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Pictures of Fake Jerseys that are "Almost" Real (and other jersey topics for articles I write)


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Hey guys, for those of you who don't know there's a website that I'm going to be contributing to once in awhile called Bacon Sports (

Anyways, they want me to write an article for them about the difference between replica jerseys, authentic jerseys, "replithentic" jerseys, and counterfeit jerseys to help those who may be purchasing make more informed choices. An educated consumer is the best kind, right?

Here's where I could use your guys help. If any of you have photos of jerseys that are fakes, Chinese knockoffs, fakes that almost look like the real thing, replicas, or replithentics, I'd like you to post those photos here. The best ones will be used in the article, and if I use your photo, and you have a Twitter handle, I'll put a "Thanks to:" at the bottom in case people want to follow you.

I may also post the article in this thread a day before it goes live on BaconSports just to get everyone's critiques so that this article is as close to flawless as I can get it. Thanks for everyone's help. If you want to check out BaconSports, here's their info:

Website: http://www.baconsports.com/

Twitter: @BaconSports

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/baconsports

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/therealbaconsports?feature=watch

For those of you who live in Chicago, they're also doing a Bacon Sports Beer Celebration, the event is listed here: https://www.facebook.com/events/140588256101931/.


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A part of me wants to root for these knockoffs to get better, because it will force the NHL and NFL to bring down their prices.

As someone who despises knockoffs (poor quality/copyright infringement), if a jersey wasn't a car payment, they would sell a ton more. I don't buy the money argument of the different "levels" as I feel replicas/limiteds aren't worth the money either for their quality. I see a ton of people with a replica where the screen print cracks (or wrong font is used) and limiteds where the outline color fades or bleeds into the number. Heck, you have to pay almost, if not a $100 for the "lower level"

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Here's a good comparison shot



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The worst part is, they are having dumb features on jerseys like the corny slogans and words inside the collar (the hanger effect), as a way imo to justify the ridiculous price they sell them for.

predators-010.jpg The Fakes are adding the "Hanger Effect".

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Okay, so I finished my rough draft of the article. Here it is below. Let me know what you guys think. Just be aware that certain links and photos aren't showing up because I just did a straight copy/paste:

So You Want to be a Jerseyphile?

According to Urban Dictionary, "A hoopster is an adolescent who sports trendy NBA retro basketball jerseys." Apparently it's also a term used for women who love to hoola-hoop...which is ridiculous because who owns hoola-hoops anymore? I think it's safe to say a sizeable portion of readers at BaconSports.com are hoopsters, but there's an even broader demographic that we can all relate to. I like to call them the "Jerseyphiles." Jerseyphiles are classified as anyone, at any age, who considers themselves a connoisseur of all things sports jerseys. A six-year-old rocking a Jonathan Toews jersey to the Blackhawks game? Possibly a future jerseyphile. My 65-year-old dad sporting his Mitchell & Ness 1969 Ray Nitschke Jersey when the Packers are on TV? I'll count it because the thing about being a jerseyphile is that there are no set rules about how to be one. You can be as committed or as relaxed as you'd like in your fandom. Being that I tend to be more on the devout side, I'd like to pass on some knowledge to would-be jerseyphiles because an educated fan is the best fan!

I guarantee if you've been at a sporting event, a Super Bowl party, or your local sports bar you've come across counterfeit jerseys and cheaply made knockoffs. Thanks to the relatively high prices of today's jerseys, along with the markup of throwbacks and retro jerseys, not everyone has the coin to go after the real thing. This happens in all disciplines of merchandise sales. I promise you, the pretty girl you see walking down the street in a pair of Christian Louboutins (thank you Laurie for making it seem like I know anything about shoes) might be wearing knockoffs because she didn't want to spend $800+. If you purposely choose to buy that counterfeit product, that's fine. My problem is with people who make their purchase under the guise that they're getting something legit. Nobody should get fleeced like that, so, let's start by breaking down the basic jersey classifications:


Replica jerseys are the most plentiful among sports fans because they're the least expensive licensed product on the market at about $50-99. Your typical hoopster is wearing a replica jersey, and it's probably from 1994. Replicas usually have all the important graphics, but they skimp on a few of the minor details. They're also more likely to have screen printed names and numbers as opposed to sewn on tackle twill. This is where you find the NFL's "Game" line. Most of the other leagues actually use the word replica. Screw you Nike and your confusing labeling system!


This is a word that someone made up to describe the mid-grade level of jerseys. These include your NBA Swingman line, your NFL Limited, and your NHL Premier jerseys. They're slightly better quality with half printed/half sewn numbers, names, and/or crests. The level of detail on these jerseys will be higher with added piping, striping, and a slightly better fit. Typically they'll run you between $100-140. Hoopsters wearing modern players jerseys probably have one of these on.


