Ross Kelly, CBS Local Sports
If you’ve watched a Cavs game this season, you may have noticed something different than last year. No, I’m not talking about Kevin Love’s haircut or LeBron’s hairline; I’m talking about LeBron’s new shorter shorts. Gone are the long, baggy shorts that became popular with Michael Jordan in the late 1980s and the Fab Five in the early 1990s. Pretty much the entire NBA, save for John Stockton, adopted this style over the last 25+ years and basically all current NBA players wear these type of shorts, except LeBron.
So why the change to the 1980s-style short-shorts? It has nothing to do with LeBron wanting to show off his legs and the fact that he never skips leg day. LeBron made the change to be, in his words, a better role model to kids. He wants to look more professional – from pregame, to in-game, to postgame. Here is an excerpt from an article by Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com:
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.
The question of if this look will transfer down to the younger generation and if they will adopt his style remains to be seen. This is kind of like those NBA players from the 1950s that used to shoot free throws underhanded, grandma-style. Today’s players think that looks ridiculous and even if it would help their free throw percentage, they are unwilling to go with that shooting method because of “how it looks”. But what would happen if Steph Curry or Kevin Durant suddenly started shooting free throws like that. Suddenly it wouldn’t look so dumb and kids may actually copy that shooting method without regret. Will the same happen with LeBron and his shorts? Will high school kids suddenly ditch the baggy shorts for a more snug, professional look? Time will tell but with the magnetism and force of LeBron James, I expect at least some kids to copy his style.