How It’s Made: The 2016 NBA All Star Jersey
For the first time in NBA history, the annual mid-season spectacle that is the All-Star Weekend will take place outside of the US, and what better a place to play host than Toronto?
As all fans of the game know, no All-Star Weekend is complete without some serious, and custom, apparel. Someone that might know a thing or two about this topic? Christopher Arena (yes, that is indeed his last name). The Senior Vice President of Identity, Outfitting and Equipment for the NBA, Arena is the guy to talk to if you want to dig a little deeper into how each uniform comes to be, and in this year’s case, how having the annual 65th NBA All-Star Game in Canada added to the process.
Adidas, the official on-court apparel provider, recently unveiled the uniforms and apparel collection in grand fashion. The red and white kits are indeed awesome, with intricate details reflecting Toronto’s famous skyline, the home team Raptors and the multicultural melting pot that is Canada.
From graphic design, to apparel conception, to the development of the actual product line, the process of creating these uniforms takes several months of teamwork and collaboration, ultimately culminating into the nameless and numberless jerseys that can’t be completed until the team itself is announced.
Once fans vote though, the league gets to work on completing the jerseys, producing four to five complete sets per player. However, this doesn’t mean all the hard work and scrambling is done. As is typical, every season usually sees a player or two pulling out of the game due to various injuries. To mitigate this, alternate jerseys are placed on standby for players called in to fill those roster spots. In addition, having the game in Canada hardly makes the process easier, as the NBA team won’t rely on getting goods over the border at the last minute. To prepare for all scenarios, this year the league is going to print a handful of extra All-Star jerseys for players who may not make it on the team by vote, but could be called in in case of emergency.
While this year’s jersey will certainly stand tall against those of the past, Arena is quick to note that, despite differing opinions on its design, it is the players themselves who define the game through their performance. Coincidentally, this year will likely be Kobe Bryant’s last All-Star appearance before retiring, so it’s safe to say that 2016 will be a memorable one in the All-Star pantheon.