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EXCLUSIVE: Meet the Guy Who’s Been Leaking NBA Unis

Over the past week or so, the Twitter account @camisasdanba (“Shirts of the NBA”) has been leaking an inordinate number of upcoming NBA jersey designs — mostly City alternates. Several of the leaks were quickly confirmed via official team unveilings, with each confirmation adding more presumptive legitimacy to the remaining unconfirmed designs.

As you may recall, back in May I rounded up a bunch of anonymous sources who’d leaked information to me in the past and let them explain why they did it. But the situation with @camisasdanba was different — it’s highly unusual for one source to leak such a large, steady stream of designs like this. Even more unusual, @camisasdanba is based in Brazil!

The Twitter account’s owner and I had briefly been in touch last week, so I knew he spoke English. On Wednesday I asked if he’d be willing to do an interview, and he quickly agreed. I offered him anonymity, but he said he was happy to use his real name, which is Igor Coelho. That’s him in the photo shown above.

I interviewed Igor last night via direct messaging. Here’s a transcript of our chat (with some extremely light edits to clean up some of his English):

Uni Watch: Please tell me a little bit about yourself. How old are you, where do you live, and what do you do for a living?

Igor Coelho: I am 33 years old. I live in Rio de Janeiro, one of the most famous cities in Brazil. I work with communication, marketing, and advertising, but focused on the education market, in elementary schools.

UW: How did you become so obsessed with NBA uniforms?

IC: My first contact with the NBA (as far as I can remember) was in 1998. I remember the first thing that caught my attention was the jersey numbers. The players used different numbers — in soccer I was used to numbers 1-11 — and I felt that it reflected in some way how they performed on the court. Somehow David Robinson matched jersey No. 50, for example.

Soon I started to notice how carefully the uniforms were designed, how carefully the court was designed. I remember that in the first Finals that I watched, I was very impacted by the different logo on the court. It influenced the atmosphere of the game and made a big impression on me.

Shortly thereafter, a friend of my father’s traveled to the USA and brought me a Shaquille O’Neal jersey as a gift. The jersey was huge! To this day it doesn’t fit me LOL. But it’s so beautiful — has very bright colors, a number that represents Shaq, details that connect me with the early 2000s.

I never stopped watching the NBA, my interest in communication grew, I studied in advertising school and ended up mixing my profession with my passion for the game.

UW: I know there have been Brazilian players in the NBA, like Nenê and Leandro Barbosa. But is the NBA popular in Brazil? Are games available on TV, and do people wear NBA jerseys?

IC: The NBA is increasingly popular. Basketball competes with volleyball as the second most popular sport here. We have a national championship that is evolving. Every Brazilian who reaches the NBA becomes an idol for us. Leandro Barbosa (we call him by his nickname, Leandrinho), besides being very charismatic, achieved many things and is the favorite of the majority, along with Oscar Schmidt, who is historically our best player.

Fortunately, we have access to many games here on TV. Three channels broadcast NBA, one of which is open to the entire country. We can watch a different game from Monday to Friday, with a few double rounds. People who can afford cable TV, have a huge choice of games.

Until 2018, only sports stores sold NBA items. But then the first official NBA Store appeared. It is a very expensive product for most people, so the market for counterfeit shirts is large.

But I feel that people feel good, that they see value in NBA jerseys not only for the sport, but also to express their lifestyle and dress. Here in Rio de Janeiro, it is common to see people on the street wearing NBA jerseys and T-shirts.

UW: Okay, let’s talk about the leaks. You’ve been leaking lots of designs lately. How did you get access to all of these jerseys before they were officially unveiled?

IC: Well, the first jersey I confirmed was the Brooklyn Nets Classic Edition. In this case, there was already a rumor that was reinforced with the photo that Kyrie Irving published on Instagram Stories.

In any case, I was already doing a daily job of accessing many websites, stores that traditionally receive products before others, stores in countries close to where Nike factories are located, Reddit pages, always looking for some jersey, T-shirt, jacket, something that indicates the creative path the teams are taking. I try to read most press releases to understand how each team is positioned. All of this is the hardest part of the job.

Then I met a person who had a friend, who had a friend, who had a friend … who could see these pre-releases. Then it was a matter of connecting with the right people.

UW: Could you explain more about that? Who was the person “at the end of the food chain,” so to speak? Was it someone at a retail store? At a wholesaler? At Nike? Somewhere else?

