The Mad Science Behind Nike's NBA Uniforms – Nike News

This mission was top of mind when Nike’s partnershipwith the NBA was cemented in June 2015. Nike designers went to work immediately building the new uniform with the goal to minimize distractions by keeping the athletes cool, dry and completely mobile — all in an updated sleek look. They had 25 years of institutional knowledge to build on and were approaching a once-every-four-years opportunity to get feedback from the world’s greatest athletes: the Rio games.

There, the players debuted the Nike Vapor uniforms that featured high-performance knit jerseys and shorts built with Nike AeroSwift technology. The kit was Nike Basketball’s most advanced to date. “Still, it was our starting point,” says Parker. “To prepare for the NBA, we had to re-examine every part of that uniform, and we’ve changed pretty much everything since Rio.”  

Nike engineers and designers focused their re-examination on three areas: movement, thermoregulation and fit. In terms of movement, third-party sport researchers gathered data that showed that no athlete moves quite as diversely as a basketball player. During an average game, a player may cover more than four miles with full-speed bursts that last about 1.6 seconds. An athlete can change directions every two seconds, totaling 1,000 per game. Some jump up to 42 times with an average liftoff time of .16 seconds. “Basketball is a game of transition more than any other sport,” says Parker. “A player will go from sitting on the bench to sprinting top speed to jumping as high as he can within seconds.”

To figure out exactly how to create a uniform that would run, cut and jump with each player, as well as to gather information on temperature regulation, the team put in countless hours of rigorous testing, including everything from snag and burst testing to pilling and wash testing, as well as

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