Authentic vs Swingman vs Replica Jerseys….

How the NBA defines the three categories of jerseys available for retail:


The authentic jersey features the same fabrications and embellishments worn by players on-court but offered in regular apparel sizing.


The swingman jersey includes nearly all the same visuals as an authentic jersey but integrates a consistent performance mesh fabrication and one layer twill wordmark, name and number applications.


The replica jersey is a screen-printed derivation of the jersey that highlights basic inserts and design elements.


4 thoughts on “Authentic vs Swingman vs Replica Jerseys….

  • November 1, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    Love the blog, I have a bunch of so-called “authentic Champion jerseys” Can you provide information for these as what you have provided for the Champion replicas?

    • June 4, 2018 at 3:35 pm

      I’ll address Authentics at some point (only the players that were sold at a retail level, not Procuts or game used)…but not until I finally finish the galleries for the replicas.

  • March 28, 2020 at 8:08 pm

    What’s the diference between replica and swingman jerseys? Champion used to make Swingman jersey? When did swingman start being manufactured? Tks.

    • August 7, 2020 at 1:33 pm

      Champion didn’t make Swingman jerseys, although their Authentics starting around 1998-1999 were becoming such low quality that they should be considered Swingman. Swingman jerseys have name and numbers that are sewn on, but the fabric isn’t layered/stitched together. So for instance, a team name might have three layers of tackle twill fabric, each a different color to create an outline look. On an authentic jersey, the logo would be three separate pieces of fabric sewn together. A Swingman jersey cuts some corners and uses one piece of fabric with screen printing on it to mimic several layers and to mimic the sew lines. So it’s one layer twill for the logo, number and names. Also, the fabric and construction is lower grade than an authentic and consistent across all jerseys (where as the construction of authentics will vary by team specifications). The Swingman was created by Nike in 2000 and officially hit retailers around Christmas 2000. At the time, the NBA licenses were split between Nike, Puma and Champion. Champion had the exclusive replica license, meaning it was the only brand allowed to make the replica jerseys for all teams. At the time, the demand for replica jerseys was decreasing while the demand for authentic was increasing (people wanted better quality…mainly because of Mitchell & Ness). But the price point on Authentics was quite steep, so Nike figured a a way to get a cheaper high quality jersey to market (the Swingman) while getting around the exclusive rights that Champion had on producing replicas. Brilliant move by Nike


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