How Do NBA Jerseys Fit? (Our 2021 Size Guide w/ Pictures)


In this article we discuss how NBA jerseys fit. In general, most NBA jerseys have an athletic, slim fit, but it will depend on what type of jersey you buy. I own all 5 jerseys types.


Quickly, here’s what you need to know about NBA jersey sizing:

  • Nike Authentic – These are the authentic jerseys. These jerseys have all the premium finishes, including stitched numbers and graphics. They have a slim fit, and you will need to size up if you prefer a baggy fit. Click here to view the Nike Authentic jerseys at NBAStore.com (affiliate link takes you to NBAStore.com).
  • Nike Swingman – This is Nike’s more affordable replica option. These are very popular among fans, but they are not embroidered. Great option if you don’t want to pay up for the embroidered authentic jerseys. Slim fit, if you prefer baggy, I’d size up. Click here to view the Nike Swingman jerseys at Nike.com (affiliate link takes you to Nike.com).
  • Fanatics Fast Break Jersey – Another affordable replica jersey. It is made by Fanatics, not Nike. If you are operating on a tight budget, I suggest checking it out. These are not stitched. This jersey has a true-to-size regular fit. Click here to view the Fanatics Fast Break jerseys at NBAStore.com (affiliate link takes you to NBAStore.com).
  • Mitchell & Ness Swingman – Mitchell & Ness makes classic throwback jerseys. The Swingman version is the more affordable option, but these jerseys still have awesome quality, including stitched graphics on most jerseys. This jersey is not as slim as the Nike jerseys. I recommend ordering your normal sizing. Click here to view the Mitchell & Ness Swingman throwback collection at NBAStore.com (affiliate link takes you to NBAStore.com).
  • Mitchell & Ness Authentic – These are also throwback authentic jerseys. They are stitched. These authentic throwbacks are some of the most coveted fan jerseys. Click here to view the Mitchell & Ness Authentic jerseys at NBAStore.com (affiliate link takes you to NBAStore.com).

This is the jersey type that I recommend as best NBA fan jersey due to it’s combination of comfort, quality, and style(affiliate link takes you to NBAStore.com). I would suggest you check those Nike Swingman jerseys out before making your decision.

Here’s my medium Nike swingman compared to a size medium Hanes undershirt straight out of the package, and then my medium Mitchell & Ness Swingman compared to the same medium t-shirt. As you can see, not all NBA jersey sizing is the same:

jersey-basketball-vs-shirt-nike-swingman
jersey-vs-shirt-mitchell-and-ness-swingman-2

I recommend the Nike Swingman jersey for most fans because it better fits the budget of most fans. That said, for some serious fans and jersey collectors, the Nike Authentic jerseys will make more sense.


*Please Note*

We’ve had a lot of people interested in throwback sizing due to the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant. Throwback jerseys are made by Mitchell & Ness. If you are looking to pay tribute to Kobe with a throwback Mitchell and Ness, and wondering how do NBA jerseys fit, expect somewhat of a slim fit. To read more about the sizing and fit of the throwbacks, visit our article about Mitchell & Ness sizing.

Kobe’s impact on the sport is legendary, and his presence as a player, parent, and person will forever be missed. #RIPMamba


In this article we will discuss NBA jersey sizing using pictures of the jerseys I own. NBA jersey fit will vary depending on what type of jersey you buy.

NBA Jersey Sizing

These are the 5 different types of NBA fan jerseys:

  • Nike Swingman
  • Nike Authentic
  • Fanatics Fast Break
  • Mitchell & Ness Swingman (throwbacks only)
  • Mitchell & Ness Authentic (throwbacks only)

If you are shopping online for NBA jerseys, you are probably wondering how they fit. Do NBA jerseys run big or small? In general, how do NBA jerseys fit?

Most NBA jerseys run small, but it will depend on the brand. The most popular jersey among most NBA fans is the Nike Swingman, and it fits slim and athletic.

The Mitchell and Ness NBA jerseys also run slim. The loosest fitting NBA jersey is the Fanatics Brand Fast Break jersey. Here is a general idea of how each jersey type fits based on my experience:

Jersey TypeFit
Nike SwingmanSlim
Nike AuthenticSlim
Fanatics Fast BreakRegular
M&N SwingmanSlim
M&N AuthenticToo Slim, size up

We will discuss this more in the Mitchell & Ness section below, but if you are looking for the jersey of a current NBA player, Mitchell and Ness does not offer that. Mitchell and Ness makes classic throwback jerseys.

