NBA going after counterfeiters selling fake Spurs gear

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by Phil Anaya / KENS 5

khou.com

Posted on June 9, 2014 at 9:57 AM

Updated Monday, Jun 9 at 9:57 AM

One crime authorities claim spikes during the NBA Finals is the sale of counterfeit goods. The NBA said that’s why it teams up with federal and local authorities to go after those selling fake Spurs gear.

During the Finals it’s common to see a tent popped up on the streets of San Antonio with someone selling Spurs shirts or hats. Eyewitness News spoke to one man Friday that goes by the name of Keith. He has a tent with a wide variety of Spurs shirts starting as low as $10. He claims his shirts are legal to sell since they don’t have the Spurs name or logo.

“NBA came around last year and checked the shirts and made sure they [shirts] were all legit,” said Keith.

The NBA does know where to find fake goods. The league provided Eyewitness News photos showing different counterfeit items taken by authorities last year.

Anil George is an attorney for the NBA and he said cracking down on counterfeiters is done to protect the consumer and put an end to a multi-billion dollar illegal industry.

“These professional counterfeiters have also been linked with organized crime and some instances terrorist organizations. Basically, groups raising money illegally,” said George.

Keith claims his shirts are not only legal, but offer an option to fans who can't afford authorized gear.

“You go down to the store and it’s $30 for a shirt and they can save half the price. You know, you got to get something for a family of four, that’s $200 on hats and shirts,” said Keith.

Yvette Rosales stopped by Keith’s tent to purchase a shirt for her son. When asked if she would buy a counterfeit shirt she said, “It if had the Spurs logo, I wouldn’t buy it. I have a real Spurs $89 shirt.”

To avoid becoming victims of counterfeiters, Spurs fans can use the following checklist when purchasing their timely keepsakes:

NBA Finals and San Antonio Spurs Merchandise Shopping Checklist:

  • Hologram sticker or holographic hangtag affixed to the merchandise
  • Neck label identifying a licensee that has been authorized by the NBA to produce “genuine” or “official” apparel products
  • Player and team names spelled correctly, for example, it is Manu Ginobili, not “Ginoboli”
  • No irregular markings
  • Product tags are intact
  • Current NBA branding displayed
  • Team colors displayed correctly
  • Embroidery appears good quality
  • Screen printing not worn or cracked
  • Purchase merchandise from NBA-authorized retail locations, such as the Official Spurs Team Store and NBAStore.com
  • Verify exchange and return policy


While consumers should be aware of the common identifying signs of counterfeit product and use the merchandise checklist to protect themselves from counterfeiters, the NBA also will be on the lookout for counterfeit activity, working closely with San Antonio law enforcement throughout the NBA Finals as they enforce local and federal laws prohibiting the sale of illegitimate merchandise.
Counterfeiting is estimated to cost U.S. businesses $200 - 250 million annually and is directly responsible for the loss of more than 750,000 American jobs.

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