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Adidas crosses line with new sleeved jerseys

Feb 11, 2013, 7:30 PM EDT

Kansas v West Virginia Getty Images

Today, it was announced by Adidas that they’ll be unveiling a new type of jersey — well, depending on when you grew up, maybe old-school type — with a compression-sleeve alternate uniform that the Golden State Warriors will play in in the near future.

You really should click that link to see these jerseys. The thing almost looks painted on Harrison Barnes’ chest.

Normally, whatever the shoe/apparel brands start off in the NBA, eventually trickles down to the college game. And that’s almost a “death, taxes” certainty with Adidas. Who released last season’s infrared uniforms for teams like Baylor and Louisville and this season had teams like Kansas don monochromatic jerseys (see picture).

Then there was this tweet from the always reliable Marc J. Spears who covers the NBA for Yahoo!

So let’s just face it, Arad McCutchen is getting his way from beyond the grave.

First, let me say that I’m a huge advocate of most uniform enhancements. I love most of what I see, with the exception of this season’s stunt by Nike to seemingly make practice jersey’s suitable for games.

But this is where someone has to draw the line. Yes, players wear compression shirts under jerseys. That doesn’t mean that players want sleeves on the jerseys.

The biggest problem will be that — even though I’m sure Adidas has looked at this — is the restriction of movement. Players are used to jerseys having some movement. They’re somewhat form-fitting, but loose in the place they need it (shoulders, waist, etc.). The sleeves themselves, should they choose to wear them under a standard jersey, don’t limit the total body movement. By combining the two, you bring that into play. A ball-handler isn’t going to like that. Nor is a shooter who likes arm extension.

Also, there are some players who don’t wear sleeves because, hint, they don’t like them. One of them was never Tony Crocker, but the modern player has most likely come up in AAU and high school wearing a standard no-sleeved jersey. What about the players who avoid sleeves? College kids don’t all have the best mental games, and Adidas is risking throwing a few off their games? Comfort is a part of the game, believe it or not.

Bottom line: It’s okay to tinker with color, scheme and fit. There’s nothing wrong with trying to improve what is on the jersey. But when a company starts to alter the jersey construction itself, it could actually start affecting the game a bit. Enough to decide games? I doubt it. But this isn’t the pre-shot clock area where sleeves were somewhat common.

There’s a line between genius and crazy. And Adidas is flirting with it.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten.

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