Buying a new NBA jersey can be a complicated decision with all the different variants that are now available, but don’t worry were here at Basketball Noise with the ultimate NBA jersey buying guide.
Quick answer is of course to buy the jersey of your favourite player, be that Michael Jordan, James Harden or Steph Curry, but a quick look at the vast array of jerseys available starts to complicate matters. What’s the difference between an association or statement jersey? Should I buy a Swingman or authentic? Nike or Mitchell & Ness? We break down all the terminology below to cut through the Noise.
Current NBA jerseys:
Since the start of the 2017-18 season all NBA jerseys have been produced by Nike. When Nike became the official league outfitter they disregarded the old Home, Road and Alternate naming conventions. This has now been replaced by Association, Icon and Statement jerseys so what does this mean?
Traditionally NBA teams used to wear ‘Home Whites’, this meant that the home team used to always wear their White ‘Home’ jersey when playing in front of their own fans, there was a few notable exceptions such as the Lakers Gold ‘Home’ jersey. Nike rebranded the ‘Home’ jerseys as ‘Association jerseys’ however this change resulted in a key new details, teams could now decide which colour to wear at home and no longer were tied to a ‘Home White’ jersey.
The old ‘Road’ jerseys were also rebranded as ‘Icon Jerseys’. These are the primary colour jerseys that are often most closely associated with teams, such as the Chicago Bulls in Red, the San Antonio Spurs in Black, The Los Angeles Lakers in Gold and the Golden State Warriors in Blue. With the change in naming teams were now free to designate whichever jersey they wanted as a home jersey with several teams such as the Bulls moving their Icon jersey to become their home jersey.
The Statement jersey is the team’s opportunity to make a bold pitch about what the organisation represents, for each team these jerseys are supposed to express the spirit of the current roster. Some teams have used this opportunity better than others with some stand out Statement jersey including the Golden State Warriors ‘The Town’ jersey, the Minnesota Timberwolves lucid lime green jersey and the Denver Nuggets rather nice ‘Mile High City’ jersey that celebrates Denver’s high-altitude geography. These jerseys have replaced the old Alternate jerseys.
One of the most successful additions to the NBA jersey line up has been the addition of the City jerseys, these are a celebration of either the city/town/state where the team resides or notable residents. In previous years some of the most successful city jerseys have been the ones celebrating local celebrities such as the Brooklyn Nets ‘Biggie’ jersey or the Minnesota Timberwolves ‘Prince’ jerseys. Perhaps the most success City jersey of all has been the Miami Heat ‘Vice’ jersey, these jerseys really encapsulate the spirit of Miami and have been so successful that the theme has been carried out over several seasons with White, Black and Pink colourways and a rumoured Blue version for this season. The new City jerseys for 2019/20 season will be released in November 2019.
Last year Nike rewarded the 8 teams that made the playoffs in each conference the previous season with an ‘Earned’ jersey. These were an alternate colourway of that seasons ‘City’ jersey. The headliner was the Miami Heat ‘Pink Vice’ jersey. Nike have confirmed that they will not be releasing Earned jerseys in the 2019/20 season.
Christmas day Jerseys:
When Adidas were the official league provider they made a tradition of Christmas day jerseys, that were worn by the teams unlucky enough to have to play on Christmas day! Nike have so far resisted producing Christmas day jerseys.
Type of jersey:
Once you have decided which NBA jersey you want to buy you know need to decide which type of jersey you want. There are three levels to NBA jersey, and can be classified easily as good, better and best. We have listed the jerseys below however, Ady and James also discuss the jerseys on the Basketball Noise Youtube Channel (click to subscribe). You can see their discussion below, its worth the watch:
Good – FastBreak Jerseys:
The FastBreak jerseys are currently only available in the USA. Produced by Fanatics (the guys that run the official NBAStore) these jerseys are a good entry price point product. The cheapest of all NBA jerseys they are a replica or takedown of the jerseys the players wear on court. Names and numbers are screen printed onto the jerseys and the jerseys generally have a boxier fit with wider shoulders than those worn in the NBA. A perfect product for young kids or new NBA fans.
Better – Swingman jerseys:
Swingman jerseys are the most commonly available NBA jerseys and are currently produced by Nike. They are made from 100% recycled polyester from plastic bottles and come with Nike Connected technology allowing you to download an app on your phone and access exclusive team and player content from Nike. The Player name and numbers are applied using a heat sealing technology and the premium mesh fabric with Dri-FIT technology wicks sweat away from your skin to keep you dry. These jerseys are a lot slimmer than the Fast Break versions and are an extremely close representation of what NBA players wear on court. For the majority of fans these are the perfect way to showcase your fandom!
Best – Authentic Jerseys:
If only the best will do and money is no object you can purchase an NBA authentic jersey, these are exactly the same jerseys as worn on the court but the price tag reflects this, with these jerseys coming in at double the price of the Swingman jerseys. The name and numbers on these jerseys are all stitched with PowerTwill authentic zigzag stitches, they are made with 100% recycled polyester and have the exact same cut with taped neckline and armholes as per the jerseys worn on court by the pro’s.
Hardwood Classic jerseys:
If none of the current generation of NBA stars inspires you to buy a jersey, you can always look back at the rich history of the NBA and purchase a throwback jersey.
Currently Mitchell and Ness produce all the NBA throwback jerseys with a plethora of options. They follow the same naming convention as the Nike jerseys when it comes to types with both Swingman and Authentic jerseys and shorts being available. These can be easily identified by the hang tags in the bottom right hand corner of all jerseys.
Mitchell and Ness Swingman jerseys:
These bad boys are a near perfect copy of your old favourites, featuring a who’s who of former NBA greats they have a superb range of players and teams from the NBA’s glory years. The jerseys themselves are high quality mesh body, with printed twill logos, names and numbers. You can tell a genuine Mitchell and Ness jerseys by the woven name and year ID patch in the bottom right hand corner of every jersey.
Mitchell and Ness Authentic Jerseys:
These are the embodiment of the Mitchell and Ness values, Premium, Legendary and Authentic. They are of extremely high quality and are as close to exact replicas of your hero’s jerseys as is possible. Mitchell and Ness painstaking look to recreate every detail from the original including matching colours and materials, and properly stitched names and numbers. The authentic range also includes the GOAT Michael Jordan! As his jerseys are not available in Swingman version.
How to spot a fake:
There are now hundreds of fake NBA products flooding the market, to keep yourself safe from counterfeit goods always buy from a reputable dealer such as:
Pro Direct Basketball
To help you spot fakes please see our details shots below of all the labels that should be present on Nike and Mitchell and Ness Swingman jerseys.
- Mesh Body
- Single Layer printed twill logos, names and numbers
- Woven label name/year ID Patch