Sabrina Ionescu may be the most popular college basketball player across both the men’s and women’s game right now. She’s back for her senior season in Oregon and is the runaway No. 1 pick for the WNBA Draft next year where she’ll head to Brooklyn to play for the Liberty. Her team also just beat Team USA in a scrimmage. She’s kind of a big deal.
But until this week, it was impossible to buy her jersey anywhere. Yes, Nike sells plenty of college football and men’s basketball jerseys, but a jersey for Ionescu did not exist. And so Ionescu publicly roasted Nike and got them to do the thing they should have done a long time ago. They started to sell Oregon No. 20 jerseys.
The Ionescu jersey timeline
This all started on Nov. 5 when Ionescu tweeted this out:
Then, magically, on Nov. 9, Ionescu tweeted that the jerseys would be available soon. It’s amazing how Nike could turn this around so fast. It’s almost like they should have already been doing this, and that they even have the resources to handle it!
On Nov. 11, the official Oregon Ducks store tweeted at 5:38 p.m. ET that the jerseys were available. They got a response from a user at 7:40 p.m. saying they were sold out. I have no idea how many jerseys Nike made available and that information is not public, but it was clearly not enough.
But in more concerning news, it appears Nike won’t restock the white jerseys. Either Nike is incredibly lame or they’re going to make the upcoming green jersey endlessly available. I hope it’s the latter but I won’t get my hopes up.
We are not expecting another shipment of the white jerseys, however, we’re anticipating receiving the green jerseys later in the season! Stay tuned!— The Duck Store (@TheDuckStore) November 13, 2019
We haven’t even gotten to the part where Ionescu will get 0 percent of profit from this, but, hey, I guess we have to fight one battle at a time. Women’s sports are incredibly underserved from a merchandise perspective. Every season WNBA fans beg for more merchandise and jersey options but aren’t given much to work with.
During the 2019 World Cup, the U.S. Women’s National Team home jersey became the No. 1 soccer jersey ever sold on Nike.com within a season. Meanwhile, the NWSL is planning expansion based on the popularity of merchandise and sales. These numbers show the interest is there in case after case.
If Nike believes in equality and change like it claims, it needs to start stepping up its support for women’s sports.