IC: Actually, the information I published came from three different sources. One is a Nike store in the USA. Another has contacts with Nike factories in Asia. Another has contacts with factories in Central America. None of them actually works at the factory, which delayed the information reaching me a little.

UW: Interesting. So these photos you posted didn’t actually come from Brazil, is that right?

IC: Right

UW: Did these various people — the friends of friends of friends — understand that you’d be posting their photos on Twitter?

IC: Yes. They even follow the repercussions, but they preferred not to be tagged. It is very common for people to bring me some info and ask not to be tagged.

UW: Did you post each leak as soon as you could, or did you choose to space them out over time?

IC: Most of the leaks I received on different days and times, so I posted them as soon as I received them. I had the job of doing some checking, confirming if the jersey I was seeing made sense, trying to interpret if it was really real and, if it was, looking to see if someone else had already published it.

One day I received three images at once and intentionally spaced the posting times to try to increase the engagement with my profile.

I still have another leak, but I couldn’t confirm that it is real.

UW: Interesting. So you try to verify the design’s legitimacy before posting?

IC: Yes. With these brand-new City Edition jerseys, it is difficult, but I try to check as far as possible. This includes searching for other items in the same collection, such as “shirseys,” and reading recent publications from team profiles to try to find any clues. I am a jersey collector, so I can check some details of the construction of the Nike Swingmans and compare.

I am very cautious with the things I write. If I’m not sure, I try to make that clear to my followers.

UW: Do you know why the Kings jersey did not have a number?

IC: No. I didn’t even ask about it. I thought it was a jersey ready to be customized.

UW: You sometimes showed the front and back of the jersey at different times (or even different days). Was that because the front and back photos came from different people at different times?

IC: Exactly. Sometimes they came from the same person, but I tried to make her as comfortable as possible to send me only what she wanted and when she wanted it. In some cases the person who sent me the photo was not the person who took the photo.

UW: I realize this may sound like a silly question, but why did you choose to leak the designs? Was there anything you hoped to accomplish, or did you just want to share the photos?

IC: I’ve been following the jersey unveilings for a few years now and I know that makes basketball fans and uniform fans very excited. “Camisas da NBA” is something I love to do, and I have huge goals for it. I knew that the uniform release period would be critical for me, but I did not expect that one day I would have the opportunity to give information like this firsthand to the whole world. I felt it was something that would give my content a huge reach.

UW: Could you tell me more about the “huge goals” that you have?

IC: For “Camisas da NBA,” I will open a website soon. I want to have more space to write and not leave my content anchored on Twitter. I plan to create some products like a “Camisas da NBA” jersey and an illustrated guide to the 2020-21 season uniforms. I learned to edit videos and I liked it! So I hope to produce more content for YouTube.

I studied advertising and marketing. I think the experience I have accumulated in my job can be useful for the expansion of the NBA, to increase the reach and sales of its products.

Here in Brazil we are far from the teams’ history. It is not obvious to us why the Denver team is called the Nuggets; it is not obvious why Timberwolves wear lime green. I hope that my love for basketball and time spent researching uniforms will become more than a hobby. I am always looking for work opportunities in this area.

UW: Trust me, it’s not obvious to anyone why the Timberwolves wear lime green!

IC: LOL

UW: How have people responded to your tweets with the leaks? At the very least, I see that you’ve gained several thousand followers!

IC: It was very funny because people did not expect so many leaks from the same source and in such a short time. More than that — leaks from Brazil! That was totally unexpected.

I received MANY messages asking for uniforms from various teams, but I was not able to get them all. People were already acting like, “What’s the next jersey you’re going to post?” or “When are you going to post my favorite team’s jersey?” I had some fun time with some reactions.

When I published the first leak, I had just over 6.000 Twitter followers and at the moment I have 10.000.

My tweets even appeared in newspapers! Even at Fox San Antonio and The New York Post! This is crazy! I never imagined that!

UW: Teams usually don’t like it when their designs are leaked. Have any of the teams tried to contact you? (Or the NBA, or Nike?)

IC: I was afraid that would happen! Actually, I still am, LOL. But so far it hasn’t happened.

UW: Did you see that tweet from the Spurs, where they joked that they were looking for a plumber to fix leaks?

IC: Yeah! I confess that I even saved that tweet. It will be a funny memory.

I didn’t know if I was taking any risks. As an advertising professional, I can imagine that they may have been upset because it interferes with disclosure plans. On the other hand, it can increase people’s demand for uniforms.

UW: Do you expect to have more leaks to share soon?

IC: I have one more image that I couldn’t confirm. I believe it is an Earned Edition or a 2020-21 jersey, but I chose not to publish it.