If you are looking for the jersey of a current team/player, you will need to buy one of these 3 jersey types:

  • Nike Swingman (replica, but still very nice and affordable)
  • Nike Authentic (true authentic, but more expensive)
  • Fanatics Fast Break (affordable replica; not made by Nike)

How Do NBA Jerseys Fit?

If you are wondering how do NBA jerseys fit, as we discussed above, it will depend on what type of brand you buy. The three manufacturers of NBA fan jerseys in 2019 are:

  • Nike
  • Mitchell and Ness
  • Fanatics
how-do-nba-jerseys-fit

Do NBA jerseys run big or small?

In general, NBA jerseys run small. Most NBA jerseys have an athletic, slim fit, which mimics the slim-fitting jerseys that the players wear in the NBA.

Again, it will depend on what type of brand you buy. In this article we will discuss the fit of each brand, but in general you can expect:

  • Nike jerseys – run very slim, may need to size up.
  • Mitchell and Ness jerseys – Swingman jerseys run true to size. Authentic jerseys run small, I recommend sizing up.
  • Fanatics jerseys – run true to size, standard fit.

How Do Nike NBA Jerseys Fit?

Nike produces two types of adult NBA fan jerseys:

  • Nike Authentic
  • Nike Swingman

In general, both types of Nike jerseys fit small. They have an athletic, slim fit. I did not have to size up, but it was close.

If you are in between sizes, you will definitely want to size up. If you prefer a baggy, loose-fitting jersey, you will absolutely have to size up, maybe two sizes.

These two jerseys types are created so that you, as a fan, have two different price points from which to choose a jersey. The Nike Authentic is exactly what it sounds like, an authentic replica of what the player’s wear during games.

The Nike Swingman doesn’t have all the authentic finishes, but it still has great style and quality, and has a lower price point. The Nike Swingman is my favorite NBA jersey when you factor in style and price.

  • This is the current price of the Nike Swingman jerseys at NBAStore.com (affiliate link takes you to NBAStore.com). The Nike Swingman is more affordable than the Nike Authentic.
  • This is the current price of the Nike Authentic NBA jerseys at NBAStore.com (affiliate link takes you to NBAStore.com). This jersey is the closes you can get as a fan to wearing what the players wear on the court.

Here is a look at my medium Nike Swingman (right) compared to my size 44 Nike Authentic (left):

nike-swingman-vs-authentic-front-1

How Do Nike Swingman Jerseys Fit?

Here is a look at me wearing a size medium Nike Swingman jersey. I am 6’3″ tall and weigh 200 pounds.

nba-nike-swingman-jersey-review-front

Again, the Nike Swingman jerseys do not have all the premium finishes that the Nike Authentic jerseys have, but they are still very nice jerseys and are more affordable than Nike Authentic jerseys.

nba-nike-swingman-jersey-review-back-layer

The Nike Swingman fits very snug through the chest, and loosens up slightly around the stomach area. Again, it is a very athletic, slim fit. Do not expect this jersey to fit baggy. For comparison, here I am wearing a medium t-shirt:

medium-t-shirt

Here is my medium Nike Swingman compared to a medium Hanes undershirt straight out of the package:

jersey-basketball-vs-shirt-nike-swingman
jersey-basketball-vs-shirt-nike-swingman-side
jersey-basketball-vs-shirt-nike-swingman-side-2

As you can see, it runs a tiny bit slimmer than a Hanes undershirt. If you are in between sizes, my recommendation is to size up the Nike Swingman. If you want a very loose fit, definitely size up.

Despite its slim fit, the Nike Swingman is the jersey type that I recommend due to its price point, quality, and availability.

Even though they aren’t authentic jerseys, they more than do the job if you are just looking for a cool way to rep a team or player. Just know that you may need to size them up if you do not like a slim fit.

This is where you can browse the Nike Swingman jerseys at NBAStore.com to see available styles and players. If you want to read more about the Nike Swingman jerseys, then visit our Nike Swingman Jersey Review. (This article is property of sportsfanfocus.com)


How Do Nike Authentic Jerseys Fit?

The Nike Authentic jerseys are the most premium fan jersey you can own. These are the authentic jerseys. This is the closest you can get as a fan to wearing what the players wear on the court.

