Did the NBA sell its soul?

Have you ever watched a soccer game and said, “God, I just love how those jerseys show off the sponsorship and not the team?” Yeah, me neither.

Do you really want to rock a jersey that has “Jeep” or “Herbalife” in big letters right across the chest? I know I don’t. I’d rather have the team name in the front for everyone to see.

Fingers crossed the NBA doesn’t follow suit of professional soccer, NASCAR, or the WNBA, because starting next season, teams will wear small 2 ½ -by-2 ½ inch patches of a sponsor of each team’s choosing in the upper left corner of the jersey.

Hope you like almonds, Sacramento. (Image source: Twitter)
Hope you like almonds, Sacramento. (Image source: Twitter)

This experiment first took place when the NBA featured a KIA patch to be worn on the 2016 All-Star Game jerseys, the first sponsor other than the league or jersey maker to be seen. I get it – it’s a business, and all businesses need to make money somehow, however, the key here is boundaries.

I hope commissioner Adam Silver does not get carried away here and have jerseys looking like a NASCAR racer’s jumpsuit, covered in sponsorships from head to toe. That would turn the league into a mockery.

Look at soccer and WNBA jerseys – if you’re not the average fan who watches games or follows consistently, you would have no idea who was playing just by looking at the shirt.

As of this week, the Boston Celtics became the third team to finalize a deal for the rights to their jersey. After moving its headquarters from Connecticut to Boston, General Electric will have their logo sewed onto the team’s historic shirts.

The other two teams in the NBA with deals inked are the Philadelphia 76ers with StubHub and the Sacramento Kings with Blue Diamond Almonds. While the Kings and 76ers deals were said to be worth around $5 million respectively, the Golden State Warriors seem to be in la la land on how much they’re worth because we have the actual list:

Apparently, Golden State thinks the rights to their jerseys are valued anywhere from $15 to 20 million per year. If that’s their price, what will the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Los Angeles Lakers/Clippers deal be? I mean, the Cavs have LeBron James, the Lakers are, well, the Lakers, and the Clippers have an owner, Steve Ballmer, who paid an absurd $2.2 billion for his team.

Teams are allowed to sell the logo spot to only one company and for a short period of time, three years, as this new money making experiment is in its beta testing phase.

Now, if you’re like me, who is appalled by these new patches, don’t worry, you can still buy your favorite team or player’s jersey without it. The official NBA Store and website will continue to sell the jerseys without the patch, but if you want to rock the new look then you can buy those at the respective arenas.

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