Do Sleeved Jerseys Help Shooting?

Miami Heat  v San Antonio Spurs

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last week, after the Miami Heat lost to the San Antonio Spurs, LeBron James was not happy. He finished the game shooting 6-of-18 from the field, and he had one immediate suggestion for his poor shooting night.

“I’m not making excuses, but I’m not a big fan of the jerseys,” LeBron said. “Every time I shoot it feels like it’s just pulling right up underneath my arm. I already don’t have much room for error on my jump shot. It’s definitely not a good thing.”

(His teammate, Dwyane Wade, had a different response: “It ain’t the reason we lost. You’re just not used to it. They [the Spurs] didn’t have a problem with it. It is what it is. Let’s not make this about a jersey, please. We got our butts kicked. That’s it.”)

Ever since the NBA introduced sleeved jerseys last season, response seems to fall on both sides. Both players and fans have been vocal about their feelings — some love them, some hate them. Although as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said at the All-Star Game, “From a fan standpoint, the greatest indicator is how are they selling, and I’ll say we’re having trouble keeping them in the stores. There’s enormous demand for those jerseys. Fans like them and I happen to like them, too.”

LeBron may not enjoy wearing them, but perhaps LeBron is the outlier here? While King James says he hasn’t been as successful in the sleeves, according to statistician Ed Kupfer, who works with the Houston Rockets, teams wearing sleeved jerseys have on the whole shot better than teams in tank tops.

Kupfer later clarified that this was eFG%, or “effective field goal percentage,” which basically factors in that three-pointers are worth more than two pointers. (Here’s an explanation.)

But even in raw numbers, three-point percentages seem to be up while wearing sleeves…

And sure, I understand that we’re dealing with a much smaller sample size here when it comes to the sleeved jerseys, but numbers never lie, right? Or maybe they do?

Either way, perhaps there are some players who are just beyond sleeves…

VIDEO: Bird in 1988

(via B/R)


  1. hart says:

    if u think about it the numbers make sense. only the good teams get to play in sleeved jerseys, and they usually shoot a higher %, and take smarter shots. without sleeves, it includes the teams like bucks and 76ers, who often dont shoot awfully that great. that could be an explanation

  2. dd def says:

    either way they’re awful, and starting next season the league is FORCING portland to make one of its coolest jerseys short-sleeved and that’s bs. it’s OUR jersey, so WE should get to make the call on it. just because ONE guy likes them he’s enforcing HIS will one everyone despite the fact we’ve made it clear that we DON’T like them.

    • Anon says:

      I agree completely, I’m not a fan of these jerseys at all. I wouldn’t buy one ever, I can’t even play ball in a t-shirt and those jerseys look way tighter…and horrible for the sport.

    • Emong says:

      I concur dd def. so what if Silver likes it? It doesn’t mean all the people in the NBA will like it as well. and if the fans buys them doesn’t mean it will feel good with players.

    • lbj says:

      i agree the sleeved thing is annoying. I do not like how it looks and its not what i think a jersey should look like. Its a T-shirt not a Jersey. The King never lies if it was why he shot so bad then that’s the truth throw them out obey the best ever King James

  3. Jolan says:

    Why can’t we just let the players choose? Do they all have to wear sleeves during the game? Why cant some players wear them and other not during the game? Guys are looking at the color of the jersey anyways. Let the players decide.

  4. Roberto says:

    I don’t like them because THEY’RE UGLY.

  5. sad says:

    I disagree with those new jerseys… The statistic is wrong because not all teams wear the new jerseys while all wear the tank-tops… So please… NBA ain’t NFL/NHL or w/e… just let them keep what keeps basketball unique…-the cool tanktops

  6. kanuk says:

    there’s no need for them and they don’t even look good. give them all to charity … or the homeless.

  7. Shawn Kemp no. 1 says:

    i don’t care if they help or don’t help shooting, the short sleeved jerseys are CRAP. if they want them so much, they can have teams wear them for christmas and all star and that’s it.

  8. DUH says:

    Funny how the so called “KING JAMES” made a lame excuse about the sleeved jersey when he had an horrible game. But i don’t remember him making that statement when the Heat won against the Lakers wearing a sleeved jersey. After the All Star game wherein the East and West All Stars are wearing sleeved jerseys also. It’s not Christmas everyday Lebron. So don’t make excuses. I know some the bandwagons will react on this. So let me say it ahead of time. I hate lebron because he’s overrated. 😛

  9. K. Chief says:

    Just becuse they’re flying of store shelves doesn’t mean they’re good or liked as jerseys. I personally hate them as jerseys, but I still want one and intend to purchase one because I can wear it like a t-shirt and I think that’s the appeal from fans. You can wear them as t-shirts to games instead of the tank top over a regular t-shirt or shirt. In my opinion they’re just better for fans.

