Nike’s first season as the NBA’s official apparel provider is off to a rocky start as no fewer than five of the company’s new, high-tech jerseys have been visibly ripped during games.
The company acknowledged the issues and vowed to strengthen the jerseys’ seams in a statement given to Dailymail.com.
‘During game play we have seen a small number of athletes experience significant jersey tears,’ the statement read. ‘We are very concerned to see any game day tear and are working quickly to implement a [solution] that involves standardizing the embellishment process and enhancing the seam strength of game day jerseys.
Philadelphia 76ers rookie Ben Simmons remove his ripped jersey during a recent game
‘Nike always puts 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 statement continued. ‘They are lighter and deliver great mobility and sweat wicking characteristics, and the feedback from players has been overwhelmingly positive.
The statement ends, ‘[t]he 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 has not stated whether or not existing jerseys will need to be discarded to fix the problem.
In June of 2015 it was announced that Nike had inked an eight-year deal with the NBA for a reported $1 billion, beginning with the 2017-18 season.
Adidas made the NBA’s jerseys over the previous 11 years after replacing Reebok in 2006. On occasion, Adidas’ NBA jerseys were known to rip as well.
Nike’s problems began in the preseason when Los Angeles Lakers guard Tyler Ennis’s jersey ripped, but things got much worse on the opening night of the regular season when Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James’ jersey split down the center of his back.
LeBron James’s Nike jersey split down the center of his back during the regular-season opener
The NBA raised $45,000 for hurricane victims by auctioning off James’ torn jersey
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (in white) tore his jersey during a scuffle with Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal. Green’s shit ultimately ripped along the side
Draymond Green (No. 23) was ejected for fighting Washington’s Bradley Beal, who ripped the Golden State forward’s jersey. Nike has not announced if it will recall existing jerseys
The NBA auctioned off James’s torn jersey for $45,000 to raise money for victims of recent hurricanes.
After the incident with James, Nike president and CEO Mark Parker told CNBC that ‘we’ve isolated the issue and we feel like we’ve got command of the situation and feel good about where we are.’
Unfortunately for Nike, the issues continued.
Since then, James’s teammate Kevin Love tore his jersey while pulling it over his head; Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green had his ripped in a skirmish with Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal; and just last week, Philadelphia 76ers rookie Ben Simmons’s jersey combusted as he was fighting for a rebound.
The new authentic NBA jerseys are partially made from recycled materials are said to dry 15 percent faster than the Adidas jersey, which was also known to tear on occasion.
There have been no known instances of fans purchasing souvenir jerseys that ultimately ripped, according to ESPN.
Nike had a similar problem in 2012 when the apparel giant began making the NFL jerseys. The issue was not with durability, but rather some of the larger football players complained that the shirts were unflattering.
‘I hate them,’ former San Francisco 49ers guard Alex Boone told The Wall Street Journal. ‘They are built for thin guys. It makes me look like I have big old love handles.’
Simmons’s jersey was nearly torn off completely while the 76ers rookie fought for a rebound