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Authentic vs Swingman Jerseys: What's the Difference?

Whether you’re a die-hard Lakers fan, looking for a jersey to get signed and framed, or want to up your streetwear style, Mitchell & Ness offers two different types of NBA jerseys, authentic and swingman, to suit your lifestyle and needs. Learn more about the difference between our authentic and swingman jerseys so you can find the perfect jersey to add to your collection.

What’s the Difference Between Authentic & Swingman Jerseys?

Side-by-side, both styles of NBA jerseys look nearly identical. However, each type of jersey has been made for different purposes.

Authentic Jerseys

The cream of the crop, authentic jerseys are exact, one-to-one recreations of the jersey that was worn on the court. Everything from the stitching to the material of the jersey is precisely the same.

Who is this for? An authentic jersey is for the fan who wants the best. They want to know what it felt like to step on to the court, or at least look like they know what it felt like. If you want the same jersey any of the greats wore in the paint — from Shaq to Jordan, Kobe and Larry Bird — an authentic jersey is for you.

On the other hand, if you want to show your love by framing the jersey and hanging it as the piece of art that it is, there is no replacement to an official authentic jersey.

Swingman Jerseys

Designed for fans first, swingman jerseys blend quality fabrics and durable stitching to survive the test of time. While the jersey utilises the same design as the real and authentic versions, there have been changes made increase their day-to-day comfort.

Who is this for? Created specifically for fans, swingman jerseys can survive years of wear without breaking a sweat. Swingman jerseys are for the fan who wants to represent their favourite team or player, but isn’t worried about getting a little dirty while doing so. If you need a jersey that can keep up with your lifestyle, look no further than a swingman jersey.

The Details: Authentic vs Swingman Jerseys

While both jerseys are recreations of the official player-worn jerseys, there are several key differences between the two:

The Stitching

Authentic: Our authentic jerseys are made exactly how the on-court jerseys were. So if the player name was screen printed, then we screen print it. If the player number was stitched on using three-layer twill, we do the same. While stitching techniques will differ since we offer NBA jerseys from a range of past eras, you can rest assured knowing this is exactly how the real one was stitched.

Swingman: Regardless of how the original jersey was stitched, on our swingman jerseys we use printed twill for the player names and numbers. While it is visually similar to authentic stitching techniques, printed twill typically offers better durability for everyday wear.

The Materials

Authentic: When we create the authentic NBA jerseys, we utilise the same fabric found on the player-worn jersey. Designed to be worn during fast-paced NBA games, the authentic jersey fabric is highly breathable and moisture-wicking.

Swingman: Across our full NBA swingman jersey range, we use the same strong polyester mesh. While slightly thicker than the original fabric, our polyester mesh easily handles day-to-day —whether you’re wearing it on the street or at the stadium.

The Fit

Authentic: Compared to player-worn jerseys, our authentic jerseys offer the same tighter athletic fit. That being said, we have shortened our authentic jerseys slightly as the court-worn versions would be unwearable by anyone under 6 foot tall!

Swingman: With a slim yet roomier fit compared to an authentic jersey, swingman jerseys have been made to be worn comfortably every day. They offer more room in the shoulders and along the body, making them perfect for wearing over t-shirts and tank tops.

The Logos

Authentic: Like our stitching, logos, patches and other embroidery are applied and recreated exactly how the on-court versions were—which is more often than not screen printed or hand-stitched on.

Swingman: To increase the longevity of patches, embroidery and logos, our swingman jerseys use printed twill, the same as the stitching on the jersey.

The Jocktags

Authentic: Our authentic jerseys feature an official “authentic” Hardwood Classics embroidered jocktag on the bottom right corner on the front of the jersey with the player name and year. This type of jersey also features an “authentic” hangtag on every recreated garment to show it’s authenticity.

Swingman: A “swingman” labelled Hardwood Classics embroidered jocktag can be found on the bottom right corner on the front of the jersey alongside the player name and year.

Authentic Jerseys


The Price

Authentic: Due to additional craftsmanship and materials required by an authentic jersey, this type of jersey commands a more premium price—often starting at $250 or more depending on the player and team. While the more expensive option of the two, this is the truest recreation of the player-worn jersey that can be found.

Swingman: Starting at $130, swingman jerseys offer a more affordable alternative due to their difference in materials and fabrics used. That being said, the quality of swingman jerseys is still impeccable and better suited to day-to-day wear.

Swingman Jerseys


Authentic or Swingman: Which Jersey is Right For Me?

While there is no clear cut answer, the choice between swingman and authentic jersey comes down to personal preference.

Do you want the exact, high-performance jersey your favourite player wore out on the court? Or, do you want a durable jersey that you can comfortably wear day in and out to sports bars, gatherings with friends and around the house? The choice is yours, but either way, you are going to show off your team’s pride in a high-quality jersey created using only the best materials.

Shop our full range of NBA jerseys at Mitchell & Ness now to find the perfect authentic or swingman for you.

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