Make sure you're purchasing an authentic piece of sports memorabilia and not a fake when buying your next NBA jersey. Purchasing a jersey from an unauthorized or unofficial NBA dealer can result in you ending up with a counterfeit product that is either a fake or replica of the real jersey. Authentic NBA jerseys are expensive, so learn how to identify differences between an authentic NBA jersey and a fake if looking for a bargain at a live or online auction, pawn shop or through a private seller.
Check the price before looking over and buying an NBA jersey. As of February 2011, authentic NBA jerseys cost in the $200 to $300 range. Jerseys advertised as "new" and priced at $35 to $100 or less are most likely fakes or replicas.
Pick up the jersey and run your fingers over the material. Feel the outside and inside of the jersey. A real jersey feels smooth because it is made with polyester mesh material versus a fake jersey that feels scratchy or rough because it is made out of cheaper material. Look for loose strings or frayed ends coming off the jersey, indicating poorer quality than the material of authentic NBA jerseys.
Check the stitching on the NBA logo patch located on the upper-left portion of the chest. NBA logos are embroidered with different colored layers of stitching on authentic jerseys.The NBA logo on fake jerseys is a sewn-on or heat-applied patch.
Look at the sleeves of the jersey. Team logo patches are stitched onto the sleeves of authentic jerseys versus being embroidered onto fakes. Name and number patches are made of twill and stitched onto or heat-applied to authentic jerseys versus the heat-applied sticker-like decals on fakes and replicas.
Find the size tag on the bottom left side of the front of the jersey. The size of the jersey should appear in thin font on real NBA jerseys versus a wider font on fake jerseys. The size and NBA logo should be the same height and in proportion on authentic jerseys.
Check the fine details. Look at the spelling of the player's name to make sure it is correct and that the name matches the player number on the front and back of the jersey. Check out the team colors to make sure they are correct shade and not faded or distorted. Make sure letters and numbers are aligned. You can identify fake jerseys by such mistakes.
Ask the seller about the jersey's authenticity to test his credibility. If the seller cannot provide information or acts elusive, the jersey is most likely a fake.