When did ADIDAS make NBA Jersey’s?


Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

We’ve all been there, mouse hovering over “add to basket” and suddenly you think, wait! Were ADIDAS actually supplying NBA jersey’s when Chris Paul was a rookie? Is this jersey real? Below I hope to answer some of those questions and give you a brief history of when ADIDAS supplied NBA jerseys.

When did ADIDAS make NBA Jersey’s? The simple answer is that ADIDAS took over the contract to supply NBA Jerseys for the start of the 2006/07 season. This had previously been held by Reebok. ADIDAS would be the official manufacturer for all NBA team’s jerseys until the end of the 2016/17 season when the contract would pass to Nike for the start of the 2017/18 season.

But wait! Isn’t Reebok part of ADIDAS? Didn’t Nike supply NBA Jerseys already? Doesn’t each NBA franchise decide who manufactures their jersey? For expanded answers on all the above keep reading.

Do NBA teams choose who makes their jerseys?

Unlike many other sports, such as European Soccer, individual teams – franchises – do not get to put out to tender for the manufacturer of their jerseys. This is a way many teams in other sports bring in revenue. Being the exclusive manufacturer of all Liverpool FC kits globally and having your logo on the athletes as they perform is quite big business and worth paying for. However, in the NBA this is not the case. The contract to produce NBA jerseys – both for in game and replica sits centrally. The jersey contract is negotiated by the NBA and all teams and players have to fall in line, despite any personal allegiance or preference. Like many things in the NBA this is so the revenue the league generates can be shared more equally between all franchises, no matter the size of the market they are based in.

Was ADIDAS the first sole supplier for all NBA teams’ jerseys?

ADIDAS was not the first sole supplier of all NBA teams’ jerseys. From the 1991/92 season Champion supplied all NBA jerseys. This lasted until the start of the 1996/97 season when brands like Starter, Puma, Nike and eventually Reebok muscled in on the act. Champion would drop out completely at the end of the 2001/02 season. Reebok took on sole rights for the start of the 2004/05 season but only managed a couple of seasons before ADIDAS came in and took control. From the 2006/07 season ADIDAS were the sole manufacturer of all teams NBA jerseys bringing in many innovations in the design, style and marketing of them. Nike finally took control at the start of the 2017/18 season and for the first time in their history, the brand most heavily associated with Michael Jordan, became the sole supplier of all NBA jerseys.

Are Reebok and ADIDAS the same company?

Yes! In 2005 Reebok was purchased by ADIDAS-Salomon for $3.8 billion. This merger united the 2nd and 3rd biggest global sporting shoe and apparel companies in a bid to close the gap on market leader Nike. It has had mixed success, with Reebok now focused mainly on the fitness market after losing a big NFL contract in 2013. This merger immediately preceded the change in sole jersey manufacture contract rights with the NBA from Reebok to ADIDAS. This change came before the 2001 contract with Reebok was officially up. The new deal, estimated to be worth $400 million, extended the 10-year contract that would have expired in 2011 to run through the 2016/17 season. A shrewd move by ADIDAS as they looked to consolidate their brands relationship within the Basketball world.

Why did the contract to supply all NBA team jerseys move to Nike?

In 2015 it was announced that Nike would become the sole supplier of all teams NBA jerseys from the start of the 2017/18 season. The contract had previously sat with ADIDAS, who had backed out of the bidding process for the new contract when it became apparent that Nike were looking to pay the NBA around $125million a year, almost double wat ADIDAS had previously been paying. The contract is set to last 8 years, but expect it to last longer. Nike is the dominant producer of sporting shoes and apparel around the globe. They are synonymous with NBA greats like Michael Jordan and Lebron James, they own similar rights for Team USA, the WNBA and the D League – not to mention the NFL. It was reported that rapid up and comer Under Armour were Nikes potential rivals for the contract. The bidding came before Under Amour athlete Steph Curry exploded the NBA with his slick handles and dagger 3’s on the way to 2x League MVPs and 5 back to back finals appearances. Perhaps if it had come a year later Under Armour would have been braver and potentially won the contract. For now we have Nike and the memories of the great jerseys ADIDAS supplied us within the past.

Louis

I fell in love with Basketball when I was about 9 years old. Since then I have played on, coached and organised many teams. I've followed the NBA ever since. With no home team I've always rooted for teams and players I like the style of. The last 2 decades that's meant Greg Popoviches Spurs for the most part. My favourite NBA podcasts are The Lowe Post, Open Floor and The Ringers "The Mismatch".

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