NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Basketball fans from around the world will descend on New Orleans for the NBA All-Star 2017 this weekend, and the league wants everyone to beware of fake merchandise and poorly made knock-offs.
The three-day event centered around the Smoothie King Center runs February 17 - 19.
"It's been three years since the NBA last held the All-Star Game in New Orleans, which means NBA products will be at a premium throughout All-Star," said NBA Executive Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Ayala Deutsch. "We expect official NBA merchandise will be in high demand, and it is our responsibility to protect fans by supplying them with the right information and tips to avoid purchasing products of inferior quality."
The NBA says counterfeiters not only victimize fans, but legitimate, tax-paying retailers in the New Orleans area.
To make sure fans don't fall for fake merchandise, the league offered the following tips:
• Look for the hologram sticker or holographic hangtag and a sewn-in or screen-printed label identifying the name of the NBA licensee (e.g., adidas, Stance, Mitchell & Ness).
• Shop at NBA-authorized retail locations, such as the NBA Store - A Fanatics Experience with locations at the Smoothie King Center, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, Royal Sonesta New Orleans and InterContinental New Orleans – rather than buying items from street vendors, flea markets, or other questionable sources.
• Shop online at NBAStore.com.
• Beware of ripped tags or irregular markings on apparel.
"At a major, high-traffic sporting event like NBA All-Star here in New Orleans, our collaboration with the NBA is crucial to preventing counterfeiters from preying on unsuspecting fans," said Raymond R. Parmer Jr., Special Agent in Charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations New Orleans. "We would encourage all fans to heed the tips provided to ensure they are not purchasing fraudulent merchandise. HSI is committed to protecting fans and the American economy from counterfeiters seeking to illegally profit from this great event. We must remember that counterfeiting is not a victimless crime; it costs U.S. businesses billions of dollars each year while severely impacting American jobs."