Nike is looking into why LeBron James‘ jersey didn’t fare as well as the Cleveland Cavaliers did on opening night. The Cavs defended their Eastern Conference championship against the rival Boston Celtics at home on Tuesday, with James overcoming an ankle injury to play against Kyrie Irving and the Celtics.
But his jersey tore apart near the end of the game, which caused Nike to launch an investigation into exactly what happened. ESPN synergy expert Darren Rovell reported late Wednesday that Nike is “extensively reviewing” why James’ jersey split between the 2 and 3 on the back on opening night.
This is Nike’s first season as the exclusive supplier of uniforms for the league, so it’s a bad look for the jersey of the most popular player in the league — who has a lifetime deal with the company — to malfunction that badly.
When Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown grabbed at James’ jersey while defending him, the jersey tore, separating the Nos. 2 and 3 on the back of his Cleveland Cavaliers uniform. The NBA’s Last 2 Minute report, issued Wednesday evening, said that Brown should have been called for a foul on the play.
Nike would probably be a bit less worried were it just a matter of rough play causing a tear here, but as Rovell noted, this isn’t the first jersey malfunction they’ve seen so far.
Then again, LeBron has a history of ripping jerseys. Maybe it’s the player, not the brand.