The Lightest NBA Jersey Ever

by September 22, 2010

by Kyle Stack / @KyleStack

The days of NBA fans making Patrick Ewing sweat jokes could live on forever. adidas, the official manufacturer of NBA uniforms, has made sure there won’t be an heir to Ewing’s sweat-prone throne. The NBA Revolution 30 jerseys, marketed as the lightest and most technologically advanced NBA uniforms ever, were unveiled today at the NBA Store in midtown Manhattan.

The event began close to 11 a.m. EST on a side street next to the NBA Store where Magic center Dwight Howard, Nets center 22Brook Lopez, Nets guard Jordan Farmar and Knicks forward Wilson Chandler, in full uniform, unloaded the first set of Revolution 30 jerseys out of an armored truck. All 30 NBA teams are slated to wear the uniforms, which are 30 percent lighter and dry twice as fast as previous jerseys.

The significance of the day wasn’t lost on NBA officials. “It means a lot,” said Sal LaRocca, Executive Vice President of NBA Global Merchandising. “It means we’ve gotten to the point where we finally have a global uniform partner in adidas that can bring the best technology to us.”

After the players unloaded product from the truck, they posed for pictures in front of the truck and then in front of the NBA Store on 5th Avenue. Once that wrapped up, they made their way into the store and downstairs to center court for a press conference to officially introduce the uniforms.

The Evolution 30 jerseys are made from 60 percent recycled materials and feature adidas’ Formotion technology. The technology reduces seams, decreases friction between the garment and the player’s skin and enhances a player’s movement through a lighter, drier uniform. The uniform absorbs the sweat and makes it evaporate at a faster rate so that the player wearing it can stay cool. Travis Blasingame, the Basketball Apparel Global Business Unit Director for adidas, explained how that works.

“Envision this: If I have a glass of water and set it on a table, the water in that glass won’t evaporate,” Blasingame said. “But pour the water across the table and it will evaporate faster because it’s covering a larger surface area. If we can get that moisture to spread over a larger surface area of the uniform, there’s more air that can dry the sweat faster.” Blasingame noted that CLIMACOOL fabrics in the uniform absorb moBrook Lopezisture in less than three seconds; older uniforms used to do that in 25 seconds.

Chandler was optimistic about the change in gear. “I think it’ll be great for us, just to be able to move around without being so sweaty.” Lopez added that he is “looking for any advantage I can get, especially running up the floor.”

Farmar noted that he also felt a distinct difference. “It’s breathable,” Farmar said. “It’s a lot lighter. The numbers are breathable as well. Places where it got hot and bulky at times…you don’t feel it now.”

Whereas most products adidas makes for the NBA take 18 months from start to finish, this project was four years in the making. Blasingame pointed out that adidas first tested the uniform in Orlando three years ago. More recently, adidas had players at last February’s NBA All-Star Game in Dallas give the threads a trial run for the game.

Chris Grancio, adidas’ Basketball Head of Global Sports Marketing, said the Revolution 30 jerseys are a prominent example of the technologically-forward relationship shared by adidas and the NBA.

“I think it’s a huge milestone for our brand,” Grancio said. “It also builds on the long tradition of NBA innovation from adding LED lights around the backboard to instant replay. All of these things are ways technology has been integrated into the NBA game. We’re happy to play one pDwight Howard & Brook Lopezart of that, to bring technology to the players on the court.”

adidas will take measures to ensure the players are happy with the new uniforms. The company is always in contact with team equipment managers throughout each season to listen to any issues players have with any form of gear.

“We’re always engaged with the equipment managers, hearing their feedback, getting their complaints [from players],” Grancio said.

Blasingame said that durability also played a significant role during the uniform development process. “Originally we went with a no-sew application on the mesh numbering system, but we ended up having to tack it down because of the durability.”

With a stronger sense of durability and a lighter, drier feel, NBA players will likely no longer change uniforms at halftime, as they have in the past. And Patrick Ewing will remain the butt of all those sweat jokes.