | March 25, 2014 at 8:56 am |

      Thanks. Now fixed.

    • David | March 25, 2014 at 11:53 am |

      You get all the hats, but he’s still wearing an A’s uniform.

  • terriblehuman | March 25, 2014 at 9:02 am |

    * Eithad Airways will announce its sponsorship of the NYC FC today

    It’s worth noting that Etihad Airways is owned by the Abu Dhabi emirate, which owns the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, which owns Abu Dhabi United Group, which owns Manchester City, which co-owns NYCFC.

    * re: LeBron and the sleeves

    Remember the new NBA ball in 2006? Players complained, and they went back to the old ball. I imagine we’ll see the same for sleeved jerseys.

    • Paul Lukas | March 25, 2014 at 9:12 am |

      Remember the new NBA ball in 2006? Players complained, and they went back to the old ball. I imagine we’ll see the same for sleeved jerseys.

      Yeah, but the stakes were different, because ball retailing is insignificant compared to jersey retailing, so the league had little incentive to stick with something that the players didn’t like. I’m not saying it won’t eventually play out the same way; just saying that the two situations aren’t completely analogous because there are different economic factors at play.

      • terriblehuman | March 25, 2014 at 10:42 am |

        True, and visually, there was no real difference between the new balls and the conventional balls. It’s obviously not the same for uniforms.

    • CortM | March 25, 2014 at 1:10 pm |

      It’s abundantly clear to all Man City supporters that the sheiks are operating the club as a tool to promote other ventures, like Etihad Airlines.

      The thing is, that in the process of doing that, they have done a remarkable job improving the club. What is happening at the Sport City complex on the east side of Manchester is amazing: they’ve have poured millions and millions of pounds into building projects in what was not too long ago a down and out part of town. They have been very sensitive to club traditions; there’s no threat of the Mansoors dropping sky blue for a color that’s more appealing to the Asian markets.

      In addition, they have used good works here in the States to promote the Manchester City brand. Partnering with the Abu Dhabi embassy, the “City in the Community” program has built soccer facilities in underprivileged communities in New York, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles, with more to come. Hundreds of little kids in key markets are walking around wearing sky blue and rooting for Ya Ya Toure and David Silva. Ten years ago, only a handful of Americans had even heard of Manchester City.

      With only a few missteps (hiring ex-NIke exec Gary Cook, who orchestrated the move from Umbro to Nike, for one) the Mansoors have been model owners.

      • terriblehuman | March 25, 2014 at 1:46 pm |

        And they’ve been way more patient than the average Premier League club. They gave Mancini four seasons, and once they got done replacing Sven Goran Eriksson’s players, they haven’t tried buying every player available. So from a footballing perspective, no disagreement from me.

        • CortM | March 25, 2014 at 2:22 pm |

          Plus, they are so much fun to watch.

        • Chance Michaels | March 25, 2014 at 3:13 pm |

          So does it really matter, then, if they “are operating the club as a tool to promote other ventures”?

          Gotta say, the move to Nike was going to happen regardless. Nike stripped Umbro of all its major contracts before selling off the brand – from England to the New York Cosmos, and especially Man City.

  • LiketheRiver | March 25, 2014 at 9:14 am |

    Liverpool will be wearing a Hillsborough patch for their last 3 home matches starting 04/13. It is the 25th anniversary this year of the 96.
    http://www.liverpool...

    • Les | March 25, 2014 at 9:18 am |

      Good to see ,I was only a kid at the time but one of the worst days of my life!!

      • LiketheRiver | March 25, 2014 at 9:31 am |

        Every match happening in England during 04/11-14 will start 7 minutes later than normal. Since Hillsborough happend at 3:06pm then an extra minute of silence. Class Class move from The FA.

  • loserem | March 25, 2014 at 9:15 am |

    Major Boston “T” station, Government Center, is being closed for 2 years as they totally rebuild it.

    Some cool “love ya” type graffiti was left by some of the final passengers before it was shut down

    http://www.universal...

    • BurghFan | March 25, 2014 at 3:22 pm |

      Is there another Green Line to Blue Line connection?

      • BrianC | March 25, 2014 at 5:11 pm |

        No, you’d have to switch, maybe at State. It’ll be worth it in the long run.

        • BrianC | March 25, 2014 at 5:13 pm |

          State isn’t Green either, but the Orange Line will get you there. Red and Blue are the only lines that don’t cross anywhere.

