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Comprehensive NBA Basketball Jersey Buying Guide


Not all jerseys are made equal, and official basketball jerseys appear to feature some of the most limited usage. No sleeves and thin material makes for apparel that is great for the summer heat, but not much else. Plus, not everyone is a fan of the tank top style. Fortunately, basketball is generally an inside sport, so fans and players generally don’t have to worry about the outside elements when representing their teams.

While there are plenty of brands that make basketball jerseys, Adidas is the official jersey provider for the NBA. They reached an 11-year agreement with the league in 2006 and replaced Reebok as the official supplier of uniforms and apparel. Therefore, if the NBA jersey you are interested in is not made by Adidas, and is not a throwback or vintage jersey, it is best to steer clear.

While the basketball jersey has long featured the same basic design, a relatively new phenomenon is the short sleeve jersey. The Golden State Warriors were the first team to debut this new design in-game in 2013 . Despite covering more of the body, they are actually 26% lighter than the standard jerseys. Many questioned the logic behind this change, and part of the reason was related to getting more consumers to wear NBA jerseys and presenting more retail options. Although they were met with mixed reviews, Adidas plans to roll them out to as many as five teams in the upcoming season, including the Los Angeles Lakers. The image shown to the right is the Swingman version for Harrison Barnes.

Adidas Authentic Basketball Jerseys

Outside of game-worn or issued jerseys, which are very expensive and less likely to be worn by the buyer, authentic jerseys are the top option for fans to showcase their allegiances. Although they’re the most expensive, they’re also the highest quality retail option available.

Authentic NBA jerseys are made with 190-gram polyester and include ClimaCOOL® mesh material to help with sweat. While they are manufactured by Adidas, they do not have an Adidas logo on the upper-right front of the jersey like Swingman and replica jerseys do. The numbers and letters included on an authentic jersey are all stitched twill.

Other features of authentic NBA jerseys include an embroidered NBA logo on the upper-left front and an Adidas jock tag above the left hem.

Prices of authentic NBA jerseys usually run between $200 and $300. These are normally the preferred option for framed autographed jersey, due to their premium quality and appearance.

Another key thing to check is the sizing. Authentic jerseys generally come in the following numeric sizes:

  • Medium (44)
  • Large (48)
  • X-Large (52)
  • XX-Large (56)
  • XXX-Large (60)

However, it has become more common to see sizes that fall between the base sizes, such as 46, 50, 54 and 58.

*More authentic jersey images will be added when the 2013-14 jerseys are available.

Adidas Swingman Basketball Jerseys

Swingman jerseys are some of the most common NBA jerseys found in stores. They are a great option for fans who want a jersey that looks good but don’t want to drop big dollars. Costing around $80-130, these mid-priced jerseys offer the best overall value for fans to obtain realistic-looking jerseys for casual use.

Swingman jerseys are made of 100% polyester fabric and come in standard sizes, such as small, medium, large and several extra-large tiers. The team name, player name and numbers all feature sewn-on tackle twill. There are also Performance editions which are made of mesh and designed for more breathability, so the wearer stays cool.

Adidas Replica Basketball Jerseys

It is important to note that replica does not mean fake in the sense that most consumers would view it. Replica NBA jerseys from Adidas are still official jerseys, but they do not include the same quality as authentic or Swingman versions. While they feature good materials and construction, replica jerseys likely won’t last as long as authentic or Swingman jerseys. Like most things, you get what you pay for, and the price for replica jerseys generally falls between $45 and $85. This presents a great budget option for fans.

Made of 100% polyester fabric, the letters, logos, and numbers are screen printed, which is the main difference when compared to Swingman jerseys. The length of the jersey is more cut like a t-shirt as well. Just like the Swingman, replica jerseys showcase an embroidered Adidas logo on the upper-right front of the jersey, and have an embroidered NBA logo on the upper-left side. They also feature standard sizing.

Throwback/Hardwood Classics

Commonly referred to as throwbacks, vintage, retro or old school, Hardwood Classics jerseys offer consumers a trip down memory lane. These popular jerseys are designed to look like the jerseys worn by top players in specific previous seasons. Coming in authentic, Swingman and replica versions, various jerseys are made by Adidas, Reebox or Mitchell & Ness. Understandably, the biggest sellers are the biggest basketball stars. Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson are among the most popular jerseys.

