Nike—which signed a $1 billion, eight-year deal to create the league’s uniforms—just released a statement on the issue saying that a remedy is on the way.
“Nike has always put the athlete at the center of everything we do and we have worked hard to create the most advanced uniforms in the history of the NBA,” the company said in a statement. “They are lighter and deliver great mobility and sweat wicking characteristics, and the feedback from players has been overwhelmingly positive. However, during game play we have seen a small number of athletes experience significant jersey tears. We are very concerned to see any game day tear and are working to implement a solution that involves standardizing the embellishment process and enhancing the seam strength of game day jerseys. The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance and we are working with the NBA and teams to avoid this happening in the future.”
With basketball being incredibly physical, players are constantly tugging on each other for leverage, causing jerseys to tear. It happened to LeBron James on opening night:
Sports business reporter Darren Rovell tweeted that the ripping jerseys probably won’t impact Nike’s consumer business much, as casual wearers won’t have seven-foot, 250-pound men trying to yank them out of the paint.
When Nike first gained rights to the NFL’s on-field uniforms in 2012, there were growing pains as well—especially among few 300-pound linemen.
“I hate them. They are built for thin guys. It makes me look like I have big old love handles,”Alex Boone, a guard for the San Francisco 49ers told the WSJ at the time. While the bigger guys weren’t feeling them, looser jerseys make it easier to tackle people. According to Sports Business Daily, the NFL’s original deal began in 2012 and was to expire in this year, but the league signed an extension through 2019.
While the NBA’s ripped jerseys are a bit more important than NFL players feeling a little self-conscious, it’s good to know that Nike is on the case.