Nike has headed back to its sewing machines, concerned and looking for ways to fix its NBA jerseys, which have ripped apart rather spectacularly over the first few weeks of the season.
LeBron James, for instance, suddenly felt a draft when the back of his jersey split when grabbed by the Celtics’ Jaylen Brown in the Cavs’ season opener, which was particularly embarrassing because Nike is in the first year of an eight-year, $1-billion deal with the NBA. The Lakers’ Tyler Ennis also suffered a wardrobe malfunction, as did the Warriors’ Draymond, whose jersey ripped in a fight; the 76ers’ Ben Simmons, whose jersey tore when tugged during a battle for a rebound; and the Cavs’ Kevin Love, whose jersey succumbed when he pulled it on.
Nike, which happens to have endorsement deals with those five, promised to reinforce the jerseys.
“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 to ESPN. “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.”
Nike’s foray into dressing NFL players in 2012 didn’t exactly come off with out a hitch, either. The company had boasted that the uniforms would have a “body-contoured fit,” but the league’s 300-pounders really weren’t into body contouring.
“I hate them. They are built for thin guys,” 49ers guard Alex Boone said at the time. “It makes me look like I have big old love handles.”
He added that his wife told him: “‘It looks like you ate a small baby.’”
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