September 17, 2017

For Sale At The NBA Store

Have you ever taken a good look at everything that's available at the NBA online store? Probably not, huh? I mean a really good comprehensive deep dive look at anything and everything you can get branded with your favorite team's logo or just the NBA logo in general? I didn't think so. Me either. Like me, you probably think you need a new t-shirt or hat or jersey and go buy that and get out right? Yep, that's what I thought.

Well, in a moment of wonder this weekend I took a more in depth look at some of the merch available on the site and I have to tell you there are some crazy things on there. What do I mean? Washington Wizards nail file? Yes they have that but it's not that crazy. Washington Wizards cheese board with serving stage AND tools? Of course they have that. They actually have three different Wizards branded cheese board and tool sets in the store. But compared to some of the other things they are trying to sell these actually seem like reasonable purchases to make. How about some Washington Wizards toddler girls fake Ugg boots in pink? For sure they have that too but that's not even what I'm talking about. I mean stuff that makes you wonder who would ever buy the item and why they would even make it in the first place.

So from a Saturday morning browse of the NBA Store website, here are ten of my favorites. And yes, I think I looked at every Wizards item for sale on the store.

1. Kevin Seraphin Game-Used Jersey
Among hard-core jersey and memorabilia collectors out there, picking up a game-used jersey, ball, pair of shorts or whatever is clearly a big deal. The actual object used in the game is a hugely important collectible especially if it's an important game that the object was used in. The NBA uses different balls in each quarter of some events during All-Star Weekend so they can auction more stuff off to collectors. And if you want more proof that this stuff is valuable to collectors, just ask Eli Manning, who was accused of passing off non-game-used items to a company selling them as authentic game-used.

This particular item on the NBA Store's website is Kevin Seraphin's jersey from the game three victory over the Toronto Raptors in the 2015 playoffs. It's selling for a whopping $450 (although all the pics on this post are from a 20% storewide sale so there's an opportunity to pick this item up cheaper if you act fast). So let's even say there's a hard-core Seraphin fan out there who wants to be a completist and get the entire available Keveeeeen collectible collection in the world. Is it worth $450? or even the sale price of $360? Before you answer this, keep one thing in mind: Kevin didn't even play in that game. Randy Wittman gave him a DNP - Coach's Decision. This item ain't worth anything close to $360 in my opinion.

2. Washington Wizards Basketball to Duffle Bag
I kind of feel bad putting this item on this list because I know whoever invented this product must think this thing is the nuts, like the best idea that's ever been thought of and it's going to sweep the nation. My question to the folks who green-lighted this product is: what were you thinking and do you understand your market here?

So the basic premise here is that it's a bag but it's also a basketball. Now you can't actually play basketball with it. The bag just folds up into a cloth or vinyl or whatever material the ends of the bag are (see below). I don't quite see the advantage. I mean sure it's smaller so I guess it's easier to store somewhere in the home but if it's just smaller why does it need to look like a basketball. If it's intended that you actually carry it around while smaller, why would you want to carry a faux basketball around with you? Isn't that inherently more unwieldy than carrying a bag that has handles? I'm not sure I understand.

I hope the person who invented this product got paid and I hope whoever approved it got talked to about future approvals. I mean it's not a bad concept I guess. I just see the reality of the application a little lacking in thought. Not spending $40 (or $32 on sale) on this one. I'll stick with my...well, I don't actually own a duffle bag really so there's that.

3. Women's Washington Wizards Red Knit Thong
I'm glad they clarified the women's part of this for us.

I'm all for Wizards branded shirts and shorts and bags and hats and glasses and coolers and pretty much whatever else you can brand. But do we really need Wizards thongs? I thought the point of wearing Wizards branded gear is that you are showing your support for your team and that it gives you an identity that you can maybe share with strangers. Maybe I'm off with that concept and if I am that's fine. It wouldn't be the first thing that I've been wrong about in life. 

But what's the application here? Finding out your girl is secretly a Wizards fan and that she's showing you in a sexy way? I don't understand. Oddly enough, the name Andray Blatche comes to mind when I see this product. Not as a wearer mind you but a purchaser. Like in bulk to hand out or something like that. Let's move on.

4. Washington Wizards Craft Beer Flight
I know I just got done saying I'm all for Wizards branded whatever, but tell me how you actually use this product.

I'm still waiting. And if you are explaining how it's for sampling glasses of craft beers I already know that.

Think about when the last time you ever poured yourself a few glasses of craft beers in small glasses for sampling at home. Have you ever done that? I haven't. So let's say you do anyway and you insist on having a wooden rack of glasses to do so. Do you do this alone or with friends? I'm hoping with friends. If you are alone why not just drink the whole bottle and why put everything in a presentation rack.

As an aside isn't the rack just so you can move the glasses easily from the spot you pour to the sampling table? If it's at home, can't you just have the bottles on the table? I mean it's not like you have four kegs at home is it?

If you decide you really need one of these, don't you really need more than one of these? Assuming my friends theory is correct. And if you do are you really shelling out $70 per set? How often are you doing this to justify that price, even if it is 100% acacia wood? The only application I can see for this product is a Wizards themed bar. And let's face it, there aren't any of those right now. Are there?

5. Washington Wizards 15" x 18" Modern Team Print
I'm trying to think about where to start writing about this one. Let's start with the established date. I'll skip the whole lack of Bullets thing and just the overall appearance of this product and the price and the fact it come in black and white also.

I've written before about the conflict that exists out there when it comes to what year the Wizards franchise was established. If you believe that the franchise was still the franchise back as far as you can trace it, then you'll go with 1961 for the founding year. That's the year that the future Wizards started play in Chicago under the Packers nickname. If you are a member of Abe Pollin's family or believe in the same logic as that guy, you'll go with 1963, which is the year Pollin moved the franchise to Baltimore. Pick one and go with it. If we want to re-write history and say the team started in 1963, that's not a hill I'm going to die on.

