SBD/July 21, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

On A First-Name Basis: NBA Preps Jerseys Sans Surnames For Christmas Games

Jerseys featuring player first names will
be available beginning Nov. 14
The NBA will use its slate of Christmas Day games this year to "roll out a set of newly styled jerseys" that feature players' "first names on the back of the uniform, placed below the players' numbers," according to John Lombardo of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The front of the jerseys for the second straight year "will feature teams' logos instead of their city or team marks." However, unlike in '13, this year's Christmas uniforms "will be teams' traditional, tank-top style jerseys." NBA VP/Identity, Outfitting & Equipment Christopher Arena said that putting the names below the numbers "is a way to call additional attention to the change." He added that five games "will be played on Christmas Day" again this year. Lombardo notes while the participants in the games have not been announced, "figure on big-market, big-name teams." The NBA will start selling the first-name jerseys on Nov. 14 (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/21 issue).

I LOVE GOLD! The NBA reportedly is putting gold tabs on the back collar of jerseys for franchises that have won an NBA championship, and ESPN's Jackie MacMullan called it a "brilliant" idea, as "everyone is going to want to go out and buy" the new uniforms. However, Denver Post columnist Woody Paige said, "This is too confusing. Do we include the Lakers' championships they won in Minneapolis?" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 7/16). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "This is ridiculous! You're telling me that a player like Swaggy P (Nick Young) is now going to have championship tabs because the Lakers won championships?" He added, "If you won in Seattle, do you get one in Oklahoma City?" ESPN's Michael Wilbon said the decision was made "in the afterglow of soccer." Wilbon added the idea "can be blamed on adidas," as the apparel company is a "soccer promotion vehicle that wants to make basketball jerseys look like soccer jerseys." Wilbon: "That's all adidas cares about" ("PTI," ESPN, 7/16).
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