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Nike, Reebok squares off over sales of Tebow jerseys


If you thought Pump vs. Air Jordan was the main event of the Reebok and Nike battle of the titans, think again.

Have you bought a potentially unauthorized Tim Tebow jersey? C'mon ... be honest.
Have you bought a potentially unauthorized Tim Tebow jersey? C'mon ... be honest. (Mary Altaffer/Associated Press)

The two mega sports apparel companies have entered litigation over what Nike believes was the unauthorized distribution of New York Jets Tim Tebow jerseys by Reebok, according to The Associated Press.

The Tebow trade went down in a gray area between the end of Reebok's partnership with the NFL and the beginning of Nike's five-year exclusive deal with the league. Nike, Inc. claimed in a lawsuit in U.S. District Court that Reebok International Ltd. shipped large volumes of Tebow apparel to retailers, hurting Nike's chance to capitalize on a "unique and short-lived opportunity."

Nike worries -- rightly so -- that by the time their new authorized products (including Tebow jerseys) hit the market in April, consumers who have already purchased a No. 15 Jets jersey won't buy another.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, claims Reebok misappropriated publicity rights, interfered with business relationships and unjustly enriched itself because it failed to get Tebow's permission before launching the new products.

We take two things from this: 1) When two massive American companies sue each other, it's Lawyer Christmas. And 2) All roads lead back to Tebow. Spiritual, litigious and everything in between.