Aside from that, I can’t say if I’m going to get more leaks. I don’t pressure my contacts to send me more stuff.

UW: Igor, those are all the questions I have. Is there anything you want to tell me that I haven’t asked you about?’

IC: I wanted to say that “Camisas da NBA” is not a profile of leaking jerseys. My favorite content is the news, the story, the context, to give another value to the uniforms. This research is my passion.

This period was chaotic, but it gave me the opportunity to meet people I admire a lot, who taught me a lot about uniforms (sometimes without even knowing it), and who inspire me daily to keep my profile active.

———

Igor may work in advertising, but he has the instincts of a really good journalist. He follows his nose, develops contacts and sources, tries to verify information before he goes public with it, and keeps things under wraps if he can’t verify them. I tip my cap to him — he’s doing great work.

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Click to enlarge

Major NFL prototype find: On the left is the “feather” helmet design that the Washington Football Team wore from 1959 through 1964, when they were still called the Redskins. On the right is the “spear” helmet design that they switched to in 1965.

And in the middle..?

That is a prototype design that was supposed to be used in 1965 but was apparently discarded in favor of the spear design. It was recently discovered by Gridiron Uniform Database researcher Bill Schaefer, who found it in this article that appeared in The Washington Post on March 20, 1965 (click to enlarge; pertinent passage highlighted):

 


 

I’ve never seen that logo before. Leaving aside the problematic Native American imagery, it’s pretty hilarious to think that there was once a time when an NFL team changing its helmet design would essentially be a footnote to a story about the team adding fewer than 1,000 seats to its stadium. Also, I love the note above the headline: “Insigne on Helmets Changed.” Insigne!

It’s not clear why the team didn’t stick with the headdress logo, or exactly when the decision was made to scrap it, but they had switched to the spear design by the start of the 1965 preseason, so the headdress design never made it onto the field.

I know I say this a lot, but it’s always so interesting to see how certain things get buried and forgotten in the historical record while others become part of sports lore. I mean, 1965 isn’t that long ago, so it seems surprising that we (or at least I) had never seen this design before. Fascinating!

(Super-duper thanks to Bill Schaefer for sharing this with me.)

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Pin Club reminder: We’re now down to only 39 of Uni Watch Pin Club’s November design. It’s available here while supplies last.

Need to get caught up? Here are the January, February, March, May, June, July, August, September, and October pins (sorry, April sold out!), along with our 2020 Press Pin and our basic winged stirrup pin.

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The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

NFL News: Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick cut his pants into bootyshorts during practice as a tribute to WR Isaiah Ford, who was traded to the Patriots on Tuesday (from Kary Klismet and Mike Chamernik). … Nowadays, when players change teams, Photoshops of the players in their new uniforms quickly appear on the internet. Nearly two decades ago, NFL Films gave us the early-aughts version of the same thing with Jake Plummer. As you can see, it’s really hard to change the old Cardinals uniforms into a Broncos uniform! (From @LexMarston.) … NFL Officiating’s official Twitter account posted a graphic with some woefully messed up helmets (from James Fuse and @MoxMulder).

College/High School Football News: LB Dean Ferguson will wear Beamer’s No. 25 jersey for Virginia Tech, while the team is going going mono-maroon (monoroon?) against Liberty (from Andrew Cosentino). … NC State is going full BFBS against Miami tonight (from Gabe Cornwall). … Also from Gabe, UNC is going white-white-blue against Duke (also from James Gilbert). … Boise State going BFBS against BYU (from Matt Rashford). … Houston is going mono-white against Cincinnati tomorrow (from Ignacio Salazar). … Also from Ignacio, Rice is going mono-blue. … Troy is going charcoal-white-red (from Chase Blake). … In that same game, Georgia Southern will go blue-blue-white (from @TrojanWallF5 and Ben Whitehead). … Vandy is going black-white-black against Mississippi State (from Russell Riese Jr.) … UCLA athletes — including the football team, whose season is about to start — have the choice to add a social justice patch to their uniform (from @boxseatbanter). … BC is wearing throwbacks again (from Bill Abely). … Oregon is going yellow-charcoal-charcoal against Stanford (from Jakob Fox).

Hockey News: The SJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers have formally unveiled their new sweater (from Wade Heidt).
 
 

NBA News: NBA 2K screenshots seem to indicate that the Hornets’ Jordan maker’s mark has grown larger.
 