While the vintage term is regularly used in regards to jerseys from Hardwood Classics, be aware that they are still re-makes. True vintage jerseys come from the actual years the jersey was featured and prices and supply can vary greatly.

Adidas Women’s Jersey

As many have realized, the standard men’s sizes do not work for everyone. Although youth sizes have been around for some time, a rapidly emerging market for sports apparel includes female fans. The result is official jerseys with a more flattering cut, designed specifically for women.

At this point, the women’s jerseys fall in the replica price range and quality. The main difference from the men’s version is a larger and more rounded neck, stretch side panels for a better fit and a more tapered cut.

How to Spot a Fake NBA Jersey

An unfortunate part of making almost any online purchase is the possibility for counterfeits. One easy way to combat this is to be knowledgeable about the product you are interested in purchasing. When talking about NBA jerseys, a few key areas can help you decide if the jersey you are looking at is real or fake.

The first thing to note is the price. No one is selling online to lose money. If it is too good to be true, then your expectations should be realistic. Prices should generally fall in line with the ranges listed above. The exceptions would be for players viewed as busts, traded players or when teams completely change their color scheme or team name.

The next thing to look at is the overall quality. The stitching should be tight and not frayed or feature poor craftsmanship. Also, the mesh should not have huge holes. One easy way to distinguish fakes is based on the logos, numbers and letters. When comparing official jerseys to fakes, the fonts are noticeably different. A good practice is to compare the jersey to images where you know the jersey is real. Lastly, don’t buy something where there is no guarantee. Good sellers stand behind their products and will make things right if you are not satisfied.

A lot of confusion arises due to the differences between authentic, Swingman and replica. Much of the time, knockoffs will be listed as authentic or Swingman versions. While it is usually very easy to identify a fake in-person, it can be tough to tell online. Don’t be afraid to ask for additional images if the listed images are not detailed enough or appear to be stock images. A good seller will have no issue sending those. It is also good to check their feedback for instances where they have been accused of selling fakes. Just because they have a few negative comments does not mean they are actively selling fakes. However, if their feedback is littered with negative comments questioning the legitimacy of the jerseys they sell, it might be good to look elsewhere. Unfortunately, many casual buyers do not realize they have purchased fakes so they would be unlikely to leave a negative response.

K-State releases alternate basketball uniforms

It’s not proven that the saying, “Look good, feel good, play good,” is true, but Kansas State is going to give it a go and see if it works on Saturday against Marquette.

Following a 76-58 victory over Florida A&M on Monday night, K-State released a video of alternate uniforms that the team will be wearing against the Golden Eagles. The jerseys are white, with “Wildcats” on the chest in cursive. The outside trim around the shoulders and neck area is lavender, followed by a darker purple.

The top and bottom parts of the white shorts follow the same color scheme, with an old Wildcat logo on the left knee. The alternate uniforms are a throwback to the uniforms K-State wore in the 1970s, including the 1976-77 season when K-State fell to eventual NCAA Champion Marquette in the quarterfinals of the midwest regional in Oklahoma City.

The all-white uniforms are to coincide with the white out for the fans are encouraged to participate in for the 8 p.m. tip against Marquette.

“You’ve got the new jerseys, throwbacks, look incredible,” head coach Brue Weber said after the game against Florida A&M. “I know everyone got excited about the script Cats with football. To me, this is even cooler. Hopefully, people are excited, it’ll be a great opportunity. And lavender shoes, I hope I get some of those.”

The game between the Wildcats and Golden Eagles will be a rematch of the battle between the two schools one year ago in Milwaukee that K-State lost, 83-71, despite being ranked No. 18 in the country at that time.

The upset of the Wildcats was a big story from the game, but even bigger was the outstanding day that Markus Howard had. K-State allowed Howard to drop 45 points on 11-of-17 shooting, including 4-of-10 from the outside. He also hit 19 free throws and grabbed two rebounds.

