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Senator Calls Foul On Adidas' NBA Jersey Plan

NBA commissioner David Stern (L) and Eric Stamminger, president and CEO of adidas brand, during signing of 11-year deal in 2006, now find their alliance under fire. (Photo: adidas)November 30, 2009: Proclaiming that “Basketball is an American game,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) has taken to the streets in an effort to stop adidas, the official apparel company of the NBA, from closing a factory of American Classic Outfitters in Perry, NY, and moving the production to Thailand.

“Adidas’ plan is to outsource the jerseys to Thailand and with that, they threw an airball big time,” Schumer said during a press conference outside of the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue in New York on Nov. 29. “Because it’s an American sport invented in America, played better in America than anywhere else, the jerseys ought to be made here in America,”

The plant in upstate New York, about 50 miles east of Buffalo, produces jerseys for 17 NBA teams as well as WNBA and NBA Development League teams.

Schumer said he spoke with adidas representatives and also with NBA commissioner David Stern about the situation. “He said he’d look into it and work with us. He seemed sympathetic, he’s a man of his word and I think the league understands how unfair this outsourcing is," Schumer said during the press conference.

Adidas said in a statement that it has started to move production of NBA jerseys "closer to the source for materials," which is in Asia. Adidas said it has contracts with two other U.S. companies to produce official NBA jerseys at more than 30 facilities in North America and “will continue to do so.”

Adidas and the NBA signed an 11-year deal in 2006, said to be worth more than $400 million, to become the league's official uniform and apparel supplier. The deal replaced a 10-year agreement the NBA had with Reebok, which was acquired by adidas in 2005 in a deal valued at about $3.8 billion.

Adidas NBA spokesmen include Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Tracy McGrady, Derrick Rose, Chauncey Billups and Josh Smith.

Schumer said he has asked the NBA to end its contract with adidas should the production move from the U.S. to Thailand. The NBA, which holds its marketing partners near and dear to its heart, released a statement after Schumer's press conference addressing the issue. “The NBA conducts business with more than 200 apparel and consumer products companies in over 210 countries and territories and we do not mandate where they manufacture their products. We do, however, have a strict Code of Conduct that mandates the factory conditions under which adidas and all our licensees must manufacture NBA goods."

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