        • BurghFan | March 25, 2014 at 6:40 pm |

          Thanks. My recollection is that getting from the Red to Blue Line via Park and Government Center was easier that using Washington (now Downtown Crossing?) and State because the platforms were closer at the first two. Progress marches on.

        • BurghFan | March 25, 2014 at 6:44 pm |

          And if you’re going from the Airport to Back Bay, you’d have to add the State to Haymarket segment on the Orange Line to get to the Green Line.

  • Les | March 25, 2014 at 9:17 am |

    Why doesn’t the NBA simply sell a sleeved version for fans who want them simplez!!

    • Paul Lukas | March 25, 2014 at 9:23 am |

      Because nobody will shell out $200 for a polyester shirt if it’s not the exact same polyester shirt that the players are wearing.

      • Phil Hecken | March 25, 2014 at 10:05 am |

        “nobody will shell out $200 for a polyester shirt if it’s not the exact same polyester shirt that the players are wearing.”

        ~~~

        Why would anyone shell out $200 for a polyester shirt to begin with?

        • BrianC | March 25, 2014 at 11:05 am |

          There’s ome born every minute?

        • hodges14 | March 25, 2014 at 11:12 am |

          Isn’t it called a shirsey?

        • Nate | March 25, 2014 at 12:25 pm |

          HEY GUYS UNI-WATCH THINKS JERSEYS ARE FOR SUCKERS, DID ANYBODY GET THAT MEMO?

        • Paul Lukas | March 25, 2014 at 12:31 pm |

          HEY GUYS UNI-WATCH THINKS JERSEYS ARE FOR SUCKERS, DID ANYBODY GET THAT MEMO?

          While it’s true that I think spending $200 on a polyester shirt is for suckers, that’s not why I’m opposed to jersey merchandising. I’m opposed to it because it leads to bad design (due to the retailing tail wagging the on-field dog), leads to people behaving like idiots, leads to people equating consumerism with being a fan, and has had, on balance, a very negative effect on the uni-verse.

          Did you get THAT memo?

        • neeko | March 25, 2014 at 1:11 pm |

          $200 shirts are why people behave like idiots, lol

        • Nate | March 25, 2014 at 1:16 pm |

          Memo received!

          But seriously, I can’t help but read in some sneering condescension every time you write “$200 polyester shirt”. And even as someone who doesn’t purchase jerseys, or hats for that matter (my head looks funny in them), the internet snark machine gets on my nerves sometimes.

        • Teebz | March 25, 2014 at 2:22 pm |

          It is a $200, on hockey’s case, $300 polyester shirt. If hockey sweaters were still made out of wool, I’d still be outraged by the price. I want to support my team, not fund the next free agent signing.

  • Keith | March 25, 2014 at 9:24 am |

    “The Bill James Guide to Baseaball Managers”

    I didn’t know Bill James was Italian ;)

    • Paul Lukas | March 25, 2014 at 9:30 am |

      Thanks — now fixed.

  • Phil Hecken | March 25, 2014 at 9:29 am |

    Nice lede, Paul — I’m curious though.

    Let’s say the reaction to the sleeves from players was mostly (say 90% or more) positive…but King James still hated them, and whined as he has been doing now.

    Would Silver be so quick to “rethink” the sleeves on jerseys?

    Seems to me the disdain for the sleeves is more universal rather than just coming from LBJ. I wonder how much weight his opinion would carry if it were just he (or perhaps he and some non “big” players) while the rest of the league either liked or had no problem with them…

    • Paul Lukas | March 25, 2014 at 9:36 am |

      First of all, I dislike the term “whining” in this discussion. Why the name-calling?

      If James were the *only* player who disliked the sleeves, or if he was in the distinct minority, I’m not sure how his opinions would be received.

      But if, say, three-quarters of the players disliked the sleeves and James was perfectly OK with them, I think his feelings would outweigh everyone else’s. Just my opinion, of course, but that’s my sense of the lay of the land.

      Finally, about this:

      Seems to me the disdain for the sleeves is more universal…

      There are 360 players in the NBA. I’m aware of maybe, oh, a dozen who have complained about the sleeves. Let’s say another three or four dozen also dislike the sleeves but haven’t spoken up for whatever reason. That’s hardly “universal.”

      I’m not saying most players like the sleeves, or most players are indifferent, because I have no idea. I’m simply saying (a) that it’s easy to focus on some tweets and quotes from a dozen players and conflate it into something that may be bigger than it actually is, and (b) that we should be careful when invoking hyperbolic terms like “universal,” which tend to distort the discussion.

