On Monday, the Cleveland Cavaliers became the first team in history to wear sleeved jerseys in an NBA Finals game. After their resounding victory, it was revealed that LeBron James asked his teammates to opt for the non-traditional jerseys. But why did he do that?
The Cavaliers entered Monday’s game with their season on the line. The Golden State Warriors, playing in front of their home fans, were expected to close out the series and win back-to-back NBA titles. The Cavs needed some kind of an edge and the sleeved jerseys provided them that, at least in the mind of James, who is known to be a tad superstitious.
LeBron James and prideful Cavs…
Chris Haynes of cleveland.com tweeted after the game: “James made (the) call to wear black sleeved jerseys, I’m told. J.R. Smith says that jersey symbolizes pride. #Cavs were prideful tonight.”
Interestingly, James seems to play a lot better while wearing a sleeved jersey. According to Sports Illustrated reporter Kenny Ducey, “James averaged 29.2 points on 54.4 percent shooting, 5.8 rebounds and 7.6 rebounds in five games while wearing a sleeved jersey this season. All five of those games were also Cavs wins.”
Last November, James ripped the same Cavaliers black sleeved jersey (Watch Video Above) during a game against the New York Knicks. After that game, James cited frustration with his play as the reason and not the tightness of the sleeve, as was speculated. “I don’t know, it might be mental, man. It’s OK. The jerseys are nice. We love the jerseys.
“The black looks great. It’s been awhile since this franchise has worn black. So it’s great to be out there and wear those uniforms. I was in my own way. I was frustrated with my shot, I couldn’t make a bucket, so like I said, I had to take it out on something,” James told ESPN after that infamous incident.
LeBron James is 6-0 this season while wearing a sleeved jersey. After his 41-point effort on Monday, should James continue to buck the trend and roll with the sleeved jersey for Thursday’s Game 6?
LeBron James in sleeved jerseys this year (5 games)
Cavs 5-1 with sleeves (5-0 w/ LeBron & sleeves)
— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) June 14, 2016