  10. JJ says:

    What does the statistics say if you compare the same team with and without the awful looking shirts? The mumbers mentioned in the article are biased!

  11. Nino says:

    Another cry from the queen. Just like a baby. You did no see Jordan talking like this. It is the same when he was hit by somebody last season, he was crying about that. those 80’s and 90’s guys did not do that.

  12. hellon says:

    I really hate these sleeves on jerseys….It’s not football or soccer!

  13. DJ says:

    Silver’s comment about the Jersey’s is dumb, of course they’re going to sell more, they’re shaped like a t-shirt and not a jersey so people can wear them more than just the few places where a jersey looks good. You can wear a t-shirt anywhere. I guarantee that nba t-shirts outsell jersey’s by a thousand percent, that doesn’t mean players should start playing in t-shirts.

    • Tony C. says:

      This is definitely the reason for the sleeved jerseys. They would increase revenue. But at the expense of the players looking like a high school volleyball team, which would kill the viewership ratings..

  14. MKB says:

    ask Jodie Meeks.)

  15. sirsparhawk says:

    It isnt much of a difference. It rarely bothered me when I played ball, its different yes, but give it 1 game to get used to it and you are good. Not 3 games and excuses…

  16. contra10 says:

    I don’t mind the shirts at all, they are different and cool a tad bit. I think what the NBA I’d trying to do is to just get us comfortable with the shirts so that in the future it will take over the sleeveless shirts. Plus the amount of money they can bring in, not just with sales but advertisers is huge. Ever watch major soccer leagues and see the advertisers on their jerseys, I think that’s the route that will be taken.,.that’s just my guess but we’ll see and perhaps we’ll see if theirs backlash then…

  17. winter says:

    The best way that these number crunchers will know if their data is correct is for them to actually wear it in a basketball game. If you have to get a looser jersey, you’d have to have NBA-appropriate size, not too loose and not too body hugging. Again, in the end, it’s the NBA demonstrating that NBA Basketball is about money, not the players.

  18. dustydreamnz says:

    Another vote for sleeves being awful!

  19. sgxc says:

    Durant’s comment was the best. We get out to ball. Not to care about the jeresy. I mean, come on, all of them played shirtless, with hoodies with jeans, without basketball shoes, at the worst conditions. At the end the Spurs had short-sleeves too like Wade said. Stop whining about this.

  20. JP says:

    he wasn’t wearing sleeve jersey when he got stomped out by bulls so Shut the hell up you weak af

  21. The Truth says:

    So b/c LeFlop James whines and complains we have to write an article on the long sleeves now?

  22. Tony C. says:

    I’d be interested to know what the jump shot percentages are for sleeved jersey wearing nba players. Not interested in the shooting percentage because they could be referring to all layups and dunks. LOL

  23. didi says:

    LBJ were just making excuses, you know that they sometimes or more using a long sleeved jersey for shooting practice, he must get used with short sleeved jersey for a game anyway. if you guys cant shoot with sleeved, i dont think you all can play a good basketball game. sorry

  24. hanz says:

    short sleeve jersey affects Lebron shooting touch and make him hard to handle and make his shoots vs the SAS but Jodee Meeks records his career high vs OKC using short sleeve jersey..

  25. KDTrey5 says:

    Watch one day when Lebron comes out with a sleeveless jersey while the rest of his team comes out with sleeved ones.

  26. Jeff Levy says:

    LeBron is an outlier. Very few players are as big as he is and take as many jump shots. All of the great shooters in the league haven’t had as big of a problem with the sleeves because they look like twigs compared to him. That said, the sleeved jerseys the NBA is using look absolutely ridiculous. Personally, I thought the sleeved jerseys worn in last years NCAA tournament looked pretty sick. Whoever is designing the NBA sleeved jerseys should be fired.

  27. pokie says:

    The math on this is tilted in favor of sleeved jerseys because the better teams are the only ones wearing sleeved jerseys. The sleeved jersey is not going away though because soon each of those sleeves will be covered with advertising. What’s next? Obviously it’s spandex bodysuits and capes.

  28. mad says:

    what’s the matter with the tank tops? didn’t that work?
    why did you feel the need for a change?

  29. C Geer says:

    I think these jerseys are ugly and they look uncomfortable. As far as only “good” teams are wearing them, the Pacers don’t and I hope they won’t. The only reason that these are flying off the shelf in stores is that a sleeveless jersey isn’t exactly daily wear attire.