This is your game-ready gear. An authentic jersey is going to be $215-330 (sometimes more) unless you have some sort of hook-up. (Side Note: Mitchell & Ness gear costs this much, but I'd consider their jerseys to be somewhere in between Replithentic and Authentic because they were never a league supplier such as Nike, Russell Athletic, Majestic, Reebok, CCM, Rawlings, Adidas, Under Armour, etc.) If you're the guy who has to have the best of the best, or you're weird and just want to pretend you're actually on the team, this is what you want.

It kills me to see how much jerseys and hats have gone up in price, but these days, everything is more expensive. In 1992, gas was about $1.20 per gallon, my grandmother bought me my first authentic jersey as a gift for about $115, my video games had only 8 bits, and the Ultimate Warrior wasn't a weirdo giving odd speeches around the country (okay, maybe he always gave weird speeches). That's where the rise of counterfeit merchandise has fit in.

Whether you're looking on E-Bay, Marshall's, garage sales, or even your local sports stores (yes, there are stores that sell Chinese knockoffs as "Authentic" at your local mall...I'm looking at you Scott's Brewery Collectibles and Sports 'N More in Lombard, IL), it's your responsibility to make sure you're getting what you pay for.


First thing I notice is the lettering and numbering. This should be the easiest way to identify a legit jersey from a knockoff, but your average consumer seems to miss this rather frequently. A replica, replithentic, or authentic jersey will always have the correct fonts, the correct colors, and the correct spelling.

Compare these two jerseys. On the top is a counterfeit jersey, and on the bottom is an authentic jersey.

To the naked eye, they don't look that different, but they are! On the top jersey, there's an added shine to the numbers. No team has shiny/shimmery twill tackle lettering as it should be more matte. Also, look at the serifs on the number 5. See that extra point on the left hand side of the bottom jersey? The Packers use that on their chest and back numbering, but not on the shoulders. The counterfeit jersey doesn't have them at all.

Another section to notice is the sleeve stripes. Are they screen printed on or are they material? If you have an NFL jersey with material striping, you have yourself a counterfeit jersey!

Here's another test. See if you can figure out which one is fake?

If you guessed the Broncos jersey on the right, you're correct!

Check out these two hockey jerseys...

These counterfeiters sure put in a lot of effort to fool you. They even added small details like the piano keys inside the collar! Careful inspection actually shows those piano keys are the wrong size. The number and name are both shorter and wider than they should be, the crest of the jersey is slightly smaller, and the hem striping is a little uneven. Mind you, I just compared a replithentic jersey to a counterfeit authentic, and you see that even the replithentics look better. Having a gorgeous jersey ruined by shoddy counterfeiting is like seeing a pretty girl with a ton of lipstick on her teeth.


We love good customized jerseys, but not all customizations are created equal. For instance, take a look at this beauty:

Notice anything wrong? See the sewn on numbers, while the nameplate is screen printed? That's a mismatch that should never happen. If that's a jersey you'd still accept, then that's on you. However, I personally wouldn't pony up for it.

Nameplates and name arching are small details that go a long way to making you stand out from the rest. Most of today's teams no longer use name plates, but prior to the early 2000s, many of them did. Take a look at these two Atlanta Braves jerseys:

Same last name, same team, different font (the road jersey's name arching is called vertical arching, the home jersey's name arching is called radial arching). You can clearly see the name plate on the road jersey, and you'll also notice an MLB logo at the top of Julio Franco's jersey. This small detail was added in 2000. So, if you see a 1989 jersey with that MLB logo on the collar, it's a fake!

If you have a blank jersey, feel free to get it customized. Just make sure the places you go to know what they're doing. For you Chicagoans, I have a few recommendations.

  • If you live in the city, bring your jerseys to Grandstand. It's right down the street from U.S. Cellular Field. The store is family run (which is rare these days), and if you talk with Josh, Rosemary, or anyone else behind the counter, they'll make sure you get exactly what you're looking for. They have amazing attention to detail, and I've personally had several of my jerseys done there.
  • If you're in another part of the country, check out Exclusive Pro Sports. You can mail them your jersey, they'll customize it, and then ship it back. Both Grandstand and Exclusive Pro Sports are good with throwbacks/retro jerseys as well.

For added help the Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks both have really good "Fight the Fakes" sites up. Check those links out, and here are a few other tips to be aware of:

1. If a jersey is rare, and you find one guy is selling 30 of them, they're probably fakes.

2. Look through a seller's E-Bay rating. E-Bay has a ton of fakes, and some people who get caught will have lower ratings due to complaints.