“We lost last year. We didn’t play well,” Mike McGuirl said. “This year, new team, new game. They’ve got different people, we’ve got a different group we’re relying on. We’re just going to listen to the coaches, listen to the game plan and we’re going to prepare for them the best we can.”

Howard returns to Bramlage for this matchup with some rather impressive outings already this year. He scored 38 against Loyola-Maryland, 40 against Davidson and 51 against USC last week. Howard is averaging 26 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.

Koby McEwen has also been big for the Golden Eagles so far this year, putting up 11.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game this year. He also has had impressive games this year, putting up 23 points, five rebounds and four assists against Purdue, and 19 points, seven rebounds and three assists against Wisconsin.

Five New NBA Uniforms Leak, See Them All Here

Five more NBA leaks over the past twenty-four hours, pretty much all of which due to a jersey being put out for sale too early (which is a good indication that they’re coming out for reals shortly).

Let’s get right to it.

Working in “that’s awesome” order, the Denver Nuggets are going back to their rainbow skyline design, Tweeted out by @NuggetsWave:

It’s a black jersey with white trim around the collar. An updated skyline/mountain scene on the chest with the Nuggets modern wordmark below and player number above in white. The “rainbow” design behind the mountains in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple — a clear nod to the Nuggets old uniforms of the 1980s.

Next, the Milwaukee Bucks with a jersey which I look forward to wearing around the house someday soon:

“Cream City”, in addition to being what I wished was my high school nickname, is a name commonly used by the City of Milwaukee — it’s why the Bucks wear cream, it’s why the Brewers brand new home jersey is cream instead of white. It refers to the cream-coloured bricks used in a lot of architecture in the Milwaukee area.

The Detroit Pistons are carrying on with the “MOTOR CITY” jersey theme…

But at least this time the jersey is in their actual team colours of red, white, and blue. It follows the same design template as their previous MOTOR CITY jersey, which was blue and silver. Thanks to @BadBoysRemix for sharing this photo.

The Portland Trail Blazers are the third in our series of “BLANK CITY” jerseys to leak today, they’ll be wearing another “ripcity” design:

Portland has since officially unveiled their City Edition uniform (they did so while I was half-way through this post… rude).

From the Blazers: “Our design pays tribute to our franchise’s heritage with a retro mash-up of our team’s first two uniforms (70-71 & 71-75) along with some modern accents and vintage colouring.

Finally, the Boston Celtics, who we’d already seen leaked once before but at least now the jersey appears in the proper shade of green:

Chris Paul says refs ‘got me back’ with two delay of game calls against Thunder after untucked jersey fiasco

Sticking to the rules backfires on Paul and OKC just days after he swayed officials to call a delay of game penalty

During the Oklahoma City Thunder’s thrilling overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night, Chris Paul made a savvy veteran move when he alerted officials of Jordan Bell’s untucked jersey as Bell was entering the game. The delay of game violation that the referees called resulted in a technical free throw and possession for the Thunder, which gave OKC the chance to tie the game and send it to OT.

It was a truly puzzling sequence of events, as that call is rarely ever seen in an NBA game. Oftentimes players tuck their jerseys in as they’re stepping onto the floor, which, yes, is a violation of the rule. However, referees typically just let it go. Except this time, when Paul called attention to it, referee Scott Foster blew his whistle and it became a huge advantage for the Thunder, and ultimately won them the game. Paul basked in his smart move after that game, saying, “Yeah, I told them his jersey was untucked. I know the rules.”

Unfortunately for Paul, the delay of game rule does apply to everyone, including his own team. Just two days after that win over Minnesota, Oklahoma City faced the Portland Trail Blazers, where in the second quarter, with the Thunder up 51-38, officials called a second delay of game penalty on the Thunder, which resulted in a technical free throw for the Blazers. The first of the two came in the first quarter, though head coach Billy Donovan said after the game that he’s unsure about the reasoning behind the first call. The second violation was called due to Thunder players, including Paul, stepping onto the court while wearing their warm-ups when checking into the game. During the whole ordeal, Paul could be heard over the broadcast, and he wasn’t too happy about it.

Paul can be heard in the clip above saying, “He’s trying to prove a f—— point, he’s trying to prove a point.” Followed by, “You’re going to be on SportsCenter tonight, good job.”