      • Phil Hecken | March 25, 2014 at 10:00 am |

        “I’m aware of maybe, oh, a dozen who have complained about the sleeves. Let’s say another three or four dozen also dislike the sleeves but haven’t spoken up for whatever reason. That’s hardly ‘universal.’”

        ~~~

        You’re correct. I have no idea how many don’t like them, but on the other side of the coin, I’ve yet to hear any player praise them or express any kind of positive support for them.

        I’m sure most of them don’t particularly care — after all, they’re being paid a shit-ton of money to play a game and probably view the sleeves (and the Noche Latina, throwbacks, alt unis, etc) as just one of those things that comes along with having a job in the NBA. I’m sure several of the 360 wore sleeves (undershirts or in the case of some rookies who played for adidas schools, actual sleeved jerseys) in college anyway.

        So, let’s say there is no LOVE for the sleeves, rather than a universal disdain. But we do know of at least a few players who’ve expressed their dislike for the sleeves. I’m just curious if there were great (or even some) support for them and James hated them, if Silver would be so quick to say “maybe this isn’t such a good idea.”

        Sorry about “whined.” I have no idea if LBJ complained once (I wouldn’t consider that whining) or six or seven times (in which case I’d say that might constitute whining) about the sleeves. With all the real news outlets, blogs, the twittersphere etc, it’s getting hard to tell whether he’s had multiple instances of displeasure or if it’s once or twice that’s been repeated so often on so many mediums that it just seems like he’s always complaining about the sleeves.

        • Paul Lukas | March 25, 2014 at 10:59 am |

          Sorry about “whined.” I have no idea if LBJ complained once (I wouldn’t consider that whining) or six or seven times (in which case I’d say that might constitute whining) about the sleeves. With all the real news outlets, blogs, the twittersphere etc, it’s getting hard to tell whether he’s had multiple instances of displeasure or if it’s once or twice that’s been repeated so often on so many mediums that it just seems like he’s always complaining about the sleeves.

          Even if he *is* always complaining, why would that qualify as “whining”? He’s a specialized professional who’s very particular about his working conditions — that seems like a legitimate issue.

        • arrScott | March 25, 2014 at 11:31 am |

          He’s a specialized professional who’s very particular about his working conditions

          And yet even a specialized professional’s particularity about his working conditions can be – often is! – whining. A person’s high socioeconomic status does not place his complaints above judgement as to their legitimacy, any more than LBJ’s wealth should be held against him in the form of “suck it up, you’re being paid more than enough money to wear whatever your boss tells you to wear.”

        • Paul Lukas | March 25, 2014 at 11:40 am |

          “Whining” is a pejorative term that implies a childish-bordering-on-infantile attitude. I haven’t seen any evidence of that on James’s (or anyone else’s) part regarding the sleeves. He simply thinks a mandated change in the tools of his trade has had an adverse effect on his performance and has said as much. I haven’t detected any childish or boorish attitude on his part, and I see no reason to ascribe one to him.

      • Padday | March 25, 2014 at 11:09 am |

        He’s a specialized professional who’s very particular about his working conditions — that seems like a legitimate issue.

        Exactly, but I suppose the point here is that there is (or at least should be) a proper way of dealing with these grievances i.e. the players’ union. I suppose this is what the lede comes down to really: why does it come down to this individual, rather than the power of the collective to sort this out? Is this a reflection of the general cultural malaise surrounding labour unions in American society, a general shift away from collective democratic action and towards individualism and self help?

        • Paul Lukas | March 25, 2014 at 11:42 am |

          Ah, so you think he’s selfish. Maybe he is, or maybe he isn’t. Either way, that’s different than saying he’s “whining,” which strikes me as default insult to hurl at people who are saying something you don’t particularly want to hear.

        • scottrj | March 25, 2014 at 11:57 am |

          Or perhaps there’s a simpler explanation than “the general cultural malaise surrounding labor unions” in the US. Like, I don’t know, maybe the fact that uniform issues aren’t addressed anywhere in the NBPA’s current collective bargaining agreement with the NBA, and therefore outside the scope of the union to involve itself with?
          http://www.scribd.co...

