According to the proverbial “industry source”, advertisements on NBA jerseys may become a reality in the near future. At first that sounds rather hilarious. But upon introspection, basketball fans should be insulted.
This league is heaped in both tradition and style. The uniforms have changed, yes, but it’s been a gradual evolution in tune with the generation whose bodies they’ve adorned. Michael Jordan may be the only case of a single player expediting this process to the point of league-wide change. And as you can see below, it’s not like the eventual progression was all that radical:
Sure, it can add another revenue stream to a supposedly-struggling league. Hell, maybe the owners would allow the players to get in on the action (even though the world’s highest-paid athletes wouldn’t actually be doing extra work).
But as fans we like to compare: This era vs that era, this guy’s beard vs that guy’s beard, these uniforms vs those uniforms.
For as much as fans revere the NBA’s storied past, the discombobulation of our treasured aesthetic timeline will be a smack in the face to the sport’s most valued consumers. Let the brand of basketball do the talking rather than let DeMarcus Cousins’ game inexplicably speak for cat food:
Allow Raymond Felton’s shapely zigzagging in the open court tell us what we need to know about fitness rather than shoving an ad on a player who clearly does not use the product:
And don’t think for one second that Rubio wearing a Disney ad won’t make fans ditch the hardwood for the ice rink. The adorableness is too palatable:
I’m all about intriguing and ingenious ways to market products. But there’s nothing impressive about this idea. The NBA fills our eyes with ads every day, and we oblige because we are addicted to the game.
So have your fun with billboards, banners and 30-second spots. Just leave the players alone; they’re one of the few things left relatively-untouched. Games are now televised in HD but otherwise look very similar to when my father was young. And that connects us. That is powerful.
There’s nothing creative or engaging about this advertising concept. It’s a final eyesore on a puzzle of crassness. For shame, NBA! For shame, amiable fans!
If the league wants to make more money, the owners will do what it takes. And why wouldn’t they capitalize on our collective sheepishness? After all, the Bulls led the league in attendance for 10 years despite ownership’s purposeful tanking. What’s the incentive in catering to those on a string?
Buying an authentic 2013 Kobe Bryant jersey adorned with an image of steak sauce insults the pedestal on which we’ve placed our idols. There are endless examples of why jersey ads could be humorous. And I understand that money matters. But so does integrity.
For the love of the game, leave it alone, just this once.