Fairweather fans, rejoice! At its All-Star Technology Summit, the NBA revealed a brand new smart jersey that can change player names and numbers through an app. See it in action below:
Buying a jersey is a large commitment for a fan. You’re literally wearing your faith in that player on your sleeve, and if that player gets embroiled in controversy, switches teams, or just flat out sucks, people are going to mock you for it. When this smart jersey comes out, you’ll be able to avoid ridicule by changing your jersey’s name and number within seconds. While the jersey didn’t change color, all you LeBron fans can at least change freely between 23 and 6. Unfortunately for them, it looks like the jerseys are many years away, so who knows where King James will play in the meantime.
These smart jerseys beg several questions. What incentive does the NBA have to sell jerseys that can transform into other jerseys? Unless the smart jerseys are ludicrously expensive to the point where they make up for the sale of individual jerseys, it doesn’t seem to make business sense. Also, will people be able to put whatever names and numbers they want onto the jerseys? Or will they only be able to select from official NBA player and number combinations? In that vein, would it be possible to hack someone’s jersey to say something hilarious or offensive?
When presenting the jersey, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver did not mention Nike at all, which is curious because Nike is the official jersey apparel partner of the NBA. Nike had previously created their own smart NBA jerseys called Connected Jerseys. These jerseys feature patches that offer special content when scanned with a smartphone app, including exclusive shoe drops, courtside tickets, and player highlights.
“Hopefully, I just put Michael Rubin [Fanatics CEO] out of business,” Silver joked.