        • Padday | March 25, 2014 at 12:05 pm |

          No, I don’t think he’s selfish, but I think the narrative insists that he act like an enterprising individualist. For all we know there’s been a considerable amount of Players’ Union involvement in the issue, that this meeting has come about as a result of actual discussion between Silver and the Union and that Lebron’s involvement has been vastly overplayed. I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if that were the case because the preferred narrative tends to prefer playing with polarity and conflict. It makes a better story if half your readership see James as a whiner and the other half see him as an enterprising get-’er-doner. Conversely, labour unions, collective bargaining etc. (you know, things that are simple and work) are anathema to that narrative.

        • Padday | March 25, 2014 at 2:55 pm |

          …uniform issues aren’t addressed anywhere in the NBPA’s current collective bargaining agreement with the NBA, and therefore outside the scope of the union to involve itself with?

          But it is perfectly within the scope of Lebron James’s remit to involve himself? Besides that, what you’re saying to me is that the NBPA, an organization which exists exclusively to represent players when they have a grievance with management, has no place getting involved in this perfectly legitimate grievance that players are having? I’m not saying they go and sue the NBA, simply that using the channels of communication and the democratic voice of the union is always going to be a much sounder way of dealing with grievances than a player going out on his own to try and argue what could very well be a minority view.

        • scottrj | March 25, 2014 at 4:15 pm |

          Actually, I was simply having a laugh at your overblown statement that this situation somehow reflects a larger “cultural malaise surrounding labour unions in American society, a general shift away from collective democratic action and towards individualism and self help.”

          But thanks for keeping the laughs coming.

        • Padday | March 25, 2014 at 4:34 pm |

          Well aren’t you clever.

  • Chance Michaels | March 25, 2014 at 9:33 am |

    Eithad Airways will announce its sponsorship of the NYC FC today

    Actually, I believe the deal to be announced today is that Etihad will become the “official airline” of MLS. Not necessarily the NYCFC shirt sponsor.

    That’s widely seen by NYCFC supporters as the first step in shirt sponsorship of the club, but we’re not there yet.

    • Connie DC | March 25, 2014 at 10:32 am |

      Chance, I know that you came up with an ingenious and attractive meld of the two top design entrants for the NYCFC badge, but I’ve come to like the final winner. As a fan of the whole NY Dutch-legacy thing, I would have liked more orange, of course, but it ain’t bad.

      One of the reader comments (to our own Phil) on this Eithad Airways sponsorship said that Eithad does not accept Israeli passengers. Can anybody verify or debunk?

      • Chance Michaels | March 25, 2014 at 2:51 pm |

        One of the reader comments (to our own Phil) on this Eithad Airways sponsorship said that Eithad does not accept Israeli passengers. Can anybody verify or debunk?

        That seems to be entirely bogus, cooked up by the New York Post.

    • Padday | March 25, 2014 at 10:40 am |

      If this isn’t proof that domestic soccer in America is sleepwalking its way towards a hostile takeover then I don’t know what is.

      • terriblehuman | March 25, 2014 at 10:44 am |

        One could argue that soccer in general has already become a proxy war in the rivalries between the big Middle East players – Qatar, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

        • Padday | March 25, 2014 at 11:00 am |

          Not American soccer. But thanks to the obsession with wanting to be more European, more like the big soccer countries you’re on the verge of buying wholesale into that hugely corrupt, financially excessive and culturally bankrupt system which will ultimately be the ruin of everything great about the MLS. Well done!

        • Chance Michaels | March 25, 2014 at 2:49 pm |

          Oh, pshaw.

        • Padday | March 25, 2014 at 3:26 pm |

          Oh, you mark my words! The end is nigh! The end is nigh! Weeds growing from the cracks in the concrete of abandoned stadiums; crowds bey at the closed gates of a palace where Russian oligarchs, Shahs, Emirs, Danish Princes, Inuit Emperors et al. hoard all the goalposts for themselves; the players, formerly specimens of human fitness and skill, now bloated with cash and luxury can hardly summon the enthusiasm to kick a ball in anger; on an abandoned street in a deserted city, a lone boy clasps tightly to his half deflated ball and wonders, in desperation more than hope, if he will ever see his parents again.

        • Chance Michaels | March 25, 2014 at 4:47 pm |

          You forgot the Death Panels. Think of the Death Panels! ;)

  • LiketheRiver | March 25, 2014 at 9:34 am |

    So Lebron won’t be wearing a sleeved jersey in the Space Jam remake I take it.

  • Brandon L. | March 25, 2014 at 9:42 am |

    It seems to me that the sleeves in general may have had a different motive from the start.

