Sources: Nike studying why LeBron James' jersey split down middle in opener

Nike officials spent much of Wednesday investigating a wardrobe malfunction on its highest-paid active NBA player spokesman.

Although Nike officials declined to publicly comment, sources told ESPN that executives with the shoe and apparel giant were extensively reviewing why the back of LeBron James' jersey split down the middle on Tuesday night.

When Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown grabbed at James' jersey while defending him, the jersey tore, separating the Nos. 2 and 3 on the back of his Cleveland Cavaliers uniform. The NBA's Last 2 Minute report, issued Wednesday evening, said that Brown should have been called for a foul on the play.

The NBA jerseys were being worn for the first time in a regular-season game, as Nike outbid Adidas to win the rights to be the league's official uniform supplier. The company signed an eight-year deal that sources say is worth approximately $1 billion.

The incident is drawing more eyeballs because it's the second time a Nike NBA jersey tore. In the preseason opener on Oct. 1, Los Angeles Lakers guard Tyler Ennis had his jersey ripped, and the 0 in his No. 10 uniform was left hanging.

Nike doesn't bear sole responsibility for the making of the jersey. While the company makes the materials and provides blank uniforms to the squads, it often is the team's responsibility to find a vendor to custom-stitch the names and numbers on the official jerseys.

This summer, Nike boasted its NBA jerseys would wick sweat 30 percent faster than the previous jerseys made by Adidas, thanks to a product it calls Alpha Yarns and recycled polyester.

It wasn't a completely new fabrication. The company used jerseys of a similar makeup for last year's Summer Olympics in Brazil and with some select college basketball teams during last season with no issues.

James' torn jersey itself, which was being looked at to find any unforeseen issues, is being auctioned by the NBA, along with other jerseys from opening night, with the proceeds going to hurricane-relief efforts. As of 7 p.m. ET Wednesday, bidding was at $7,960. The auction closes on Oct. 26.

James has a lifetime deal with Nike that is expected to be worth at least $1 billion. He wore his 15th Nike signature shoe for the first time in a regular-season game in Tuesday night's 102-99 win over the Celtics.

Shoe and apparel malfunctions are not common, though three players -- Manu Ginobili, Andrew Bogut and Tony Wroten -- had their Nike shoes come apart during games in 2014.