by: Art Garcia
The new NBA Revolution 30 uniforms gives players a snugger-yet-lighter fitting material to play in.
Courtesy of adidas
Less is much more for players when it comes to new uniforms
So what's in a uniform?
Well, less than ever before, and that means more for today's NBA players. More of a chance to show off what they do best and, for some, just plain show off.
"I can't wait for everyone else to start wearing it," Dwight Howard said of the uniforms debuting this season. "I think they're going to like it. It might make a lot of people who might not have good stomachs and big muscles look in shape."
Not everyone owns the physique and confidence of Orlando's All-Star center, and Adidas isn't promising instant makeovers. What the league's official outfitter is delivering is the latest generation in uniform technology. Yes, there's a science to stitches and seams.
NBA Revolution 30, designed and developed by adidas, is billed as the lightest and most advanced uniform ever created. They're 30 percent lighter and dry twice as quickly as previous uniforms, and are made from 60 percent recycled materials. They're made to be cooler, drier and more comfortable.
According to Howard, players will notice the difference.
"You can," he said. "They're lighter. They stand out, for one. Two, it's just a good feel. It feels great. It breathes. You don't really sweat in it."
There's been four years worth of sweat and study put into Revolution 30. Testing and feedback has been conducted by adidas with more than 200 NBA and NBA D-League players, usually during practices and in individual fittings.
"As we looked at the way the game has evolved, the uniforms really haven't made a big step to catch up with the bigger, faster guys, the way they're suiting up to play the game," Travis Blasingame, head of adidas' Global Basketball Apparel Business Unit.
Whether guys feel a step quicker or jump an inch higher remains to be seen. Howard has experienced several of the tangible benefits during testing.
"For a lot of guys, when they sweat, their jerseys get heavier and they tend to slow down," he said. "These jerseys keep them the same from how they started the game. I'm worn the jersey before. It's kind of like getting back to playing in a tank top."
The uniforms' latest version, which was unveiled Wednesday at the NBA Store in New York, had its biggest taste test on the NBA's most opulent stage. Prototypes served as the official uniforms of the Eastern and Western Conference during the 2010 All-Star Game held before a record crowd of more than 100,000 at Cowboys Stadium.
"I don't think anybody had a problem with it," Howard said. "I think everybody enjoyed them."
All-Stars were outfitted with an earlier version at the 2009 showcase in Phoenix. The new jerseys are designed to be worn tighter and closer to the body, which Howard said makes it harder for opponents to grab. The inside of the jerseys have much less stitching, increasing the comfort. The numbers are also a mesh fabric designed to breath. The overall better fit reduces friction and complements the additional layers modern players typically wear under their uniforms, Blasingame said.
The use of compression shorts and padded pieces worn at the skin-first level allow for a lighter uniform. Since players are loading up underneath for protection, they didn't need the heavier jerseys and shorts. Blasingame called Revolution 30 the third generation: From wool shorts with belts to mesh materials that became bigger and baggier to now.
"This is sort of the next big step in uniform technologies," Blasingame said. "How long will it last? I think a minimum of a couple of years, but we've got some stuff in the hopper that's going to be exciting come All-Star [Weekend]."
Howard is well-versed in all the hi-tech features of Revolution 30, but for someone who prefers to practice in a tank top for obvious reasons, the new duds score high for the most basic of reasons. Call it the mirror test.
"Just like with some new shoes," he said. "When you get some new shoes, you feel like you're on top of the world. You're always looking at them. You're always telling people, 'Hey, I've got some new shoes.' You know how it was when you were little.
"It's the same thing with these jerseys. When you feel like something is right, you feel like you're looking good, you play better. Fans notice that."