    The quote regarding a fun item for fans and players alike is nonsensical beyond the premise of selling more merchandise. So, let’s take that notion one step further. What if the sleeves are a current test for the future landing spot for jersey advertisements? Perhaps with the League’s anticipated understanding of a decent amount of disdain for ads being placed elsewhere on a teams uniform, they began brainstorming to “add real estate” to the current uniform template, one which they could then personally brand with adverts at a later time down the road.

    Step 1. Get players comfortable with the notion of wearing sleeves all the time. Step 2. Plaster paid for space on those attachments, thus leaving the historic team identity intact, while still finding a revenue source. Step 3. Have cake, and eat it too.

    Just some morning ponderings.

    • Paul Lukas | March 25, 2014 at 9:46 am |

      We’ve been over this umpteen times now: Ads are unlikely to appear on sleeves because the money shot of NBA uni advertising — literally and figuratively — is when a player steps to the free throw line. He’s stationary and the camera is focused on his upper body. That’s an advertiser’s dream, and that’s why NBA uni ads, if they ever happen, will appear on the upper torso.

      • Brandon L. | March 25, 2014 at 9:59 am |

        I don’t disagree with placement sentiment, however, I don’t think its a slam dunk (no terrible pun intended) for the NBA to not test every option up front. That would be bad market research. It also could help account for 5 year time lines on the implementation of an idea. If the NFL has proved anything, such as the one helmet rule, you don’t need 5 years to implement a change. (I know that’s comparing apples and oranges, safety and revenue generation, but I’m trying to play devil’s advocate.) Just because there’s one really good camera angle doesn’t mean 90% of the game takes place from side views. Who’s to say (especially with the tight, non-t-shirt fit of the sleeves) that the add couldn’t be front adjusted as well, further pissing people off most likely.

        • hodges14 | March 25, 2014 at 11:18 am |

          Are you saying that they’d splash the ad where the team name originally was, or would they do it NFL practice style, limited to a corner?

        • terriblehuman | March 25, 2014 at 11:24 am |

          Well, if we go by Paul’s argument (which I find reasonable), the shoulder seems like the logical location.

        • Paul Lukas | March 25, 2014 at 11:44 am |

          On a tank top: base of the shoulder strap. (The league already stated that this was the preferred position.)

          On a sleeved jersey: Upper chest/shoulder.

  • Dave | March 25, 2014 at 9:45 am |

    Etihad Airways recently published a flight map which omitted Israel.

    http://nypost.com/20...

    I think, given that they’re also UAE-based, we can safely assume that this won’t be a popular choice of sponsor for a large portion of New York City.

    • Dave | March 25, 2014 at 9:50 am |

      Clarify: I meant that mention of their UAE base to point out that the Israel omission was not accidental since the UAE has an institutional anti-Israel policy. No calumny against any person was intended.

    • Chance Michaels | March 25, 2014 at 2:56 pm |

      I might be inclined to give that New York Post report a little bit seriously if they had included a photo of the map. That they didn’t speaks volumes, especially in light of the airline’s response: “Our in-flight maps are industry standard and do not identify countries by name.”

      Anybody but the Post? This might be a genuine problem.

  • arrScott | March 25, 2014 at 9:49 am |

    Alternate headline:

    Dog Wags Tail in NBA

    Shocking that a league would even consider valuing player comfort and on-field performance over merchandising profits.

    But isn’t the most significant implication simply that jersey ads will go directly to the jersey front and/or back, without first appearing on sleeves?

    • Paul Lukas | March 25, 2014 at 9:54 am |

      See my comment above. I don’t sleeves have ever been a likely spot for ads.

      • arrScott | March 25, 2014 at 9:57 am |

        NBA jerseys themselves were not previously a likely spot for ads. Regardless of whether sleeves were ever a likely ad destination, the conclusion remains: If there are no sleeves, ads will not appear on sleeves. Puts the question to rest either way!

      • RedWing in Colorado | March 25, 2014 at 12:08 pm |

        I don’t think the ads will be on the sleeves. Rather, I would say that having sleeves opened up more space, so you could move logos to the sleeve, or a number, or a secondary logo, and not have to worry about spacing/crowding the ad on the front.

  • arrScott | March 25, 2014 at 9:54 am |

    You can’t fault Dan Snyder too much for throwing money at real-world problems. Though note that he hasn’t said how much money, or whose, or when. Given Snyder’s personal history both in business and philanthropy, one can fairly assume the answers are Not Much, Not His, and Never.

