You’ve probably heard about the new Nike jerseys that every team in the league will wear this upcoming season. However, you may not know what makes them so special and the science behind them.
For starters, the NBA is a completely different league from what it was twenty years ago. Not just in scope or cultural impact but in the way the players play the game. Today, the game is faster, smaller, more fluid, and a lot more spacious. Gone are the days where a guy like MJ would run into a brick wall made out of defenders.
Along with the evolution of play, the player’s anatomy and body types have evolved; it’s one of the main reasons why Nike put so much time into the development of the new uniforms. Designers and engineers focused on three areas: movement, thermoregulation, and fit.
According to Nike, the team gathered data on temperature regulation and put in countless hours of testing including including snag and burst testing as well as pilling and wash testing. Atlas maps, a process that uses digital body scans to determine where sweat zones and contact zones are located, were used to design a uniform in three dimensions.
“You’ll see guys constantly trying to pull their jerseys off of their chest — LeBron does it all the time,” said Kurt Parker, Nike VP of Apparel Design, in a statement. “So, we realized that we needed to figure out a way for the jersey to wick the sweat without it being too baggy or too tight.”
The solution to that problem were tiny nodes placed on the jersey to stop it from sticking. And because the jerseys are constructed from an engineered knit fabric Nike designers were able to program an area on the chest that would allow air flow.
Nike upgraded everything from the materials to the way the uniforms are cut to increase range of motion.
“Typically, players would size up to get more range of motion from their uniforms,” explained Parker in a statement. “But thanks to these maps we were able to streamline the fit by tailoring the uniforms to their need, resulting in the lightest uniform in NBA history.
If you wanted more information on every design detail of the new uniforms, head over to Nike Inc.
The Nike NBA Association Edition and Icon Edition uniforms launch September 29 on nike.com/nba while the Statement Edition uniform will drop on November 20.