Just like the Nike Swingman, the Nike Authentic are Nike Connected jerseys. A Nike Connected jersey is a digitally-enabled jersey that is intended to further enhance your fan connection to the game by giving you access to player and team specific scores, stats, and highlights by combining your Nike Connected jersey with the Nike Connect App (source).

Just to be clear, I recommend the Nike Swingman as best fan jersey, but that is taking into consideration price. If you are not worried about budget, then (without a doubt) the best jersey you can buy is the Nike Authentic.

The Nike Authentics do use a numerical based sizing system instead of the standard small-medium-large sizing. Here is how the sizing works:

  • Size 40 = Small
  • Size 44 = Medium
  • Size 48 = Large
  • Size 52 = XL
  • Size 56 = XXL
  • Size 58 = 3XL

You can expect the Nike Authentic jerseys to fit slim as well, just like the Nike Swingman jerseys do. The Nike Swingman and Authentic jerseys are very similar in their sizing through the chest and stomach (slim, but I did not size up).

If you prefer a loose fit, you will need to size up. Here I am wearing a size 44 (medium equivalent):

(6’3″ 200 pounds)

nike-authentic-jersey-review-nba-front-layer

One other difference between the sizing of the Nike Swingman and the Nike Authentic is length. Nike Authentic jerseys run between 1.5 to 2.5 inches longer than Nike Swingman jerseys, depending on size.

  • This is where you can view an official size chart for the Nike Authentic jerseys (affiliate link takes you to the Nike Authentic product page at NBAStore.com). You should see a size chart linked just above the available sizes.

Here is my size 44 Nike Authentic compared to a medium Hanes undershirt straight out of the package. As you can see, it is a tiny bit wider than the Hanes undershirt, and much longer:

jersey-basketball-vs-shirt-nike-authentic-flip

Again, here is a look at my medium Nike Swingman jersey (on the right) sitting next to my size 44 Nike Authentic jersey (on the left) just after I bought them. As you can see, the Nike Authentic jersey is longer.

nike-swingman-vs-authentic-front-1

As I mentioned earlier, you will be getting a much higher quality jersey if you choose the Nike Authentic. It is a near-match to what the players wear. For example, the numbers and letters are sewn on, instead of heat-sealed on like the Nike Swingman graphics.

Nike Authentic Graphics

nike-authentic-jersey-review-numbers

Nike Swingman Graphics

nba-nike-swingman-jersey-review-numbers-front

If you want to read more about the Nike Authentic jerseys, visit my Nike Authentic NBA Jersey Review.


How Do Fanatics Brand NBA Jerseys Fit?

Fanatics is an online retailer of sportswear and merchandise and currently runs the e-commerce platform for the NBA, which is NBAStore.com. In 2017, Fanatics launched the Fast Break Replica NBA jerseys to give fans another affordable option for NBA jerseys.

  • This is the current price of the Fanatics Fast Break jerseys at NBAStore.com. The Fast Break jersey was the most affordable jersey on the market when I bought my jerseys.

The Fast Break jersey has a much more standard fit than the other types of NBA jerseys do. It fits slim through the shoulders but loosens up around the stomach and waist.

Here is a look at my medium Fanatics Fast Break jersey – I am 6’3″ and weigh 200 pounds. Also included is a picture of me wearing a medium t-shirt for comparison:

medium-t-shirt
fanatics-brand-fast-break-nba-jersey-review-front

As you can see, it is fitted through the shoulders, but does have a standard fit through the stomach and waist areas. You should not need to size the Fanatics Fast Break jersey up or down. It should fit true to size.

Here is my Nike Swingman medium sitting on top of my Fanatics Fast Break medium jersey:

fanatics-fast-break-vs-nike-swingman-jersey

You can see that not only is the Fanatics Fast Break wider through the stomach, it is also and inch or two longer due to the drop-tail back that the Fanatics jersey has. So again, as we discussed earlier, this is clear proof that if you are wondering how do NBA jerseys fit, it will depend a lot on what type of jersey you choose.

Here is my medium Fast Break jersey compared to a medium Hanes undershirt straight out of the package:

jersey-basketball-vs-shirt-fanatics-fast-break

The Fanatics Fast Break jersey gives you another option when looking to buy the NBA jersey of a current player. Nike offers current jerseys in both their Swingman style and Authentic style. But Mitchell and Ness (another NBA jersey manufacturer) only makes throwback jerseys.

