Death, taxes, and NBAStore.com sales. This trio represents perhaps the only things all of humanity can set their collective watches to. With more interest than ever in NBA player movement, the league can no longer hawk its outdated paraphernalia at market rates all year long. Today, every offseason and post-trade deadline period sees 50 to 70 percent off discounts hit fan inboxes across the world. While we can think of this as a bit of NBA HQ goodwill, if the league truly wanted to do humanity a favor couldn’t much of this stuff be donated to charities in need? Instead, preliminary searchers into the dark underbelly of NBAStore.com sales reveals evidence that these initiatives may simply be an elaborate troll job waiting for NBA reddit to discover.
1) Dwyane Wade $29.99; Matthew Dellavedova $41.99
Hey Dwyane Wade, I know this has been an offseason of disrespect. The mayor of Miami doesn’t know your name (don’t bother asking her to spell it), and Pat Riley refused to make you a free agent priority or pay you. But when the officially licensed merchandiser of the entire NBA not only puts your jersey on digital display next to Delly, but charges 25 percent less for your outdated (but, inevitably, someday vintagely useable) replica versus a purchase only for diehard hoopsters… is signing with Chicago really enough of an FU ? Youth sizing be damned.
2) James Harden iPhons 4/4S Case $7.99
This offseason has been brutal on any Thunder fan, so some e-mail about a sitewide 70% off sale may be the lone beacon of light. “Oh, I can get a sweet sweater for those cold plains evenings or finally perfect my Sam Presti Halloween costume with a dad zip-up!,” Thunder fan must think. But upon first click, the Oklahoma City page of the NBAStore sale suddenly transforms into a house of horror. Sure, Durant gear nearly takes up the entire first page (koozies included) and Ibaka jerseys dot the i’s… but why on Earth must the NBA torture the fanbase further?
Replicas of Kendrick Perkins (departed, 2014) and Jeremy Lamb (2015) subtly pour salt into the wounds of 2011-2012 (picture the ad: “Cherish those memories of Kendrick killing us in the finals v. Miami and then re-live the trade that forever altered the future of the franchise!”), but this iPhone 4/4S case for Harden takes the sentiment well over the top. “Hey look, I know the Durant thing is bad,” this product says. “But… uh… your iPhone was state of the art five years ago when we still had Harden!”
3) New Orleans Hornets Mousepad, $5.99
The retro sale offerings largely make sense: Seattle SuperSonics, Vancouver Grizzlies, Miami Sounds ABA stuff. But then we have entire categories dedicated to the Charlotte Bobcats (arguably the worst NBA franchise ever) and the New Orleans Hornets. These teams hardly qualify as retro, vintage, or “Hardwood Classics”—the name swap took place in 2013. And unless you consider Chris Paul’s historic playoff run to the Conference Semis with Tyson Chandler or the Gerald Wallace-Stephen Jackson pairing memorable, there is no history to speak of. Perhaps worse, this page ominously contains some Anthony Davis Hornets gear that could eventually be the centerpiece of a very, very sad offseason sale. (Plus, who uses a mousepad and who wants such an obtrusive shape occupying Instagrammable desk space?)
4) Harrison Barnes Champions T-Shirt, $12.99
This has to be most offensive to Barnes himself, right? Mercifully, the product page explains this refers to 2015 and not the horrific 2016 finals where Barnes may have singlehandedly shot his team out of back-to-back titles and a historic season? On the bright side for Warriors
bandwagon fans, there are plenty of championship gear options that fortuitously leave out a year. Buy now, be ready to post to Facebook in June 2017.
5) Rockets’ Chandler Parsons autographed photo, $89.99
Obviously, a lot of the sale stuff has to do with players retiring or switching teams—but the NBAStore doesn’t stick to the easy, short-term trolling, they play the long game too. Care for a Jimmer Fredette Kings replica? How about Dwight Howard Magic-era? If Jeremy Lin Hornets gear isn’t your speed, you can opt for Lakers or peak-Linsanity Knicks instead. The amount of gear for players at least two-teams removed is tremendous (and with Corey Brewer, Tim Hardaway Jr., or Kevin Love jerseys available, that type of stock may only continue to grow).
So with apologies to the Sam Hinkie trolling and the Brazil Olympics trolling, this bit of Chandler Parsons ephemera snags the last spot on this initial list. Forget about uninformed blowhards and fans raging over money spent on new offseason contracts, the real financial travesty is the NBA asking $90 for a product that not even the most fervent of Chandler-fanatics (apologies Momma Parsons and The Ringer’s Juliet Litman) would want. In fairness, however, this may be a few more unfortunate injury-riddled season away from a significant price reduction.