Hey guys, LeBron James here. I want to talk about an incident last night. During my team’s game against the Knicks I tore up the sleeves of my new, alternate Cavs jersey.

They’re the alternate jerseys that most NBA teams are wearing that have short sleeves instead of the traditional tank top design. Because of a few comments I’ve made in the past and because of the incident last night, some people are saying that me tearing up the sleeves was a clear indication that I hate these new jerseys and wish that we didn’t have to wear the dumb things. And, even worse, that I should be disciplined by the League office for messing with the uniform. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth!

Here, take a look for yourself:

See, I wasn’t trying to tear the sleeves off, I was trying to “tatter” the sleeves because, guess what, the American Eagle–style “tattered tee” is back in! Or at least I WANT it to be back in!

I’m sure you remember the craze that swept malls from New Jersey to Ohio to Southern California in the late ’90s/early ’00s. The T-shirts, sweatshirts, jeans, and hats that you bought from stores like American Eagle, Aeropostale, and the teen boy section of Kohl’s, they all came pre-tattered.


I love that look and I was just trying to express my individuality through tattering up my team tee (aka alternate jersey).

What you have to understand is that fashion is cyclical. Bell bottoms came back, then acid washed jeans, and now? Tattered tees!

Here’s what I love most about tattered tees: They’ve BEEN there, ya know? They’ve DONE that. And when it comes to style, nothing is cooler than presenting yourself as if you’ve already done a bunch of stuff in those clothes and whatever you’re showing up to is not nearly as important as the things you were doing before. The tattered tee practically screams that message. And, sure, the added mobility my arms get from loosening the tight sleeves that kind of feel like your playing basketball with a very strong gorilla holding your arms down is a bonus. But it was mainly for the fashion.

Another thing I love about my new tattered tee jersey sleeves is that they’re original. While some other players might follow my lead and tatter up their jersey tees, no one’s will be exactly like mine. And from when I first started playing team sports, I’ve always been repulsed by the idea that I was blending in with the other players on the court. I wanted to let my freak flag fly, and that’s what wearing tattered tees is all about.

You might be asking “But LeBron, you can tatter up almost any article of clothing, why only the short-sleeved alternate jerseys? It sure seems like you were just tearing them apart because they are stupid and ugly.” And to that I say, “Nope. I swear!”

Tees just lend themselves to tattering more than tanks or shorts because there is more surface area. Plus, tanks and shorts are covering up the bare minimum of the “now-I’m-naked zone,” which is the area of the body that, when unclothed, a person should be legally considered nude. And when you start tattering around the “now-I’m-naked zone” then you’re playing with fire.

If you tatter too much then you run the risk of showing a bare nipple or part of your butt crack. Obviously, when you’re dealing with tanks and shorts, you just have less room for tattering error. But with my new alternate sleeved jerseys, I’m free to tatter without fear of going too far.

My message here is simple: Tearing up my uniform last night was in no way a criticism of the constriction and overall impracticality of playing basketball in a skin tight t-shirt. I love playing basketball in these new alternate jerseys and I hope the NBA makes some serious cash on selling them to fans! What I don’t love is the boring, same-old same-old when it comes to basketball fashion. So if the NBA wants to fine me for being at the forefront of fashion, expressing my individuality, and just plain looking rad, then fine away! But something tells me you’ll be seeing a trail of sleeve tatters leading up to basketball courts across the nation tonight.