Fanatics Fast Break offers fans another option besides Nike if they are looking to buy the jersey of a current player. So, if you are shopping on a budget, I would advise you to at least consider the Fanatics Fast Break jersey.

This is where you can browse the Fanatics Fast Break jerseys at NBAStore.com (affiliate link takes you to NBAStore.com). If you want to read more about the Fanatics Fast Break jerseys, visit my Fast Break Jersey Review.


How Do Mitchell and Ness NBA Jerseys Fit?

If you are shopping for a throwback jerseys and wondering how do NBA jerseys fit, you will need to focus on Mitchell & Ness jerseys. The two types of Mitchell and Ness jerseys have different fits.

  • In general, Mitchell and Ness Swingman jerseys fit true to size, but have a slim fit. Mitchell and Ness Authentic jerseys were too slim – I had to size up.

Just like Nike, Mitchell and Ness has two types of NBA jerseys: the Swingman and the Authentic. The Swingman jerseys are very nice, although the Authentic have all the custom finishes you’d expect in a premium jersey.

What you do need to understand about Mitchell and Ness jersey too is that they do not make current NBA jerseys. They specialize, specifically, in making classic throwback jerseys.

For example, here are my favorite NBA throwback jersey styles available in the Mitchell and Ness (affiliate links take you to NBAStore.com):

  • The Michael Jordan classic Authentic throwback 97-98 Chicago Bulls jersey (see picture here)
  • The Lebron James rookie Authentic throwback 03-04 Cleveland Cavaliers jersey (see picture here)
  • The Kobe Bryant Authentic rookie “8” throwback 96-97 Los Angeles Lakers jersey (see picture here)

How Do Mitchell and Ness Swingman Jerseys Fit?

The Mitchell and Ness Swingman jerseys fit slim, but true to size – they are not quite as slim as the Nike Swingman jerseys. Here is a look at my Nike Swingman size medium sitting on top of my Mitchell and Ness Swingman size medium:

nike-swingman-vs-mitchell-and-ness-jersey

The Mitchell and Ness Swingman jerseys are my favorite fitting NBA jersey, but remember, they only make throwback jerseys. Again, if you are looking for a current player, you will need to buy a Nike jersey or a Fanatics brand jersey.

The Mitchell and Ness Swingman jersey is fitted through the shoulders, and a bit looser through the stomach area, but still overall a slim fit.

In my opinion, the Mitchell and Ness Swingman jerseys fit true to size, but expect a slim fit. If you prefer a loose, relaxed fit, then size up.

(6’3″ 200 pounds size medium jersey)

mitchell-and-ness-swingman-review-nba-front-pocket
mitchell-and-ness-swingman-review-nba-front-layer
mitchell-and-ness-swingman-review-nba-front-pocket-layer

As you can see, the jersey has a slim fit, but is not so tight that I had to size up. Again, I am comfortable recommending that the Mitchell and Ness Swingman runs true to size, but be sure to size up if you prefer a baggy fit.

Here is my medium Mitchell & Ness Swingman compared to a medium Hanes undershirt straight out of the package:

jersey-vs-shirt-mitchell-and-ness-swingman
jersey-vs-shirt-mitchell-and-ness-swingman-2

This is the current price of the Mitchell and Ness Swingman jerseys at NBAStore.com (affiliate link takes you to NBAStore.com). I would suggest checking those out because they offer some of the best NBA classic throwback jerseys.

If you want to read more about the Mitchell & Ness Swingman jerseys, visit my Mitchell and Ness Swingman Jersey Review.


How Do Mitchell and Ness Authentic Jerseys Fit?

Mitchell and Ness authentics are some of the most coveted NBA fan jerseys due to the style of some of these classic throwbacks, and the superstar players available.

Out of all the NBA jerseys I own, the Mitchell and Ness Authentic jerseys were the slimmest, and I actually had to size them up.

They are very slim through the chest and stomach areas. In most cases, you will likely need to size up. The Mitchell and Ness Authentic jerseys use a numerical sizing system instead of small-medium-large sizing system.

  • This is where you can access the official size chart for the Mitchell and Ness jerseys (affiliate link takes you to a Mitchell and Ness authentic product page at NBAStore.com). You should see a size chart linked above the available sizes.