    • Douglas King | March 25, 2014 at 2:33 pm |

      It’s nice to at least see them start putting their money where their mouth is.

      Every team that insists on using Native American Imagery/Name should establish a working relationship with said tribe/people/group. Yes there is some honor in naming your organization after them (and despite the likely racist intentions behind the original naming of the Redskins, the current meaning behind it comes from a desire to honor, even if it is still using a slur), but honor doesn’t fix the problems in the Native American community.

      This is a positive step, and hopefully Snyder is actually dedicated to it, as opposed to throwing money at a problem to try and save the team’s name.

      • arrScott | March 25, 2014 at 5:50 pm |

        Every team that insists on using Native American Imagery/Name should establish a working relationship with said tribe/people/group.

        Exactly. And that’s part of why Redskins is unacceptable and cannot possibly be salvaged as a name. There are no redskins! That’s not a group or a tribe or a people. Snyder likes to talk about the team’s past relationship with the Red Cloud Indian School. Set aside the fact that Snyder’s telling of the story involves several overt lies. If the team’s name was the Red Clouds, then a relationship with the Red Cloud Indian School would be perfect! No one could reasonably question the team’s use of the name Red Clouds if a Red Cloud Indian organization gave its overt blessing.

        But the team name is Redskins, not Red Clouds, not Chickahominys or Mattaponis or Piscataway. There is no Redskins tribe or American Indian group with which Snyder could partner.

  • Rich | March 25, 2014 at 9:56 am |

    “It’s because James is the most important NBA personage there is. Or to put it another way, he’s more important than Silver.”

    If this is true (and I don’t doubt that it is), then it’s another reason the NBA is a joke.

    • terriblehuman | March 25, 2014 at 10:40 am |

      That’s like suggesting Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta were more important to Pulp Fiction than Lawrence Bender! LeBron is only the best basketball player in the basketball league!

      • Chance Michaels | March 25, 2014 at 2:59 pm |

        Can Lawrence Bender open a movie?

        • terriblehuman | March 25, 2014 at 3:07 pm |

          Oh, can he ever. If he were the commissioner of a basketball league, you’d see Bender’s silhouette on cuff links everywhere.

  • Joel Manuel | March 25, 2014 at 9:57 am |

    I have been treasure hunting for over 25 years, with the same metal detector I got for Christmas in 1986. My mania for metal detecting was made worse due to the fact that I grew up literally next door to the football field used by both of the high schools in my hometown (Eunice, La). I figure that I spent weeks searching that field, finding loads of old coins and jewelry. I still try to go detecting there whenever I visit my parents.

    Until Christmas 2012, I’d never realized my dream of finding a class ring with my detector. But while at my parents’ house with my kids, I went over a corner of the old football field with my detector (it hasn’t been used since both schools built new stadiums in the late 80s/early 90s). The ground was soft, and I got a good signal. About 8 inches down, I found a class ring with a blue stone, still in great shape (I also dropped an “F bomb” in surprise). It turned out that the ring had been lost not only by someone I knew (from one of the local schools), it was a guy from my older brother’s graduating class. My brother and this fellow had a tempestuous friendship, and came to blows at least once that I remember.

    I contacted the owner, and he was overjoyed, to say the least. He said he’d lost it during a playoff victory in 1984, when he high-fived a classmate and the ring flew off into the night, and into the mud. He told me that he used to wonder if someone would ever find it, so that his wife could “wear his ring” from high school. I returned the ring to him early last year.

    My own little “permanent record” type story. :)

    • Bruce Menard | March 25, 2014 at 10:40 am |

      Great story Joel!

    • Jet | March 25, 2014 at 11:40 am |

      AWESOME!

      -Jet

  • Rich | March 25, 2014 at 10:04 am |

    Also, thanks for the ebook deal. I had the Shropshire book years ago, but it got damaged. I recently thought of trying to see if I could buy it somewhere, so I was pleasantly surprised to see it. The book is an awesome read, and I can’t wait to re-read it.

  • Kyle O. | March 25, 2014 at 10:28 am |

    Interesting fact on the lost class ring. Shannon is a friend and a classmate of mine!

  • BrianC | March 25, 2014 at 11:07 am |

    “There are Native Americans everywhere that 100% support the name”

    Sounds like a North Korean election.