After the game, Paul found humor in the situation, saying the officials “got me back,” with the two OKC delay of game violations. When asked if he thought that those calls stemmed from what he did during the Minnesota game, Paul tilted his head to the side and said, “what you think?”

“The second one, the explanation was they stepped on the floor with their sweats on,” Donovan said. “I didn’t see it. … As they were stepping on the court they were taking their sweats off. That’s what was said, but I’m going to see. I don’t want to say yes or no, I just want to see. Because I hadn’t had a chance really to see it.”

“He got me, I learned something too, that you can’t have your shooting shirt and your pants on when you’re checking in,” Paul said. “You learn something new, but we won so we’re cool.”

The call didn’t have nearly as much impact as it did during the Minnesota game, and despite the referees sticking it to Paul and the Thunder two days later, it is a smart tactic to use in a close-game situation. Going forward, though, Paul will probably make sure that his team doesn’t give officials the chance to retaliate against him with frivolous violations like that.

Red is the new purple: Sacramento Kings unveil new city jerseys for 2019-2020 season

For the first time in franchise history, the color red will be the dominant color on a Kings uniform for the City Edition jerseys, which the team unveiled Tuesday.

Sacramento Kings fans will be seeing red this season as a dramatic color change will be noticed on the 2019-2020 Nike City Edition uniforms.

For the first time in franchise history, the color red will be the dominant color on a Kings uniform for the City Edition jerseys, which were unveiled by the team on Tuesday morning.

In addition to red as the primary color, this season’s city uniforms also feature baby blue, white and gray. The new red threads will be worn by the Kings during seven home games beginning Saturday, Nov. 30 when Sacramento hosts the Denver Nuggets at Golden 1 Center.

Earlier this season, the Kings brought back the classic royal blue jerseys for select games, complete with a matching retro court to commemorate 35 years of the NBA in the Capital City. The team will continue to play on the classic royal blue court when donning the red uniform.

The Sacramento Kings have unveiled its City Edition jerseys for the 2019-20 season.

The Sacramento Kings have unveiled its City Edition jerseys for the 2019-20 season.

The Sacramento Kings have unveiled its City Edition jerseys for the 2019-20 season.

The Sacramento Kings have unveiled its City Edition jerseys for the 2019-20 season.

The Sacramento Kings have unveiled its City Edition jerseys for the 2019-20 season.

The Sacramento Kings have unveiled its City Edition jerseys for the 2019-20 season.

The new City Edition jerseys replicate last season’s design with “Sactown” across the chest with the player’s number displayed below, but were adorned with powder blue as the primary color scheme.

“The City Edition uniforms were made to represent the Proud Past and Proud Future of our Kings here in Sacramento,” said Sacramento Kings President of Business Operations John Rinehart. “With red as the primary color, they represent that passion and energy that has echoed through our arena and helps celebrate the team’s 35th year in Sactown.”

The Kings are undefeated in their classic royal blue colorway, earning their fifth win of the season with Tuesday’s 120-116 victory over the Phoenix Suns.

The red City Edition merchandise will go on sale at the Sacramento Kings’ team store beginning Wednesday, Nov. 27.

Timberwolves’ new jerseys tailored by two citie

Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey, left, and St. Paul mayor Melvin Carter sport the Timberwolves’ new City edition jerseys. The jerseys, unveiled Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019 at Target Center, honor the two Twin Cities.

The Timberwolves say they’re the only team in the NBA that can call two cities “home.” In celebration of that fact, the Wolves will wear the Twin Cities across their chests nine times this season.

Minnesota unveiled its 2019-20 City Edition jerseys on Wednesday. They’re “element” blue, according to the Timberwolves, although it looks identical to the blue the old Minneapolis Lakers sported. “MSP” — representing Minneapolis and St. Paul — is printed across the chest in a white font, with a white stripe running down the side of the jersey that represents the Mississippi River. On the waist is a logo that features the city’s boundaries signed with the phrase “The Cities.”

