LEBRON James is not a big fan of the NBA’s sleeved jerseys and defended his actions of ripping his on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time), saying it was “mental.”
After going 4-for-11 from the field and 0-for-2 from the free throw line against the New York Knicks, James ripped open the sleeves on both arms after missing a three-pointer with 7:08 remaining in the second quarter and the Cavs trailing 36-27. Cleveland went on to win 96-86, with James finishing the game 9-for-23.
The Cavs were wearing a new black alternate sleeved jersey against the Knicks, the team's fifth uniform through its first five games.
"I was just frustrated with myself, I was just off rhythm a lot tonight, and the jersey was the only thing I could go to," James said. "I couldn't do nothing to my face."
"I don't know, it might be mental, man," James said before qualifying his comments about the sleeved jerseys.
"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."
"It was a little tight," said Knicks star Carmelo Anthony who agreed with James. "A little tight, probably was restricting his shot a little bit.
According to Cleveland.com, James practiced in the sleeved jersey and gave his OK before the team added it to the uniform rotation. Asked what he would say if he were asked for his input about wearing sleeves again, James took the high road.
"I mean, if the fans love them, I love them," James said. "That's what it's all about. I think our fans here in Cleveland and around the world and around the league love the uniforms. I'll wear them for 48 minutes in a ballgame. Obviously, I'm so used to the sleeveless cutoffs, whatever you want to call them - tank tops - I've been playing in tank tops my whole life. But for a game here, a game there, I don't mind it."
In the past, James spoke out about his dislike for sleeved uniforms, which were introduced by the NBA as an alternate look two seasons ago.