NBA Blows Whistle on Counterfeit Merchandise

As Mavs mania sweeps North Texas, merchants are stocking up on gear to help fans show their colors for the NBA Finals.

But the NBA wants fans to stick to buying official merchandise.

The league says counterfeit products cost legitimate merchants as much as $250 million and up to 750,000 jobs per year.

The NBA promises to have experts in North Texas throughout the Finals to work with local law enforcement looking for bootleg gear.

Established merchants such as Academy carry only licensed NBA products.

At the Academy store on Forest Lane in Dallas on Friday, fan Enrique Rendon said he prefers to shop there so he can dress like the players.

"I want the authentic… to what they're wearing," he said.

Other merchants have set up temporary shops along the road to reach fans.

At the corner of Jefferson Boulevard and Hampton Road in Oak Cliff, clerk Steven Funches said all of his products are legal.

"I got a license. Been up to the city. The police have been here. The inspectors have been here, twice. And everybody said I'm good. I'm legit," he said.

Some of his products were not officially NBA-licensed.

Funches said they do not have to be as long as they do not name the team or the NBA.

Customers shopping with him Friday did not care whether he was selling NBA merchandise. They said they were glad to have the products available close to home.

"He's an entrepreneur," customer Carla Williams said. "He sells his shirts, shows support, so that should be all he needs to worry about."

The NBA offers these tips to find authentic, licensed merchandise:

  • Hologram sticker or holographic hang-tag affixed to the merchandise
  • Sewn-in or screen printed neck label identifying a licensee that has been authorized by the NBA to produce “genuine” or “official” apparel products
  • Player and team names spelled correctly
  • No irregular markings
  • Product tags are intact
  • Neck labels are not cut or torn
  • Current NBA branding displayed
  • Team colors displayed correctly
  • Embroidery appears good quality
  • Screen printing not worn or cracked
  • Purchase merchandise from NBA-authorized retail locations, such as the Official Mavericks Team Store and
  • Verify exchange and return policy
  • Try on to ensure sizes are marked correctly
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