In their first year of a jersey deal with the NBA, on opening night, Nike’s biggest endorser and sponsored player Lebron James’ jersey ripped right down the middle. During the game between the Cavaliers against the Celtics on Tuesday night, poster child Lebron James’ jersey ripped after Celtics guard Jaylen Brown grabbed at James’ jersey while guarding him. Nike was able to outbid Adidas this year to win the rights to be the league’s exclusive official uniform supplier. This eight-year contract between the League is worth approximately $1billion. The huge malfunction towards the star player who holds lifetime sponsorship with Nike turned heads towards the company and their claim for high quality products.
Although Nike claims that “quality is of the utmost importance”, previous reviews about their material and sizing for bigger NFL players claims otherwise. Nike was also scrutinized in 2012 over their NFL uniforms which were not properly designed for the bigger players due to their discomfort and tightness.
This is not the first time Nike’s NBA jersey ripped. Within less than a month ago on October 1st during a preseason game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Timberwolves, Lakers guard Tyler Ennis’ jersey tore between the two numbers on the back of his jersey. Following that, Nikola Jokic suffered a similar fate during the preseason games.
This may have just been an odd occurrence, until it befell upon Nike’s sponsored player Lebron James. Nike may argue that they may not be at fault since they don’t hold sole responsibility of making the jersey. Nike is only responsible for making the materials and providing the squads with blank uniforms. The custom stitching of the numbers and letters are done through the team’s chosen vendor. The question of Nike’s breach of contract for making high quality products arises once again after the third occurrence of their wardrobe malfunction. On Friday, during the Golden State Warriors game against the Washington Wizards, player Draymond Green’s jersey was torn after he and Bradley Beal were entangled in a brawl. The tear could be dismissed as the result of the brawl or it could be because of the poor manufacturing by Nike which cause the jerseys to rip too easily. As their first time contracting with the NBA’s season games, Nike’s $1billion deal may call for a thorough review of the contract to hold Nike liable for meager manufacturing.