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How to spot FAKE JERSEYS like a PRO!

June 29, 2021 7 min read

How to spot FAKE JERSEYS like a PRO!

This topic is one that gets me going sometimes. You see these knockoff jerseys everywhere. Anything that's of value is gonna be knocked off in this world. You see it with purses, you see it with shoes, you see it with jewelry, and you name it. It's been done and of course it happens with NBA, NFL, and MLB jerseys. I mean really any sport it happens with. Today we're going to talk a little bit about why you should always buy an officially licensed jersey and then the second part we'll talk about is how you can spot a fake one so you don't buy one of those.

First off let's talk about why you should not buy a knockoff jersey. Well number one, while I believe it's not technically illegal to buy one, I am sure it’s illegal to sell them, so I try to stay on the right side of the law. I would suggest that to you, but that's entirely up to you on how you want to handle that. Number two here is the quality just sucks. It's terrible. Why would you spend quality, hard-earned money on an autograph item, and have it be on a crappy item? That just doesn't make any sense to me. I know why people do it because they want to save a few bucks here and there but the official license jerseys aren't that much more and if you own the jersey for 20 years. It's really just a couple bucks a year. It's not that big of a deal. It's basically like your mom's meatloaf, the quality just sucks. It's not good, so get a nice steak dinner for your jerseys. What I mean by that is get a nice officially licensed jersey. You'll love the quality.

The third reason is you're only buying this jersey once. So again, like I said, if you own this jersey for 20 years before you maybe sell it or you give it to someone else or whatever you decide to do with it, you spend an extra $100 on the jersey and it's basically just a couple bucks a year. It's not that huge of investment. Now if we were talking about five, six, or seven hundred dollars extra for a jersey, yeah I can see maybe we have a little issue there, but it's really just an extra 50 - 70 bucks sometimes. It's not that big of a deal.

So now that we got that completely out of the way you guys can decide what you want to do with that information. Let's talk about how you can spot one of these fake jerseys. So first off is the price. Now this isn't a guaranteed way to spot one, they've gotten smarter, they've been selling these fake jerseys for the same price as the real ones, so that's something you've got to be careful about, but typically in most cases they are way cheaper than the officially licensed ones. You're talking 30 to 40 dollars where the official licensed jersey I believe the retail is $120 on those. So you're looking at about $100 price difference, but again they are selling them for the same price now trying to trick you so it's just something to keep in mind.

The second thing is where you buy your jersey. Now if you're gonna go to eBay and try to buy a jersey, I'm guessing 95 of them are no good. You're buying them from some guy with 10 feedback in Taiwan and he says it's an official license one, blah blah, I don't care what he says this is not real. For $35 or $40 shipped to you from a country far away, use your head, it is not real. Why is it coming from Taiwan? Why wouldn't it come from here? Think about it, use your head. My suggestion to you is when you're buying your jerseys, buy from places that you think, “Oh wow, these people might actually have a wholesale license with Adidas and Nike to buy these jerseys.” Places like Fanatics, places like Dick's Sporting Goods, even your local sporting goods place. For example here in Kansas City we have Rally House and they have seven or eight stores here. Logically you think there’s a good chance it's an officially licensed jersey, so they probably have a license to buy these. So that is something I would think about, where you are buying it from. Again, buy from reputable places like MLB's website, NFL's website, NHL’s website. Those are good to go. Just be careful on those websites though. A lot of people will make a fake website that's very similar to that, so go directly to the website. Don't type into google. Just go directly to nflshop.com or whatever the website is or NFL.com. They'll have a link to it. Go directly there, that way you're going to the real site.

The third thing you want to look at is the stitching. Typically on a fake jersey the stitching is very poor. It's like if you stitch the jersey for your first time. They don't clip it right, it’s got loose edging everywhere, the stitching isn't even, it's all over the place, and it looks like junk. That's one of the biggest things you can see is usually the stitching is just frayed and it's bad. If you asked yourself “How did Nike like let this jersey get out of the warehouse?” well, the answer is they didn't. It was never in their warehouse. That's why it's a knockoff. It looks like crap. They just had anybody doing these things and that's one of the things you want to look at is the stitching.

Number four, this is a real common one, is the letters are all crooked. So you get for example a Larry Bird jersey. One three will be here and the other three all weird. That's a telltale sign. They're not letting that kind of quality getting out of an official Nike or Adidas factory. It's not coming out like that.

Number five is an obvious one. The player's name is spelled wrong. Now I've seen this all over the place, it's actually quite hilarious, I mean it's not like it'd be that hard to look up the player's name, but if the player's name is spelled wrong yeah that's typically a good idea that it's not a real jersey.

Number six the color of the jersey is wrong. You get like a lighter color usually like on a Celtics jersey. Celtics is kind of, I want to say like a darkish green, it's not a super dark green, but it's a dark green. You'll get one with a very light green color, obviously you're like “wow that color doesn't look right.” There's your answer right there.

Number seven is the inside of the jersey. So if you take the jersey and you open it up and look inside you’ll see how they applied the number on there. It looks like a bomb went off in there. You're like, “What the heck is going on in here? Why does this thing look like this? How am I supposed to wear this so it's not gonna itch my skin like crazy?”  I don't know what they got going on inside there but it if you look at it compared to official license jersey, again I'm no expert on putting jerseys together, but it looks wrong. If it looks wrong, it's probably a fake jersey.

Number eight the logos are off. For example like on the Jerry West NBA logo. The ball and his hand have like the same stitch that goes right to it. It doesn't look separate at all. That's a telltale sign. The logos are always off, that's really a big one too. You can definitely tell with the logos. Also kind of a bonus tip here is just because the jersey has tags on it, those little retail tags, that doesn't make it an officially license jersey. They'll do everything they can to throw these things together to make it look like a real deal. They can get those tags anywhere in china, anywhere. I don't know how they get them, maybe they make their own or they buy them from other places, I don't know, but they can get them anywhere because that's where most of the products are made so those things are readily available over there. So just because it has the retail tags does not make it an officially licensed jersey.

So where are my favorite places to buy officially licensed jerseys? Well I mentioned a couple of them early on. Fanatics is probably the best one. They'll have all your selections in one place. They run the MLB, NFL, and NBA websites and I'm pretty sure maybe the NHL’s too. I may be mistaken on that one, but they run pretty much everybody's website when it comes to officially licensed stuff, including all the colleges too. So go directly there. You can get it from there, it's gonna be a good price, and you're gonna know it's a hundred percent officially licensed. Basketball jerseys you can get from them as well. You can also go to Mitchell & Ness. They make a lot of the throwback ones. They're gonna have official licenses. Once again, those are more way more expensive, probably $300+ depending on who it is, but again official licenses are very nice quality. Of course you can always go to your local retailer. I mentioned Rally House here in Kansas City, but if you find someone that has a couple different stores, they have a license to go ahead and buy these, it's gonna be pretty easy to spot those, they're gonna have a couple retail stores. You'll be able to go in and look at the quality, check all those things that I just mentioned. It’ll be very easy to decide that yup this is a real jersey.

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