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Overexplained Lists

What Jerseys Have You Seen Abroad?

A defender grabs Michael Jordan's jersey.
Andy Hayt/NBAE via Getty Images

During my recent visit to Madagascar, I grew obsessed with documenting chameleons. But in between chameleons, I busied myself with bootleg NBA jerseys. As far as I could tell basketball was a nullity among the locals, in terms of sport as spectator entertainment. (Even the ongoing World Cup did not loom as large as I thought it might.) But in terms of sport as fashion influence, the NBA was omnipresent, right up there with the kits of the EPL or La Liga. I was immediately curious which NBA players had the most clout on this large island—which is to say, which jerseys did people bother to knock off? My takeaway was that No. 23 is eternal. Kids born after MJ's retirement are still skipping through their fishing villages in full Bulls getups. LeBron was lucky to keep pace. African-origin stars like Joel Embiid or Giannis Antetokounmpo didn't get much love, though Cameroon and Nigeria are a long ways away.

Here is the list of confirmed jersey sightings:

  • 11 Michael Jordan (all Bulls)
  • 10 LeBron James (6 Lakers, 4 Cavs)
  • 4 Steph Curry
  • 4 Kyrie Irving (all Celtics)
  • 2 Kobe Bryant (1 in Bulls black-and-red)
  • 1 Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)

I also saw three unnumbered sky-blue Oklahoma City jerseys. Unconfirmed sightings, seen in passing, include two unnumbered black Heat jerseys, an unnumbered green Lakers jersey, an unnumbered sky-blue Nuggets jersey, and a Knicks No. 9 that I might have hallucinated during my self-imposed wi-fi exile. Though I am enjoying the idea that R.J. Barrett has more street cred among the Malagasy than Kevin Durant.

What are the jerseys you've seen while traveling?

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