College/High School Hoops News: Louisville men will have “UNITY” printed beneath their rear uni numbers this season and will also wear a “United as One” patch (from Lachlan McLean). … New court for the University of Waterloo (from Wade Heidt). … New uniforms for Kansas.

Soccer News: MLS expansion team Austin FC is teasing their kit (from Jim Howicz). … Following up on an item from earlier this week: The reason the Fulton County, Ga., elections administrator was wearing a Timbers lanyard during a press conference earlier this week is that his brother lives in Portland and sends him gear. Full (paywalled) article here (from @stevis23 and Ed Żelaski). … Here’s something I noticed while playing FIFA but didn’t fully register at the time: The FA has redesigned the sleeve patches for the FA Cup, and for clubs that have won the Cup, they’ve added a tab with a number indicating how many times they’ve won it (from Tom Gronek).

Grab Bag: The Australian Football League’s Sydney Swans seem to have updated their logo (from Kevin Joseph). … Timmy Donahue sends along an interesting article about why U.S. military helicopters have Native American names. … The UNC field hockey team posted an animated GIF of each season’s team portrait over the last 40 years, providing a de facto look at the evolution of field hockey uniforms during that period (from James Gilbert).

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And that’s a wrap for this week. Obviously, these are stressful days for many people — my thanks to all the site’s commenters for helping to keep Uni Watch a safe, fun diversion (for me as well as for you!). Enjoy Phil’s weekend content, stay well, and I’ll see you back here on Monday. — Paul

16 comments to EXCLUSIVE: Meet the Guy Who’s Been Leaking NBA Unis

  • Dave | November 6, 2020 at 8:54 am |

    Hi Paul. I think the link is missing in the helicopter post in the ticker. Thanks!

  • Wade Heidt | November 6, 2020 at 9:24 am |

    “Nowadays, when players change teams, Photoshops of the players in their new uniforms quickly appear on the internet.”

    Enjoyable seeing some of the artistic work you used to see on sports cards before photoshop. A couple of my favourites that I can think of right now.

    Mel Bridgman with the silver helmet appearing as a New Jersey Devil:

    https://i0.wp.com/puckjunk.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/bridgman_f_zoom.jpg

    Derek Sanderson with a really square Stick-in-Rink logo appearing as a Vancouver Canuck. Appears to be St. Louis Blues players in the background also wearing blue uniforms:

    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/aa/17/79/aa17796569e24cee8145868b700f1de6.jpg

  • Matt | November 6, 2020 at 9:52 am |

    The November pin is nice but I think it’s a missed opportunity to do a “green jacket” uni watch pin with the Masters in November this year.

    • Paul Lukas | November 6, 2020 at 10:02 am |

      Oooh — didn’t think of that! Will consider for next year.

  • Steve | November 6, 2020 at 10:12 am |

    That headdress logo is way cooler than the spear or their other logos. Could’ve worked for the chiefs too.

    • Fluff | November 6, 2020 at 10:36 am |

      This was decades before Native American headdresses appeared on motorcycle helmets. But at first glance, it looks like either fluffy mutton-chop sideburns or miniature angel wings.

  • Joshua | November 6, 2020 at 10:46 am |

    Although antiquated now, the word insigne is the singular of insignia. Because the Redskins’ prior helmet had one logo sticker running down the middle rather than one logo on each side, insigne was a technically correct usage.

    • Paul Lukas | November 6, 2020 at 10:48 am |

      Oh, I know. It’s just a word we don’t hear anymore!

  • Marcus Ramsey | November 6, 2020 at 11:45 am |

    Have a good weekend, Paul. Thank you.

  • TIm | November 6, 2020 at 11:46 am |

    From the “total speculation” department: I wonder if the Washington helmet logo was never used due to similarities to the Eagles’ helmet logo. The first thing I thought of when I looked at it was how similar it appeared (to me anyway) to the wings on the Eagles’ lids.

  • Bruce Jaynes | November 6, 2020 at 12:32 pm |

    Wonderful interview with Igor! Enjoyed it very much.

  • DAF | November 6, 2020 at 12:37 pm |

    Nice interview. I like Igor’s jacket.

    • Paul Lukas | November 6, 2020 at 12:40 pm |

      He sent me a bunch of photos of himself but said the one with the blue jacket was his favorite, so that’s the one I used!

  • Darnell | November 6, 2020 at 6:19 pm |

    Paul, please take the uniform leaks from Allen Iverson and Ben Simmons’ Twitter feeds and put them through photoshop and see what you can see! I would do it myself but I don’t have PS.