You may have noticed we're no longer in the pre-dress code era of the way NBA players present themselves with their nightly attire. Velour tracksuits and throwback jerseys have gone away for players and they're much more fashion conscious in and out of the arena. Even guys like Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Paul George have seemingly made a spectacle at times with what they choose to wear.
For Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, the off-court attire isn't the only thing he wants to be an influencer wearing. You may have also noticed LeBron is wearing much shorter shorts than the norm this season. It's not a comfort thing or a strategic thing with his play.
According to Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com, this has to do with making his job seem even more professional and wants to influence how kids think about the way they present themselves both on and off the court. That's why you're seeing a tighter fit to his uniform.
"I'm always thinking about ways I can be of help," James told cleveland.com. "That's what it's about, making sure you're doing your part."
This season he trimmed his uniform shorts by a couple inches, and had his jersey made snugger than in years past. He had expressed to those close to him he wants to leave the baggy look behind and place a renewed emphasis on professional appearance when it comes to the size of his uniform as well as his pregame and postgame attire.
When he arrives for work at The Q, he typically wears a sportcoat. It's his way of reaffirming that it's a business atmosphere. Professionalism and conduct were a main focus of the Cavaliers' pre-regular-season team meeting in late October.
As James is the biggest name in the league and arguably in all of sports, he feels an obligation to shift the minds of kids on what is considered fashionable and acceptable. The kids who will play in the NBA in the future look to today's players as role models.
I guess the sleeved jerseys he ripped up the other night were a little too business attire for his liking? I don't think this is necessarily a good or bad idea. It's an idea. It might end up leading to kids wanting tighter fitted shorts and start completely doing away with the baggier look of the Fab Five Michigan days that dominated basketball culture for a decade or two. Still, I'm not sure how much of this will actually work in affecting the youth.
First, LeBron will probably have to influence the rest of his teammates and then the rest of the league. If everybody starts doing it, the kids growing up watching the game will catch on and 15 years down the road everybody will look like they're playing in wetsuits. Until we actually see progress with that, it'll just look like LeBron is channeling his inner John Stockton.