Nike making changes to jerseys in wake of series of tears

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First, it was the Lakers’ Tyler Ennis and the Cavaliers’ LeBron James on opening night. Then Ben Simmons. Then Kevin Love — although he did it to himself.

Every one of those players had a torn jersey this season. For Nike, which took over the NBA apparel contract this season (an eight-year, $1 billion deal), it has been an embarrassment. Now the company is doing something about it, they said in a statement released to Darren Rovel of ESPN. Here is the core of the statement:

“Nike has always put the athlete at the center of everything we do and we have worked hard to create the most advanced uniforms in the history of the NBA. They are lighter and deliver great mobility and sweat wicking characteristics, and the feedback from players has been overwhelmingly positive. However, during gameplay we have seen a small number of athletes experience significant jersey tears. We are very concerned to see any game day tear and are working to implement a solution that involves standardizing the embellishment process and enhancing the seam strength of game day jerseys. The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance and we are working with the NBA and teams to avoid this happening in the future.”

These were not just little tears of the jersey, they came apart like an old-school football tear-away jersey. The tugs that start the tears have not been overt, but rather the kind of physical thing seen every game, for example, the tear of Simmons jersey was just him fighting for rebound positioning.