After the embarrassing incident where Lebron James’ jersey got ripped during the season opener between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics, Nike is on damage control mode.
The 28-billion-dollar shoe and apparel company signed an eight-year deal with the NBA for exclusive rights to the jersey of professional players. The deal was reportedly worth about $1 billion although there’s no official confirmation yet from both parties.
Prior to Nike, it was rival Adidas, which has been suiting up NBA players since 2006. The German company had issued a statement that it is not going to extend its contract with the professional basketball organization.
In a statement, Nike said they are investigating the ripped jersey incident. “We are obviously very concerned to see any game day jersey tear,” it said. “And are working with the NBA and teams to avoid this happening in the future.”
It was not the first time that the Nike jersey got ripped. In fact, during the preseason game between the Washington Wizards and the Los Angeles Lakers, Canadian basketball player Tyler Ennis’ jersey got torn after it was grabbed by Wizards point guard Aaron Brooks to prevent a fast break.
However, the incident did not get enough press because first, it was the preseason; and second, it was Ennis and the Los Angeles Lakers, instead of being the best player in the league and one of Nike’s most expensive endorsers.
On the season opener, James jersey got ripped when Jaylen Brown grabbed at it in the effort to guard the 6-8 burly forward. The tear separated the numbers 2 and 3 at the back of the jersey. Nevertheless, it was auctioned off by the NBA as part of its contribution to the hurricane relief efforts. Evidently, fans have no issue with the ripped jersey as it fetched over $10,000.