HomeNBAEwww: NBA Refs to Start Wearing Jersey Advertisements

Ewww: NBA Refs to Start Wearing Jersey Advertisements


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I woke up this morning to some disappointing news: The NBA announced overnight that it has sold advertising space on its referees’ jerseys to a Middle East-based airline. The ad patches will debut two Sundays from now at the NBA All-Star Game and will continue to be worn when the regular season resumes four days after that.

Refs in the G League (a league whose very name is an advertisement for a sports drink) will begin wearing the same ads at the start of the 2024-25 season, and WNBA refs will start wearing them in 2025.

The NBA’s use of the All-Star Game to showcase the debut of the refs’ uni ads follows the model recently set by MLB, whose umpires began wearing advertisements for a cryptocurrency exchange in the 2021 MLB All-Star Game and then kept wearing them in the regular season. That move blew up in MLB’s face when the crypto exchange collapsed and its founder was convicted of seven felonies, leading MLB to scrap the ump ads for 2023. It’s not yet clear if a new ump advertiser will be found for 2024.

In addition to whoring out the refs’ jerseys to the airline, the NBA has also sold the naming rights to its in-season tournament. The tournament and its prize, previously known as the NBA Cup, will now be named after the airline. It’s not yet clear whether the Lakers, who won this season’s inaugural tournament and raised a banner to celebrate their victory, will redesign the banner to retroactively add the airline’s name.

Speaking of the airline: A few years back they had a controversy involving, of all things, their uniforms! As explained here:

For many years, the carrier used country flag pins as part of the cabin crew uniform so that flight attendants could show off where in the world they came from.

Emirates cabin crew represent 140 nationalities, but several years ago, Chinese officials discovered that cabin crew from Taiwan were wearing the flag of the Republic of China, known as the “white sun in a blue sky, and a wholly red earth.”

The flag is controversial because it is used to symbolize Taiwan’s independent governance. The People’s Republic of China has, however, long laid claim to Taiwan, and Beijing frequently takes issue with organizations and governments that support Taiwan’s claim to independence or suggest that the island is separate from the rest of China.

Chinese officials effectively threatened Emirates with sanctions because cabin crew of Taiwanese descent were wearing the “white sun in a blue sky, and a wholly red earth” flag on their lapels.

As a result, Emirates initially asked its cabin crew from Taiwan to wear the flag of the People’s Republic of China, but when crew members objected, the airline then decided just to ditch the flag pins altogether.

Super Bowl Preview Reminder

In case you missed it on Wednesday, my Substack article this week is my annual (and final!) Uni Watch Super Bowl Preview. As usual, it features a slew of deep-cut uni-related storylines and subplots on this year’s big game, plus the annual slate of even deeper-cut Super Bowl uni data from Supe savant Jay Braiman. Clocking in at nearly 3,000 words, it has all the info you need to impress (or just annoy) your friends while watching the game on Sunday.

You can read the first part of the article here. In order to read the entire thing, you’ll need to become a paid subscriber to my Substack (which will also get you full access to my Substack archives). My thanks, as always, for your consideration and support!


Raffle-O-Rama, Day 4

Today is the fourth consecutive day that Bob Andrews has generously sponsored a raffle. Today’s prize is a Uni Watch 25th-anniversary patch.

This will be a one-day raffle. No entry restrictions. To enter, send an email with your mailing address to the raffle in-box by 9pm Eastern tonight. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow.

As for yesterday’s raffle, our winner is M. Shellenberger, who’s won himself a Uni Watch membership card. Congrats to him, and my continued thanks to Bob Andrews for making all of this fun possible.

We’ll have yet another raffle tomorrow, sponsored by a different reader, so come back tomorrow for that.



Can of the Day

Okay, so this is technically a jar, not a can, but the lid is very can-like. Acrobatic water-skiing while drinking fruit juice!

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