words // JD

There’ll be a new look for basketball jerseys in 2011-12. “Just like the shoes, basketball game jerseys are getting lighter,” says Eastbay Team Marketing Manager Harold Bone. “And also like the shoes, this year’s basketball jerseys are getting streamlined looks and are built for ventilation.”

“The weight of the uniforms has come down quite a bit in recent years,” agrees Eastbay Team Basketball Buyer Deanna Nikolai. “The materials are lighter and more breathable, so athletes get a lighter fit and feel.”

Lighter apparel generally equates to more speed on the court. While the larger,
baggy-styled uniforms are still in vogue, the construction has gone lightweight with varieties of mesh and moisture-managing fabrics.

Styling continues to evolve in 2011-12. This year’s uniforms feature looks that mimic those cutting-edge designs of professional, top college and international basketball squads.

Here’s a rundown of what’s new and innovative from the top brands:
Nike Basketball Shoes and UniformsNIKE
As the top-selling brand in basketball, Nike continues to push the envelope in performance and style. With top college partnerships and world basketball teams under its umbrella, Nike has opportunity to experiment with uniform styles, fabrics and fits.

“What we’ve seen from Nike’s offering of basketball uniforms is a continued use of moisture-wicking fabrics and a variety of contrasting mesh inserts to offer unique styling,” says Eastbay Team Purchasing Director Dan Nuthals. “They’ve also built women’s-specific models and styles.”

The Nike Hyper Elite Game Uniform was designed with performance and the modern basketball player in mind, says Eastbay Team Sales Manager Scott Jordan. “In the past, thick and heavy materials were used in basketball shorts because they were associated with quality and durability,” he says. “Nike basketball has taken insights from other sports like running and soccer, where performance apparel is typically lightweight, to create an ultra-lightweight and durable game uniform.”

Nike takes into account that most basketball players usually wear baselayer or compression garments for sweat management. The Hyper Elite Game Uniform is designed to be an outer shell that allows more airflow through the laser-cut perforations. The jersey offers a V-neck design while the Hyper Elite Short features Nike Basketball’s “Elite Fit” with a 13-inch inseam — the same fit as the top college and federation team shorts.

The Oklahoma Game Uniform is part of Nike’s On Court collection. The jersey is a double-knit and circular-knit jacquard fabrication (unlike the Hyper Elite, which uses recycled Dri-FIT® polyester). The build provides players with a lightweight, comfortable athletic fit and also creates a
matte/shiny pinstripe pattern that adds styling to
the uniform.

The Colorado Game Uniform is another member of the Nike “On Court” collection. This model is a female-specific design built for speed. The uniform features a sleeveless design, moisture management fabrication, and a sleek, tailored fit.

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adidas Basketball Shoes and Uniforms
ADIDAS
The adidas Pro Team Uniform incorporates the testing and results compiled through athlete feedback at all levels. Side panels are made of ClimaLite® mesh for additional ventilation and breathability. A hydrophilic finish applies a fibrous web of aqueous solution to the fabric base to better enable the jersey to be screenprinted while providing resistance to staining, static cling and wearer discomfort.

“As with some of the moisture-managing fabric, we are experimenting with our screenprinting process to acquire methods and techniques that will better adapt our ink to the fabric allowing for a higher quality customization,” says Eastbay Customization Manager Todd Langseth. “Because each brand’s fabrication is different, we have to adjust our customization process to meet our standard for quality. With adidas products that offer the hydrophilic finish, we have little-to-no issues creating a quality print.”

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Under Armour Basketball Shoes and Uniforms

UNDER ARMOUR

Under Armour’s Undeniable Reversible Uniform stays true to the trend of reducing weight for speed. A four-way stretch construction with reinforced stitching offers athletes a uniform with a bit of give for greater range of motion and durability. Pin-dot mesh comprises the bulk of the uniform for maximum ventilation, while Under Armour’s signature moisture-wicking fabrication pulls sweat away from the body.

To build the uniform, UA uses a cationic polyester — a fiber makeup that allows the screenprinting to hold to the uniform better and retain its color after repeated washing.

“It’s a great uniform,” Nuthals says. “The design is outstanding and the colors really pop. And even though it is reversible, it’s still lightweight.”

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Nike Basketball Shoes and Eastbay UniformsEASTBAY and NIKE

For teams looking for an even more look and style, both Nike and Eastbay are offering high-grade socks to match home-and-away uniforms.

“Players are more style-conscious than ever, and this year’s socks look great and include some pretty decent technology like moisture-wicking fabric, arch support, extra ribbing for support, and left-foot and right-foot builds,” Jordan says.

Nike’s Elite basketball sock is available in nine home-and-away colors. The Eastbay sock, available in 11 home-and-away colors, has many of the same features and can also be customized with a name and/or number.