Minnesota unveiled its 2019-20 City Edition jerseys on Wednesday. They’re “element” blue, according to the Timberwolves, although it looks identical to the blue the old Minneapolis Lakers sported. “MSP” — representing Minneapolis and St. Paul — is printed across the chest in a white font, with a white stripe running down the side of the jersey that represents the Mississippi River. On the waist is a logo that features the city’s boundaries signed with the phrase “The Cities.”

“They’re amazing,” center Karl-Anthony Towns said. “I think they’re real sleek and clean. I think they’re really sick. I said on Twitter, these jerseys are fire.”

Just as important as the look is the meaning. The jerseys, Wolves’ chief executive officer Ethan Casson said, celebrate “the diversity in both neighborhoods that make the Twin Cities thrive, the great Mississippi River, physically that divides us, but ultimately unites us and all of our communities.”

On hand for Thursday’s unveiling were St. Paul mayor Melvin Carter and Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey. Each embraced the idea of the cities being united. Frey called it “coopertition,” meaning the cities do compete, but also join forces.

Minnesota unveiled its 2019-20 City Edition jerseys on Wednesday. “MSP” — representing Minneapolis and St. Paul — is printed across the chest in a white font, with a white stripe running down the side of the jersey that represents the Mississippi River. On the waist is a logo that features the city’s boundaries signed with the phrase “The Cities.” “When you’re rallying around a common cause, whether that common cause is business or affordable housing or economic inclusion, the truth is you can get a whole lot done if you push each other to excel,” Frey said. “We talk about a river dividing us, and maybe for generations that had been the case, that is not the case now. And the Timberwolves, they are so emblematic of that. They have been working around common causes in both Minneapolis and St. Paul.”

The Timberwolves may play and practice almost exclusively in Minneapolis, but their outreach efforts span the state. Both mayors shared stories of how the Timberwolves have made positive impacts on their communities.

Carter said the Timberwolves are the home team in Minneapolis, St. Paul and the greater metropolitan area.

“We’re proud of this team, and we’re excited for this team to claim us all, as well,” Carter said. “They’re more than just a team that we see on TV.”

The Timberwolves will debut the special jerseys at home Friday, Dec. 13, against the Los Angeles Clippers, but at Wednesday’s unveiling, Carter was already pitching an idea for a future design.

“I want to make a plug for an ‘SPM’ jersey,” Carter joked. “But, we’ll be excited about this one.”

The Lakers City Edition jerseys and merch have officially dropped!

Like the new look? Here’s where you can order the latest Lakers City Edition jerseys.

Last week, the Los Angeles Lakers officially unveiled their new City Edition jerseys. After being inspired by Magic Johnson last year, this year the team’s new unis are an homage to the self-proclaimed Most Dominant Ever (M.D.E., which is on the side of the new jerseys), Shaquille O’Neal. The jerseys have now they have dropped online and are available for fans of the team.

This year’s City Edition Jersey gets the color closer to the gold fans are so familiar with, and as our own Christian Rivas rounded up last week, there are a few other differences between it and the team’s other gold jersey this year:

The Lakers logo across the chest is different than the one they have currently. Unlike the current logo, the one on this jersey has a huge, purple drop shadow with white lettering as opposed to the purple lettering they’ve used throughout their history.

Additionally, the jerseys and shorts have stars on the side panels with the numbers of the players whose jerseys hang in the rafters at Staples Center, including Shaq himself. There also appears to be a touching tribute to the late Dr. Jerry Buss on the shorts, too.

Rockets launch ‘Space City Saturdays’ with new City uniforms

The Houston Rockets launched their “Space City Saturdays” campaign for the 2019-20 season with Saturday’s home game versus Atlanta.

Each Saturday game for the remainder of the season — home and away — will feature the team’s new “City Edition” uniforms. With “H-Town” across the chest, the NASA-inspired white uniform evokes Houston’s historical and present relationship with the U.S. space agency.

The first 3,000 fans at Toyota Center for the Hawks game received complementary rally towels designed to look like the new jerseys, complete with the numbers of Russell Westbrook and James Harden.

