“NBA rules prohibit players from displaying any commercial logos or corporate insignia on their body or in their hair”, said Mike Bass, league spokesperson.
While NBA players getting ink is nothing new, the league has made an issue of Cleveland Cavaliers player JR Smith “promoting a brand” with his body. JR Smith was informed that he would be fined every single game if he doesn’t cover up his calf Supreme tattoo.
The hypocrisy is that the rules outlined by Mike Bass seem to only apply in select cases. For example, Iman Shumpert was required to remove the Adidas logo shaved into his hair in 2013. But, Kyrie Irving can rock his logo tattoo of the television show, Friends and Carmelo Anthony can flaunt his Warner Brothers’ ‘WB’ logo tattoo. Even the league didn’t care about Marcin Gortat’s Jordan ‘Jumpman’ logo tattoo.
Essentially, what brands are allowed or not by the NBA are determined by who is paying the league. The Jumpman logo is accepted because its parent company, Nike, obvi pays a shit ton of money to the NBA every year. But, in JR Smith’s situation, there are plenty of other competitors in the same industry as Supreme whose money the league wants more, so letting Supreme have “free advertising” would make it hard for future deals.
Supreme could decide to sponsor JR Smith’s fines similar to Nike and Michael Jordan. Back in the day, Nike agreed to cover MJ every time he was fined for wearing banned, black and red sneakers. It ended up helping both parties: Nike gaining a huge fan base and Michael Jordan not having to come out of pocket for the ridiculous fines. Maybe Supreme needs to allocate this under marketing costs… or the NBA could just let up!