I spent four days in New Orleans in February covering the NBA for a New York Times business story. And while I spoke to, and was around, important NBA figures – including Adam Silver – the coolest nugget of information I learned was the NBA’s marketing move of letting South Korean manufacturers “funk up” its NBA gear.
Basically, the NBA gave them permission to change team colors and logos. Sports colors are sacred to Americans, but in Seoul? The NBA knew to let it go. The result is this series of NBA gear that fits the typical Korean pop culture style – bright colors mixed with a somewhat laughable wanna-be black/hip hop thing going on (sorry, though they look cute, I find it a bit amusing to see 98 pounds Korean girls wearing a cap sideways, with grills, and throwing gang signs).
What this means is more Asian youths who don’t know – or don’t care – about the NBA will wear these outfits anyway, because it’s, to use their words, “swag”. It’s a genius move by the NBA, giving Korean pop culture the ok to commit sports sin because it’ll help spread the NBA brand.
I briefly touched on this in an earlier post – the trend of random Korean/Japanese girls who barely speak English, weren’t alive when Jordan played, and are not too into sports, wearing Jordans. They don’t just wear them – they flaunt them. It’s like an image thing to them.
I suspect we will see these Brooklyn caps and Phoenix Suns tees soon.