Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

NBA champion LeBron James rocks an American-made Homage t-shirt.

After leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA championship, LeBron James made a fashion statement when arriving home. He got off the plane in Ohio wearing an Ultimate Warrior shirt (and a Kermit the Frog Muppet hat).

This might not appear like anything until it is put into context. The Ultimate Warrior was a popular professional wrestler in the late 80’s and 90’s; and the team James and the Cavs had defeated was the Golden State Warriors. The shirt choice could potentially have been a coincidence, but the hat was a tip-off; it referred to a popular social media meme featuring Kermit sipping tea that suggests whomever sharing it was, umm, right all along.

Combined with his Ultimate Warrior shirt, LeBron James was making a statement.

Cleveland Cavalier fans showed up in large numbers to support their winning team as they returned, and they quickly noticed the shirt, leading to #UltimateWarrior trending on social media. These loyal fans even scaled the side of a parking garage to get a better glimpse of LeBron at the Cavalier parade.

But not only did LeBron’s shirt impact support for their team, it also helped boosts sales for a company who keeps their products Made in Ohio.

Meet Homage

Homage is an apparel company specializing in graphic t-shirts that values the fact that its products are American-made. Keeping those products made locally is important to who they are; Homage representative stated, “we will do everything we can to keep it Made in the U.S.A., for it is something that resonates with us and our customers.”

The Ultimate Warrior shirt LeBron wore is not the first Homage shirt he has worn. Other pictures were snapped of him in the midst of the NBA Finals while wearing an Undertaker shirt (another popular professional wrestler, for those not in the know) -- also made by the company. Yet despite his tacit endorsement, Homage claims to “have no credit to do with LeBron James wearing our products, but we are happy for his support.”

Maybe LeBron isn’t just a fan of their shirts, but of Ohio.

During his brief star turn in the 2015 film Trainwreck, he promoted his love for his hometown: “Cleveland, Ohio? What, you mean the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Or maybe go down to Canton for the Football Hall of Fame. You know Superman was created in Cleveland?”

As for Homage, their store focuses on stories. “Stories create communities and you bring together people who value the same thing,” a representative said. “Being a part of that process allows you to become a small piece of whatever that story is. Without every one of those stories going behind a graphic, the graphic would be meaningless.”

Keeping the shirts that tell those stories American-made is something we hope Homage will continue to do. You can check out the Ohio-based company online here.