  • Joseph Gerard | March 25, 2014 at 11:17 am |

    I might have to download Seasons of Hell. Not for a spoiler alert, but I’m pretty sure Ten Cent Beer Night is mentioned, seeing that it would’ve been covered in that time period. I’ve heard plenty on the Indians side of things. Wonder what the Rangers thought of the whole thing.

    As far as your comments about people not having an e-reader Paul–most of us have smartphones and the ones that don’t are deliberately holding out. Although I would’ve downloaded it anyways, the Moto X I got in November had the Amazon Kindle app already installed on my phone, so it’s starting to become a standard feature on at least Android phones. (I downloaded the Nook app, too, which I consider highly underrated.) And my cousin, who has THOUSANDS of physical books, gives me looks every time I mention of downloading a book to my phone.

    • Paul Lukas | March 25, 2014 at 11:24 am |

      As far as your comments about people not having an e-reader Paul–most of us have smartphones and the ones that don’t are deliberately holding out.

      I didn’t really have “comments” about it — I was just providing what I hoped would be a helpful link. I myself have never read an ebook (even though I have a smart phone) and didn’t realize how easy it was to do so until last week.

      • terriblehuman | March 25, 2014 at 12:27 pm |

        If you do enjoy reading though, I recommend getting a Kindle Paperwhite/Nook Simple-style reader. They’re not too expensive and really, there’s no way to appreciate how paper-like e-ink is until you’ve seen it.

        • arrScott | March 25, 2014 at 1:59 pm |

          If you don’t do much travel, the up-front dollar cost may not justify the benefits. However, having gotten first a regular Kindle and then a Paperwhite for travel, I have a hard time reading actual physical books. Like, at the table, how on earth did I keep paper books open while using silverware in each hand? I must have done so successfully in the past, since I’ve read at meals as long as I can remember being able to read, but struggling with a couple of library books this last week after about a year of only using a Kindle at the dinner table has me in a fit of frustrage by the second glass of wine. I wind up using stone coasters to weigh the pages down that I have to move every half-page or so, and then every once in a while the book just closes, losing my place and/or launching coasters into plates and bowls.

    • Mike Engle on iPad | March 25, 2014 at 2:00 pm |

      The iPad also has a Kindle app available for free download. I would have never bought a Kindle separately, because an iPad can do everything a Kindle can, and so much more.

  • Jet | March 25, 2014 at 11:38 am |

    That NHL jersey infographic has reduced me to a quivering puddle of drool

    -Jet

  • LD | March 25, 2014 at 11:58 am |

    As a big McFarlane collector I’m surprised Id never seen the “many hats” Ricky Henderson figure.Pretty awesome submission.Looks like I gotta have it,hope it don’t hurt my wallet ….that much

  • LD | March 25, 2014 at 12:03 pm |

    Sorry forgot the “E”…

  • Winter | March 25, 2014 at 12:39 pm |

    Nitpicky, but Etihad, not Eithad.

  • Bromotrifluoromethane | March 25, 2014 at 1:39 pm |

    So Mark Cuban who is pushing for NBA uni ads is saying the NFL will implode due to over-saturation? As much as I usually like what he does (as a Pirates fan I still would love to see him buy the team) I think he better worry about the ad backlash in his own sport before worrying about the NFL. They have a commissioner that’s a moron and trying to each league into the ground rapidly enough!

    • terriblehuman | March 25, 2014 at 1:48 pm |

      But there’s a clear difference between diluting a product through overexposure, and taking advantage of a potential revenue stream.

    • Douglas King | March 25, 2014 at 2:41 pm |

      He’s making a big assumption with how the NFL would supposedly implode itself.

      I don’t see an expansion past Thursday Nights, and the occasional Saturday post-College Regular Season that we occasionally see. If they were to start doing Friday Games, and Saturday games, then yeah they’ll take a hit, but the idea that the most popular league in the US will lose fans because they air games on Saturdays and Fridays it absurd. They would certainly lose viewers, but as long as the league is as competitive as it is, then they won’t lose fans (the NBA on the other hand has virtually no parity and thus many people have been turned off by it).

      Even if the NFL does venture into 5 days worth of games, they would quickly figure out that it was not a positive move and re-adjust. Besides the irregularity of the schedule would be hard to get approved by the NFLPA (I have a feeling that even Thursday Night games may be a point of contention in the next CBA).

