The Golden State Warriors will unveil yet another new jersey Friday night when they play on ESPN at 6:30 p.m. Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and the defending NBA champions will don the “new throwback” jerseys — “throwback” because they’re the old-style 70s and 80s-era jerseys depicting the state of California, and “new” because they have goddamned advertisements on them.
All of the NBA is now being forced to wear a stupid Nike swoosh on the right shoulder of their jerseys, though Nike does it pretty tastefully and using team colors. But what in the Hello Fresh is on that left shoulder of the Warriors jersey? It’s an ad for something called Rakuten, totally clashing with the uniform’s color scheme and bringing all kinds of fugliness to the Warriors’ uniforms.
Wait, what is Rakuten? I had to Google it. According to Wikipedia, “Its B2B2C e-commerce platform Rakuten Ichiba is the largest e-commerce site in Japan and among the world’s largest by sales. The company operates Japan’s biggest Internet bank and third-largest credit card company (by transaction value). It also offers e-commerce, fintech, digital content and communications services .”
That all sounds evil as hell.
Rakuten apparently paid $20 million a year to put their ad on Warriors jerseys. You saw one version of the new jerseys in Tuesday night’s opener against the Houston Rockets, and you’ll the “old-school throwback” version in tonight’s 6:30 p.m. PDT game against the New Orleans Pelicans. Every NBA team can now sell out five square inches on the jersey’s left shoulder to the highest bidder.
So for $20 million a year, these must be really nice shirts, right? They are not. In the debut game of these new “Nike swoosh plus another stupid ad” jerseys, LeBron James’ jersey got ripped in half during the game. An embarrassed Nike rushed out a statement saying, “The quality and performance of all our products are of utmost importance. We are obviously very concerned to see any game day jersey tear and are working with the NBA and teams to avoid this happening in the future.”
Or maybe it would be nice to see this again in the future. LeBron auctioned off that ripped jersey, raising more than $10,000 for hurricane victims according to ESPN.