Heat fans who think they are getting a great deal on team merchandise bought in some online stores and from certain vendors may not be buying the real thing.
The official Dwyane Wade Miami Heat jersey costs $275, and consumers who are trying to avoid paying that much often end up with counterfeit reproductions.
The fact that the Heat have made it into the NBA Finals has brought attention to the counterfeit market.
"Well, first of all, it's illegal. You're not supporting local businesses who are playing by the rules, paying federal, state and local taxes," said Erik Levin, the vice president and intellectual property counsel for the NBA. "Also, you're getting an inferior product. You go and you wash that product and next thing you know, you wash it, and it's two sizes smaller. It'd bled. It's faded. It's ruined your other clothes. And you don't have that lasting memento."
Anything from an authorized retailer will have the official NBA hologram and hangtag.
"We can't go out with any fake jerseys or nothing like that. Come on, this is the big finals right here. Gotta get the authentic,” said Isaiah Wallace as he shopped at Sports Authority in Aventura.
As Wallace shopped, Store Manager Marcel Rivera explained the difference between a fake jersey and an authentic one.
"Here, you're going to get the quality of the stitching,” Rivera explained while showing off a $90 Chris Bosh jersey.
The counterfeits are not always easy to spot, so look out for colors that look a little off, tickets that may be missing, irregular stitching or markings, and feel for the condition of the material.
The real deal doesn't have to cost a fortune. At Sports Authority, t-shirts start at $20; Bosh's black jersey with iron on lettering runs about $50; and, the real replica of Wade's jersey with very specific stitching should be less than a $100.
The NBA said fake items are popping up online in addition to areas around the American Airlines Arena.
“When you get around to the NBA Conference Finals and the Finals, it's one of those things where people want to take advantage of the excitement that fans have," said Levin.
But there are always those trying to save a buck.
"Sorry I can't do it, it's against the law," said Kevin Cash of “Shirts R Us” in Hallandale Beach as he described those who request he make them fake Heat gear.
Cash is not licensed to sell NBA apparel, but that doesn't stop people from prying into the possibility of illegal printing.
“I get some really disappointed faces. They seem surprised, like, ‘You just can't make me a LeBron jersey?’ 'Can't do it, sorry guys,'” said Cash.
The NBA says about $600 billion to $700 billion are lost annually because of the counterfeit market.
Since 1993, the NBA has seized 10 million pieces of counterfeit merchandise, valued at more than $369 million.