Nike finally admits the new NBA jerseys are a problem, and they're working to fix it

LeBron James’ new Nike jersey didn’t even make it through his first game.

Nike’s new NBA jerseys found themselves at the center of the basketball universe once again, and not in a good way. As the Cleveland Cavaliers melted down on Sunday, a frustrated Kevin Love ripped his jersey in half as if it were the third piece of his tearaway warmups. It was the emblem for all that is wrong with the Cavs, until LeBron James posted the Arthur Fist meme to his Instagram account.


So, it should come as no surprise that Nike has finally conceded the new jerseys need altering.

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“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,” a statement from the company to ESPN.com said. “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.”

The Nike jerseys have been a problem almost since their introduction, most notably when face-of-the-company LeBron James’ jersey ripped between the numbers on national TV on opening night.

Even before then, the number on Los Angeles Lakers guard Tyler Ennis’ jersey tore clean off, and the collar on Denver Nuggets forward Nikola Jokic’s jersey split during the preseason. In the weeks since, Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green’s jersey was shredded in a dustup with Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, and Philadelphia 76ers rookie Ben Simmons’ jersey practically exploded.


Nike ended a decade-long jersey partnership between the NBA and Adidas by more than doubling the previous sponsorship deal with an offer that will cost the company an estimated $1 billion through 2025. That bill might have just increased, given that Nike will have to replace jerseys across the league.

And if you’re a fan who just purchased a new Nike jersey, well, maybe don’t wear it to your next pickup game, unless you want that guy who always grabs a fistful of mesh in the post to tear it clean off you.

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Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!