02-11-2013, 10:02 AM
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Warriors to unveil jersey with sleeves
OAKLAND -- About 10 minutes into Adidas' pitch about an innovative new uniform with sleeves, Warriors' co-owner Peter Guber had seen enough.
"I went 'Wow!' " Guber said of the August 2011 meeting. "It was a very profound change. And I think Adidas presenting it to us and giving us the option to be the first one to do this demonstrates our willingness to be inventive."
On Monday, the Warriors will unveil their yellow, alternate uniforms. They will be the first team in the modern NBA era to play in something other than a tank top.
The Warriors will debut the new unis for their Feb. 22 home game against the San Antonio Spurs, which is being aired on ESPN. They will also wear them March 8 vs. Houston and March 15 vs. Chicago.
If Adidas has its way, the new look will be a growing trend.
"It was the right moment, the right team," said Lawrence Norman, Adidas' vice president of global basketball. "Even more important, the right city. When you launch something as innovative as this -- that will change the way the players look on the court and the way the fans support the team forever -- why not launch it in the most innovative part of the United States?"
The new jersey is much less a T-shirt than the next phase in the evolution of basketball apparel.
It's being called the "adizero NBA short sleeve uniform system." And Adidas boasts it as a revolutionary marriage between performance and aesthetics.
26 percent lighter than the traditional jerseys, 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.
The shorts -- which have pinstripes inspired by the Golden Gate Bridge -- have been modernized, too. The stretch woven fabric, pricked with thousands of holes, make the bottoms as lightweight and airy as ever.
Bay Area fans will love this part: the uniform is made with 60 percent recycled material.
The Warriors and Adidas, the official provider of NBA uniforms since 2006, worked together for more than a year to bring this concept to life. Several players tested them during their offseason and the Warriors have gone through full practices in them.
"I think it will be a trendsetter," rookie forward Harrison Barnes said. "I think its something it will take people a little bit of time to get used to, but once they do it'll be good. As long as I'm able to shoot and move, that's all that matters."
Warriors and Adidas say they have gotten nothing but positive feedback from the performance end.
The only remaining question is the reception of fans and the basketball community.
Will people take to a shirt jersey? Is this a gimmick waiting to be rejected?
"In the early '90s, I was part of the transition from short shorts to longer shorts," said Warriors president Rick Welts, who established a reputation as a pioneer in his decades working in the NBA office.
"We certainly heard from a lot of basketball traditionalists that short shorts were sacrosanct to the basketball uniforms the way they should be. I'm not foolish enough to think some won't think we're messing with tradition. But I think it's going to be really well received. Over time, I wouldn't be surprised if every team has one."
This jersey was designed with the fan in mind.
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.
The "swingman" jerseys will run about $110, about $40 more than the traditional replicas. The authentic versions will be $300. Both will be available for pre-order at NBA.com and warriorsteamstore.com starting Monday.