NBA, adidas unveil jerseys for new season
In his blue and white striped shorts and jersey, 6-11 Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard waved his hand, pointed his finger and gestured to himself as he mimicked his friend and comedic counterpart, retired NBA star Charles Barkley.
Howard tilted his head and spoke with a loud and higher-pitched voice.
“Listen, everybody. Listen. If they had these jerseys back when I played I wouldn’t have ate all those donuts from Krispy Kreme,” Howard said Wednesday in front of a laughing and applauding audience at the NBA store on 5th Avenue. “But the new Revolution 30s, that’s what they call them. The new Revolution 30s will make me faster. I’m gonna lose some weight for y’all this summer. And Dwight asked me to wear a shirt and tie to every games, but I’m gonna wear the jersey.”
Howard was there with NBA and adidas to launch the new Revolution 30 jersey, a sleek eco-friendly uniform designed with lighter fabrics to help athletes play better.
“This has been a long labor of love. It’s really for us the heart and soul of what adidas is about,” said Chris Grancio, head of global sports marketing for adidas Basketball. “We pledged to bring that heritage and innovation to the NBA.”
The new NBA Revolution 30 jersey is designed to be tighter and cooler to give players a comfortable fit for both flexibility and temperature. Its “Climacool” fabrics help heat escape through ventilated mesh, adding breathability to the jersey and allowing players to maintain cooler body temperatures while playing.
The new Revolution 30 is also 30 percent lighter than the older NBA uniforms, which allows it to “dry twice as fast as previous NBA uniforms,” according to a press release.
Not only do the new jerseys help the player, but they also help the environment. The uniforms are made from 60 percent recycled material, which Travis Blasingame, head of Global Basketball Apparel for adidas Basketball, said is part of the company’s goal as they approach the 2012 Olympics.
“One of our big initiatives coming into the 2012 Olympics is a whole green movement,” said Blasingame, whose Portland office includes bins for recycling in every room and copies of an environmental audit book. “It was a big task with a big push from our end as well.”
The company spent four years working on the jerseys and tested over 200 NBA players, including Howard. During the 2010 All-Star game in Phoenix, Howard wore a custom jersey that gave him an unusual boost for a center.
“If you remember the game, I made a three. I shot two, only made one so it helped,” Howard said of his 50 percent shooting from 3-point range during that game.
Howard tested the jersey whenever he had the opportunity and provided a lot of feedback, Blasingame said.
Howard wasn’t the only player to notice the difference. New Jersey Nets guard Jordan Farmar also appeared at the event to demonstrate the new jerseys and said it was definitely an improvement.
“The old jerseys were a lot heavier. The numbers were a lot more bulky,” said Farmar, who was also joined by Nets teammate Brook Lopez and Knicks’ guard Wilson Chandler.
With the NBA season fast approaching and the jerseys shipping out to all 30 teams, adidas will now look to share the technology with other sports. Because of adidas’ relationship with other leagues such as the Major League Soccer in the U.S. and the various football clubs and federations in Europe, the move should be easy, Grancio said.
The World Cup already integrated similar thermal-controlled jerseys this past summer.
Blasingame said the company will also continue to seek feedback from the younger athletes. The company has an adidas Nation, which includes top high school athletes from around the country, and Blasingame stays in contact with the next generation to make improvements on the products.
“In order for things to be performance-driven, you gotta evolve,” Blasingame said. “The jersey from where it is now has to evolve.”
Grancio agrees. With the Olympics approaching and the green movement continuing, there’s room for improvement and evolution across the board, he said.
“We’ll never stop innovating. It really is part of our brand. We’re going to continue to look for new ways to continue to provide products that help athletes move quicker, be lighter, be faster,” Grancio said.