LeBron James announced he would be wearing number 23 for the Cavaliers this season at a seemingly random time on a Sunday afternoon, but his decision set off an immediate frenzy of activity at a manufacturing plant tasked with cranking out as much merchandise as possible.
When the game’s best player and regular leader in jersey sales changes teams, the league’s outfitter needs to be ready. And it appears that they were, because as soon as LeBron posted his number of choice to social media, the machines at an adidas plant in Indianapolis — all of them — began to be prepped to go into heavy production.
Shortly after 1 p.m., James got the message out on social media (he also tweeted it) that he has chosen to wear No. 23 next season and, within minutes, Adidas officials confirmed they were setting up all 20 printing machines at the company’s Indianapolis licensing unit to crank out James replica jerseys and T-shirts bearing the player’s name and number. …
The presses in Indianapolis were running off James gear by 6 p.m. Normally, this time of year, the Indianapolis Adidas plant would be printing about six different runs, including general NBA merchandise, college football and Major League Soccer items. In addition to those things, local plant officials said items for two international soccer teams—Argentina and Germany—and World Cup soccer items had to be set aside to focus on James shirts and jerseys.
This week marked the first time the entire Indianapolis plant was dedicated to making items of a single player since Brett Favre joined the Minnesota Vikings in 2009.
The report also states that the product will begin shipping as early as Monday and Tuesday to more than 140 accounts, and that adidas has another eight presses in Iowa and five more in Cleveland working on this very same project.
Now that the number has become official and the manufacturing has kicked into high gear, it’s safe to say that fans should once again be able to purchase LeBron James jerseys sometime soon, after the initial allotment was all sold out.
And here, apparently, is a shot of the freshly-printed jerseys on the assembly line.
The LeBron jersey assembly line at Adidas facility in Indianapolis pic.twitter.com/QrpQ4k4pgu
— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) July 28, 2014