According to the team’s website, highlights of the new uniforms include:

  • NASA font for typeface and numbers throughout the jersey
  • Traditional Astronaut ID Tag on the upper right chest
  • American flag on the belt line to celebrate U.S. national pride
  • Side panels of jersey are inspired by the Gemini Program, which helped NASA prepare for the Apollo moon landings
  • Vertical brand identifiers on the shorts to resemble a rocket launch

NASA, which is short for the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, has extensive history in Houston tracing back to the establishment of the Johnson Space Center (then named the Manned Spacecraft Center) in 1961. It was a key support facility in NASA’s quest (ultimately successful) to put a man on the moon that decade.

Vanessa Wyche, deputy director at Johnson Space Center, took the game’s ceremonial “First Shot” shortly before tipoff.

Vanessa Wyche, deputy director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, will take the ‘First Shot’ before Rockets-Hawks tonight. Thinking this is timed for the debut of the NASA-inspired ‘City Edition’ uniforms.

Unlike recent years, these latest City uniforms do not feature Chinese lettering — though that decision was made long before the franchise’s recent controversy involving China.

Similar to the plan to wear the City uniforms each Saturday, the Rockets also have a special “Flashback Friday” theme for nearly all Friday games in the 2019-20 season. In that program, the current Rockets are wearing retro-themed Classic uniforms as part of a 25-year anniversary celebration of the 1994-95 NBA championship squad.

In total, Houston has five sets of uniforms this season. The Rockets brought back their black “Statement” jerseys from last season, while the red “Icon” and white “Association” jerseys were changed to incorporate a new font, modernized side panels, and the inclusion of black as a core color. Those sets and the Classic uniform were released in June.

LA Clippers unveil new City Edition jersey and court

The Clippers City Edition jersey honors the signature style of L.A. icon Mister Cartoon.

The L.A. Clippers have unveiled this year’s Nike City Edition jersey, which celebrates the authentic spirit of L.A. street culture. The City Edition jersey features a LOS ANGELES wordmark in Old English font inspired by world-renown artist, and L.A. icon, Mister Cartoon’s hand-rendered, black and grey designs that became synonymous with L.A. street life and West Coast hip hop culture. The jersey’s color palette is predominantly white and black with hints of blue and red, a nod to Cartoon’s signature style, and Clippers’ core red and blue. Fans can visit to learn more.

The Clippers will first wear the new uniforms at home tonight against the Houston Rockets, as well as 16 other games throughout the 2019-20 season, including on Christmas Day against the Los Angeles Lakers.

“We were inspired by the career of Mister Cartoon, an artist whose work evokes the values of our city and our team: tough, resilient, persistent,” said Gillian Zucker, President of Business Operations. “Mister Cartoon’s style resonates throughout Los Angeles, highlighting the history and diversity of the city, and we believe this campaign does the same.”

“I am grateful that my art is the inspiration for this year’s Clippers City Edition,” said Mister Cartoon. “I am excited to be a part of this west coast movement that the Clippers have started, showing up every day and working hard to achieve success; it’s a great reflection of the city that I love.”

Also, for the first time, a City Edition Court will accompany the jerseys. The court design will feature Los Angeles geography woven into the court’s black apron through lines mapping out the city’s roads and highways, a black three-second area, symbolic of the team’s blacktop mentality, and the LOS ANGELES wordmark at center court.

Get your Dallas Mavericks Nike City Edition jerseys now

The new Dallas Mavericks City Edition jerseys for the 2019-20 season are now at Fanatics. They just went live this morning, so act fast to get yours.

Nike’s line of City Edition jerseys has been awesome from the get-go. Nothing is different this year, because the Dallas Mavericks City Edition jerseys are straight fire.

And you can order yours now.

These obviously look awesome, and they’d make a great gift with the holidays being just around the corner. But if you just want to spoil yourself, go for it – because you deserve it. After all, you’ve been good this year!

You’ll also notice a slew of other City Edition merchandise – like hoodies, t-shirts and hats. Please note that all of these items are schedule to ship no later than December 13. In other words, if you’re hoping to wrap one up and stick it under the tree, you’ll be able to do so.

So really, what are you waiting for? There’s no better way to kick off a long Thanksgiving weekend than with a bold new look like Nike’s City Edition merch.

Happy Holidays and happy shopping, FanSiders!