3. If you know the year your jersey was worn by your favorite team, check out game photos online before purchasing your jersey. Do an eyeball test to compare the two.

4. Feel the fabric. Authentic jerseys have been getting lighter, and they're more technologically advanced than in previous years. That being said, it should still feel sturdy because they're meant to take a pounding.

5. Know your resources! I'm happy to be one for you. If you have a question as to whether a jersey is real or fake, send me a Tweet @rmackman, and I'll take a look at it. (Other excellent resource sites are NHL Uniform Database and MLB Dressed to the Nines by the Baseball Hall of Fame.)

6. If it's too good to be true, it probably is!

Finally, just to see if you're paying attention, here's a 10 question jersey quiz. See if you can identify the fakes from the authentics. Answers will be listed at the end.


  1. Authentic
  2. Fake - (striping is too thick, bad cut, wrong material, and numbering is poorly sewn)
  3. Fake - (#41 should be more centered with HEAT)
  4. Fake - (puffy/shiny numbers, sleeve striping is uneven, jersey cut is wrong)
  5. Fake - (wrong materials, wrong cut, number font is too thin)
  6. Fake - (shoulders are cut too wide, number spacing is off)
  7. Authentic
  8. Fake - (the Expos never even wore a jersey like this)
  9. Fake - (numbering is sewn on shiny, puffy material)
  10. Authentic

You're spending good money, so make sure you get good quality in return. There are some really good counterfeit jerseys out there, and once in awhile even I get fooled. However, if you do your due diligence, you're putting yourself in a better position to make the correct choice. Let's be honest, a legit jersey that looks good and fits well, no matter how random, will always get respect from other jerseyphiles.

Now, I think I'll get off my computer and go get my hoola-hoop back from Taina.

RANDOM JERSEY FACT: Wayne Gretzky had the CCM logo sewn on both sides of the hem of his jersey because he always tucked one side in. CCM wanted to make sure their logo was still seen.

THREE RANDOM ATHLETES: Don Majkowski, Ulf Samuelsson, and Jon Sundvold

Ryan Mackman has more jerseys than your girlfriend has shoes, and he's not ashamed of it. If he could, he'd wear a jersey with a tie to work every day, but apparently that's "not professional." You can follow him on Twitter at @rmackman.

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I'd change your definition of Authentic a bit, since few jerseys marketed as "authentic" are game ready. For example, the when the NBA changed to the new materials, much was made that the "authentics" don't have the same number material as the gamers (I think they have a level above "authentic" if you want that detail.)

Also, for NFL, "Authentics" are made by Nike and are all one cut, while the gamers are made by Ripon or someone else and then have the Nike logo applied (at least this used to be true for Reebok, and is still true for some teams, not sure about the whole league.) Actually, are Nike "authentics" for the Packers and Eagles really true to the old materials? I'm not sure.

Baseball authentics are probably pretty close - at least I've never heard anyyone on here point out significant differences.

Hockey also appears to be pretty close if not spot on, but I'm sure many on here know more than me about that.

"Authentic" is basically just the highest level of replica available.

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^^^^Agreed. Could be a simple fix, though. Just change your first sentence to something like "This is the closest thing to what the players wear that you can buy in stores>"

I would put an addendum onto the eBay section. I haven't done a lot of jersey shopping on eBay, but I have experience with some other fake products where 95% of people don't pay attention to what they're getting and think the fakes are the real thing. Then you have someone selling definite fake stuff with a ton of positive reviews. When someone posts a negative review saying that things are counterfeit, the other reviews kinda drown them out, and the seller responds with something like "These aren't fake! Just look at my other reviews!" or saying that the buyer was difficult or didn't respond to their e-mails, etc. Seller ratings can be helpful to catch some of the counterfeiters, but I think you just have to trust your own judgement.

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Much appreciated guys! I'll let you know when it's officially posted!

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Yeah, I already turned it in. Thanks, though!

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Need to be careful between labeling something a "fake jersey" when it's a "real" jersey just with poor after-market lettering / numbering.

Since >95% of NFL jerseys are sold with factory-applied lettering, chances are that one with poor lettering / numbering is fake, but there's always that 5%.

More often, you see this with MLB and NHL jerseys, where they're purchased blank and then taken to the local sporting goods shop to get lettered, and they just slap whatever twill numbers / letters they have laying around.

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Another question...How come you buy an authentic, the NFL "C" or the NFL/NHL team anniversary patches are not on them, but the fakes have them?

I'm guessing it's because it keeps the merchandise stock from last year current for the following year. The only exceptions to something like this are the NHL "C" and "A" patches... those stay pretty consistent from year to year, so I don't think it's a big issue.

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The NFL C patches are not sold. If a jersey has one, it's been embroidered and is a fake.

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