The Golden State Warriors introduced a basketball jersey with short-sleeves during the 2012-2013 NBA Season.

Warriors short-sleeve jersey

Traditionally, basketball jerseys have been without sleeves. What is the motivation behind introducing short-sleeve jerseys?


It seems to be mainly about style, but the Golden State Warriors (the initial team to make the announcement) and adidas are also touting the performance benefits. This is a little weird, but I'll quote the quote from the article

It's being called the "adizero NBA short sleeve uniform system." And Adidas boasts it as a revolutionary marriage between performance and aesthetics. The uniforms are 26 percent lighter than their traditional counterparts, which Adidas said its research revealed was most important to players. They come with the ever-popular moisture-absorbing feature. The sleeves are made with stretch fabric that wraps 360 degrees around the shoulder to ensure full range of motion, because anyone who has played basketball knows how a T-shirt's sleeve can interfere with a jumper.

Here's a bit about the style factor:

The rationale is having a full shirt as the team's jersey allows people to represent their team in more settings. Unlike soccer, baseball and football, basketball uniforms are limited, from a fashion perspective, because they are sleeveless.

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    So, basketball players will become racecars and sport sponsor decals? – user527 Mar 4 '13 at 16:14
  • I'm not sure that's the direction they are looking to go. If you asked that because of the "represent their team in more settings" remark, I think they mean that it's more socially acceptable to wear a t-shirt style rather than a tank top style. – Matt Mar 4 '13 at 16:22
  • I was being half-facetious. Nonetheless, it's more or less a marketing ploy to sell merchandise. As long as the players can play in them, short-sleeved jerseys won't receive negative reactions (unlike composite basketballs). – user527 Mar 4 '13 at 16:27
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    Ah ha, sorry :) Yeah, I also agree it's all about marketing, although I hope that you won't see a bunch of people walking around in skin-tight basketball uniforms. That style doesn't belong on everyone! – Matt Mar 4 '13 at 16:30
  • Funny thing is...the NBA has allowed teams to sell jersey sponsorships, meaning the "sponsor decal" metaphor is quite real these days. si.com/nba/2017/07/26/… – user14817 Mar 19 '18 at 19:50

In this instance, I think it is just Adidas trying to increase their profile amongst basketball fans. Nike has dominated the basketball scene for so long..this is Adidas' attempt to gain relevance. I mean, a 26% percent lighter shirt is irrelevant to actual in-game performance...

  • a fair argument. – user527 Mar 12 '13 at 18:18

Because it provides more ad space. Plain and simple. There has been an ever growing push for the NBA to put sponsorship decals on jerseys and standardising sleeved uniforms now establishes themselves for when this becomes the norm.


I think a big factor is also profit. If I own a team's jersey, the likelihood of me buying their jersey again is slim, unless there is a redesign or a special edition jersey. This aesthetic is a definite incentive to boost jersey sales and entice people who've purchased their favourite team's jersey to go pick up a new one.

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    But why short-sleeves? The profit motive can exist for the existing sleeveless as well. – Max Oct 20 '13 at 9:38