The Difference Between Replica, Swingman and Authentic NBA Jerseys

What’s the difference between replica, swingman and authentic NBA Jerseys? This is a question that we are asked quite a lot, so here's a short summary that can hopefully help outline the difference.

Typically when you buy an official NBA jersey, you will either be buying an NBA replica, an NBA swingman or an authentic NBA jersey, but what’s the difference between these different types? Let’s break it down so that you know exactly what you’re getting when you purchase one of these types of NBA jersey.

Replica NBA Jerseys

A replica NBA jersey is the most basic type of fan-jersey that you can buy. It has a very similar look and design to that of the NBA jerseys that the players wear, however there are some important differences.

All replica jerseys are screenprinted with a team wordmark, team logos and player name and numbers. Replica jerseys tend to be made of flat-back polyester mesh and have a wide-shoulder, sleeveless cut. The wide-shoulder cut and simple screen printing are distinguishing features of a replica NBA jersey.

Replica NBA jerseys are amongst the cheapest style of jersey and while they are still made of quality materials and well put together, they are still the basic model, so prices and the relative longevity of the jersey will reflect this.

Price range: £40 - £50

(NOTE: Nike, as the current supplier to the NBA, does not make adult replica jerseys - their base level jersey is a swingman - see below)

Here's an example of an older Adidas Golden State Warriors NBA replica jersey, with a close up on printing:

Golden State Warriors Replica NBA JerseyGolden State Warriors Jersey - Replica Printing

A replica NBA jersey has wider-cut shoulders, in a sleeveless style and is made of a more basic polyester. Simpler, screenprinted player name, numbers and team wordmark and logos.

Swingman NBA Jerseys

Swingman NBA jerseys are a step up from a replica NBA jersey. They more accurately copy the features of an on-court NBA jersey and, in the case of swingman jerseys for current NBA teams and players, will be made of a more performance-based material.

Speaking generally (as swingman jerseys can include Hardwood Classic editions, as well as current NBA jersey styles) an NBA swingman jersey will be made of a heavier, 100% polyester mesh, and will have an athletic cut that mimics the jerseys that the players wear on court.

Swingman jerseys will feature a single-layer tackle twill front work mark, player name and numbers, unless they are from the 2015-16 NBA season onwards, in which case they will feature a heat-sealed tackle twill front word mark, logo, players name and numbers which more accurately mimics modern NBA jerseys. These heat sealed elements are breathable and move more easily with the jersey material for increased player comfort, while retaining a high-quality look.

Swingman NBA jerseys also have a more athletic cut, with narrower shoulders and a slimmer cut through the body, when compared to a replica jersey. This more athletic cut is again truer to what NBA players wear on the court.

An NBA swingman jersey will cost more than a replica. This reflects the fact that these jerseys are made with a higher quality material and see a higher quality of design and construction.  

Price range: £70 - £90

Here's an example of a Nike Miami Heat swingman NBA jersey:


The NBA swingman jersey has a more athletic cut and, in the case of current teams and players, tends to be made of a performance polyester mesh. Heat-sealed twill tackle wordmark, player name and numbers. View a wider selection of NBA swingman jerseys here.

Authentic NBA Jerseys

An authentic NBA jersey is a true copy of the NBA jerseys that your favourite players wear on the court. These jerseys replicate the same fabrics, trims, cuts and aesthetic details that you would find on the actual NBA jerseys worn by NBA players.

Typically they feature a single, or multi-layer twill word mark, players name, numbers and logos, and the material of the jersey will be heavier than either the replica or swingman jerseys.

Due to the materials used and the details that go into creating an authentic NBA jersey, you tend to be looking at a price tag of £200+. This is especially true for retro or throwback authentic jerseys that bring older NBA jerseys back to life for a modern basketball audience. 

Price range: £200 - £300

NBA Authentic Jersey - Miami Heat

An authentic NBA jersey is the closest version to an original, NBA on-court jersey.

NBA Authentic Jersey - Miami Heat

NBA Authentic Jersey - Miami Heat

Greater care is taken with the finer details of the jersey, and the team name, players name and numbers are all high quality tackle twill applique. View a wider selection of Authentic NBA jerseys here.

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