      • BurghFan | March 25, 2014 at 3:38 pm |

        The act of Congress that allowed the NFL to pool its television revenue in 1961 includes a prohibition on televising games on Friday and Saturday while high school/college games are being played. That’s why there’s a Thursday package instead of something on the weekend that’s less disruptive to the teams.

  • Lou D. | March 25, 2014 at 1:53 pm |

    Looks like that ad featuring Ken Griffey Jr. on the Ticker has an error. It’s clearly an ad from 1997 promoting the debut of Interleague Play, but Interleague Play began on JUNE 12 of that year, not July 12.

    The only other explanation would be that it is an All-Star Game ad, but even that doesn’t compute. First, it’s hard to believe there would be no All-Star Game logo in the ad if it were truly an ASG ad. Plus, the only time the ASG was held on July 12 during Griffey’s time with Seattle was in 1994, and Nike had not ventured heavily into baseball-specific advertising (or adopted Griffey as its baseball poster boy) until the mid to late ’90s. Also, the Nike baseball logo in the bottom right seems much more in the style of 1997 than 1994.

    • scottrj | March 25, 2014 at 2:49 pm |

      FWIW, July 12, 1993, was the date on which Griffey became the first (and I believe, still the only) player to hit the Camden Yards Warehouse on the fly, although it was in the Home Run Derby and not the actual All-Star Game.
      http://www.baltimore...

      Of course, the 1993 All-Star Game itself had its own share of bizarre incidents, this most notably:
      http://www.youtube.c...

      • JTH | March 25, 2014 at 5:06 pm |

        That was some hot mullet-on-mullet action.

  • James Burke | March 25, 2014 at 2:45 pm |

    “Silver just said the other day that uni ads are still at least five years away…”

    No he didn’t. He said that they would appear within the next five years. You just took what he said and made it the complete opposite.

    • Paul Lukas | March 25, 2014 at 3:06 pm |

      You just took what he said and made it the complete opposite.

      No I didn’t — go read it again.

      When asked if the ads would appear within five years, he said yes, and then he hedged and said, “Most likely.”

      It’s also important to view this comment in the context of Silver’s previous comments, which had made it sound like uni ads were about to happen any moment now. He is now clearly playing a long game, with a longer timetable.

      If you choose to believe something different, that’s your prerogative. But speaking as someone who’s covered this issue from the moment it was first raised, I’ll stick with my own assessment of Silver’s comments.

  • TedC53 | March 25, 2014 at 4:17 pm |

    two things:
    1) The NHL graphic would be an interesting one to study in light of Paul’s questions about uniform fashion cycles. For example, Buffalo Sabers: very traditional 1970-1995, some funky stuff 1995-2009. 2010 back to traditional. I bet success in certain uniforms affects that.
    2) Winnipeg has a hockey team again?!? Wow.

  • ChrisChris | March 25, 2014 at 4:32 pm |

    Anyone else having a hard time trying to purchase the book “Seasons In Hell”?
    No matter what CCard I enter it says I cannot use that card, even when I try and pay with pay-pal it will not work. Very frustrating!

    • Paul Lukas | March 25, 2014 at 4:56 pm |

      Chris, very sorry to hear you’re having difficulties! Nobody else has reported a problem, so I don’t think it’s a systemic issue.

      I’ll alert the publisher. But for now, have you tried using a different browser?

      • ChrisChris | March 25, 2014 at 5:23 pm |

        I have tried Chrome and Firefox, I may try IE in a few hours. I won’t give up!

  • LarryB | March 25, 2014 at 5:15 pm |

    Ohio State basketball jersey spotted at a Foot Locker. Can they spell O H I O

    http://msn.foxsports...

    https://pbs.twimg.co...

  • JR Boucicaut | March 25, 2014 at 11:18 pm |

    The NHL gave teams/players the option to go to an Airknit version (EDGE 2.0) after players complained that the moisture-resistant material used on the EDGE jerseys mandated by the league made sweat pool in their gloves and skates. That, and the fact that the jerseys were getting shredded in fights.

    • Mike Engle on iPad | March 26, 2014 at 1:02 am |

      That, and Reebok spokesperson Sidney Crosby expressed enough disappointment in the new jerseys.

  • Nick Ruggeri | March 26, 2014 at 6:09 am |

    Re: Pittsburgh commemorative patch for Ralph Kiner:

    With the Mets’ patch, that makes two teams honoring Ralph this season. Anyone know if a player has been honored by two teams for two different reasons before (broadcaster/player)?