However, when it comes to this sign, it clearly was not made or approved or checked by anybody who is remotely familiar with the street naming convention of Washington D.C. Capital One Arena (formerly Verizon Center) does not sit at 601 F Street North. It sits at 601 F Street NorthWEST. The address of the building is wrong in a way you can only get it wrong if you know nothing about D.C. which where the team plays.

Just real quick for the designers of this sign: the city is divided up into quadrants, with the United States Capitol as the center both north-south and east-west. The four quadrants are predictably northeast, southeast, southwest and northwest. While I guess you can argue there technically I guess may be an F Street North, when you stick a number on it, it doesn't work. The NBA Store should contact everyone who bought this sign and refund their money in my opinion.

6. DeJuan Blair Framed 15" x 17" Collage with Team-Used Ball
Let's say for the sake of argument that you hate what I wrote about item 1 on this list. Let's say for a moment that you don't care that Kevin Seraphin didn't actually wear the jersey IN a game (rather than TO a game) and that you'd buy the thing to go in your Seraphin shrine if only you had the spare few hundred dollars laying around. Fine. I could see that this person I've just described might be out there somewhere in this world.

Now, a framed DeJuan Blair Wizards collage for $70 ($56 on sale)??? No way. No way in hell. Blair played in 29 games for the Wizards and totaled far less than 300 minutes of game action. Even if you are obsessed with DeJuan Blair I'm not even sure you can justify paying for this product. And they sort of have to have these things made and in a warehouse, right? I mean if they were custom made to order, wouldn't they just not have a DeJuan Blair version on the website at all? If anyone actually ordered one of these, the NBA should just send it for free along with a credit for the entire purchase price. 

Close second on this one by the way is the Trey Burke autographed basketball for $130.

7. Washington Wizards Green St. Patrick's Day Paddy's Pride T-Shirt
Ever since I moved to this country I haven't quite been able to understand America's fascination with St. Patrick's Day. I don't understand people feeling connected to Irish heritage that nobody can really explain to them and I don't understand people lining up outside bars at like 6 a.m. on March 17. You want to get drunk then fine. I got no issue with that. But wearing green and insisting you feel connected to your Irish roots over pints of Guinness (or more likely Miller Lite) one day per year, I don't buy it.

Having said that, I understand it's a thing. And I can understand why the NBA (and Fanatics, who runs the NBA Store) would want to profit from it. But isn't this shirt really just a Boston Celtics shirt in disguise? I know the word Wizards is on there (established 1963 by the way) and the Monument Ball logo in green is with it, but they are contained inside a shamrock which is one of the Celtics' team logos. If you insist of resurrecting this March 17 foolishness every year and insist on having a green Wizards shirt to wear that day, I'd say get a different version than this one. Yes, there are far more to choose from on the site.

8. Washington Wizards Historic Blast iPhone 3G/GS Skin
I can see there being Kevin Seraphin and DeJuan Blair fans out there. I can see there being folks who want a duffle bag that folds into a basketball out there. I can see there being people out there who want a throwback Wizards iPhone cover (established 1963 again notice). But for this old an iPhone? I don't see it.

I have to tell you this product is only on there for one reason and that's if someone mistakenly buys it, then Fanatics makes a couple of bucks. There can't be anyone who's bought one of these in the last year, can there? There's absolutely no way. Tell you what, if Fanatics shows me proof that someone has bought one of these since last September 17, I'll go ahead and get one too. This is just occupying space on a website. It should be deleted and all stock should just be destroyed. 

9. John Wall 60" x 80" Reversible Plush Blanket
Can I say something about this product before anything else? I LOVE it. I think it's awesome. It's the one product on this list I'm not criticizing overall (I will nitpick). How cool would it be to go to bed every night with this thing. You can wear a virtual Wizards jersey every night. And on the other side is a court so you can spread it on your bedroom floor, set up a hoop and play ball. It's fantastic. If I were 10, I'd have this on my Christmas list.

I just don't get the backpack. Why is John wall standing next to a red Wizards backpack? Doesn't make sense to me. I also don't get the liquid-repellant fabric. Is that comfortable to sleep under? Doesn't matter I guess. If I were a kid, I'd still want one.

10. Washington Wizards 10.5" x 13" Sublimated Team Logo Plaque
I'm furious about this product. I can excuse someone for getting the address of our arena wrong I guess, although honestly I cannot see how that could really happen. Don't you just look up the address in Google? There's no way it comes up as 601 F Street North. But I'm distracted.

I have never ever ever ever ever seen any piece of Wizards merchandise with "Since 1962" on it. And by that I don't mean that I HAVE seen "Established 1962" or "Founded 1962" or something like that. There is no way anyone (and I mean anyone) is maintaining the Wizards franchise started play in 1962. There's NO WAY! This product is just wrong. Plan and simple, it's wrong. And I don't care if there person who designed this sign was a Chicago Zephyrs season ticket holder (that's the incarnation of the Wizards that started play in 1962) it's plain and simple wrong. Fanatics should be embarrassed at this. If anyone ordered this thing, they should drive to that person's house, insist on having it back and destroying it and offer the buyer any single item on their website for free. Including the never worn in a game Game-Used Seraphin jersey if that's what they wanted. This is bad. I'm upset.

So that's all I have to say on this matter. I'm sure I've missed things. I'm sure you can visit the site yourself and find some things that are more outlandish. Especially if you search in some other teams' catalogs because I'm positive the Wizards have one of the smaller product selections. Tip-off in 31 days. Can't wait!!

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