The Cleveland Cavaliers will host the Charlotte Hornets on Black Friday wearing black uniforms — the same jersey color they wore when they captured the first championship in franchise history in 2016 — only with a major modification since the NBA’s official outfitter switched from Adidas to Nike this season: The sleeves are gone. “Oh I’m not a sleeve guy, me personally,” said LeBron James, who revealed he had some input in the design of the jerseys known as the “Statement” edition in Cleveland’s new four-uniform set for the 2017-18 season. Nah, I’m not a sleeves guy,” James continued. “Just a tank top and shorts guy. That’s the essence of basketball, tank top and shorts. So, that’s what I’m about.”
James is a fan of the new black uniforms that feature grey pinstripes (the color of the sword on the Cavs’ secondary logo) that meet in the center of the jersey were the Cavs’ “C” logo is displayed prominently. “They’re great,” James said. “They’re great. They’re great. Black Friday, it’s going to be nice to see that tonight. Hopefully everybody will wear all black tonight, all our fans and everything, to kind of set the mood. So, they’re great uniforms.”
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant looked like he felt disrespected when recently asked whether he knows what “The Town” means. “Yeah, of course I know what that means,” said Durant, a Seat Pleasant, Maryland, native who modeled “The Town” jersey during an offseason Nike unveiling. “It pays homage to Oakland. This city reminds me of where I grew up. I feel like this is way past due to incorporate Oakland into this whole thing. But to incorporate Oakland, I feel a lot of fans have been waiting on this. It will be cool to throw those jerseys on for the first time.”
“We wanted something to celebrate Oakland,” Welts said. “This really started two seasons ago. The process included getting an agreement with the league on concept and a design we could protect and trademark. And then getting it to the point, because of manufacturing and distribution, where we could offer it. I’ll be honest, when I moved here six years ago, I knew ‘The City.’ But I didn’t understand that Oakland called themselves ‘The Town.’ We started testing it with a lot of movers and shakers in Oakland and it really resonated. ‘The Town’ was a source of pride.” Quietly, Warriors chief marketing officer Chip Bowers began working on getting “The Town” jerseys created during the fall of 2015. Bowers saw some novice “The Town” jerseys online with the cranes from the Port of Oakland and Oakland’s Tribune Tower building. The Warriors also considered using a logo of the eastern span of the Bay Bridge on “The Town” jerseys.
Warriors guard Stephen Curry, who has been with the franchise since 2009, said he quickly learned about “The Town” and the history behind it. The former Oakland resident is excited to wear “The Town” jerseys at Oracle Arena. “It’s amazing for the organization to recognize ‘The Town’ and the city that supported them through the dog days and some tough times and bright spots, obviously,” Curry said. “Knowing we are soon moving to San Francisco, it’s a silent effort to show the loyalty to the city and the history as well. There have been a lot of great days here. Hopefully, the fans from the East Bay and Oakland can rally around that.”
Basket Viola Reggio Calabria, the Italian team with which Manu Ginobili played from 1998 to 2000, wore a jersey commemorating him playing 1,000 NBA games. The jersey featured “Manu” written on the top right side next to the Argentinian flag. “It’s a great honor, makes me feel good,” said Ginobili, who achieved the milestone in a Nov. 3 win over Charlotte. “I have great memories of my two years there.” Ginobili described his years in Italy as “a wonderful time.”
Nike publicly addressed its “lighter” NBA jerseys that have come under scrutiny after at least five players’ jerseys have ripped during the 2017-18 season. The company provided a statement to USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday morning, noting plans to alter the jerseys in order to avoid more tears during games. It did not disclose how many jerseys, if not all, would be discarded or replaced for better quality.