According to the official size charts (and the jock tags on the jerseys) this is how the sizing works for the Mitchell and Ness Authentic jerseys:

  • Size 36 = Small
  • Size 40 = Medium
  • Size 44 = Large
  • Size 48 = XL
  • Size 52 = XXL
  • Size 56 = 3XL
  • Size 60 = 4XL
  • Size 64 = 5XL

I am usually a standard medium in all shirts, so I first ordered a size 40 for the Mitchell and Ness Authentic. It was skin tight through the chest and stomach.

I had to size up to a 44, which per the official size chart is the equivalent of a large. Because of that, my recommendation is to size up the Mitchell and Ness Authentics.

Again, the Mitchell and Ness Swingman jersey I did not have to size up. My medium fit just fine. But the authentic I had to size up to a large.

I do have a picture of my original size 40 Mitchell and Ness Authentic before I returned it for a size 44. Now remember, per the official size chart the size 40 should be the equivalent of a medium.

Here is my original size 40 Mitchell and Ness Authentic laying on top of my medium Mitchell and Ness Swingman jersey:

mitchell-and-ness-swingman-vs-authentic-jersey

As you can see, the gold size medium Swingman jersey underneath has about an inch extra of room in the chest and stomach areas than the size 40 (M) Authentic jersey does.

If you are going to buy a Mitchell and Ness Authentic jersey, based on my experience, I recommend sizing up.

Also, the Mitchell and Ness jerseys do run longer than the Nike Swingman NBA jerseys do, so expect plenty of length. Here I am wearing a size 44 (L) Mitchell and Ness Authentic (again, I’m normally a medium but had to size up):

mitchell-and-ness-authentic-jersey-review-front

Even though I had to size it up, it wasn’t incredibly loose even after sizing up. If you want a very loose-fitting jersey, you may need to size up 2 sizes.

Here is the original size 40 Authentic I bought (before I sized up) compared to a medium Hanes undershirt straight out of the package. The 40 was listed as the equivalent to a medium, but as you can see, it was slimmer than a medium t-shirt and I had to size up to a 44:

jersey-vs-shirt-mitchell-and-ness-authentic
jersey-vs-shirt-mitchell-and-ness-authentic-side
jersey-vs-shirt-mitchell-and-ness-authentic-side-2

Again, these Mitchell and Ness authentics are some of the most coveted jerseys available due to the style of some of these throwbacks, and the superstar players they offer in these jerseys.

If you want to read more about the Mitchell & Ness Authentic jerseys, visit my Mitchell and Ness Authentic Jersey Review.


Best NBA Jersey to Buy

As I said to start the article, the Nike Swingman is my recommendation for best NBA fan jersey when you factor in quality, price, and style.

But there are certain situations where I would recommend a different jersey. Here are my recommendations based on different scenarios:

  • Best Overall Fan Jersey – Again, I recommend the Nike Swingman because it has quality construction, looks very similar to the authentic jerseys, and is cheaper than the authentic jerseys.
  • Best Jersey Regardless of Price – Nike Authentic jerseys are the best jersey to buy if you are not worried about price. They have all the premium finishes and are true replicas of what the players wear (minus the sponsor logo).
  • Best Jersey on a Tight Budget – The Fanatics Brand Fast Break jerseys offer a quality jersey at a reduced price. If you are on a tight budget, I would suggest starting there. These jersey are not made by Nike, and do not have the premium finishes like the Nike jerseys do, but this helps keep cost down.
  • Best Fitting Jersey – The jersey that has the best fit, in my opinion, is the Mitchell and Ness Swingman jersey. Slim, but not too slim – still gives you room to breath.
  • Most Coveted NBA Jersey – The Mitchell and Ness Authentic jerseys are often the most coveted jerseys because they offer classic throwback jerseys for some of the past NBA superstars.

To learn more about how do NBA jerseys fit, visit our NBA jersey resource page.


Where to Buy NBA jerseys?

Click here to buy your NBA fan jerseys at NBAStore.com (affiliate link takes you to NBAStore.com). NBAStore.com is the official online shop of the NBA. You can buy with confidence from NBAStore.com knowing you are not getting scammed.

Paul Johnson

Paul has been with us from our beginnings. He focuses on a wide range of sports, including NFL, NBA, MLB and golf.

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