Giant wraps cover buildings at Champions Square ahead of the NBA All Star game. The clingy wraps allow workers inside to see out and are removed without leaving residue.

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD

With the NBA All-Star Game set to take place in New Orleans on Sunday, league officials this week warned fans against buying — or selling — "unauthorized and poorly made knock-off merchandise."

A statement from the NBA said the league would work closely with federal, state and local authorities to enforce laws prohibiting the sale of counterfeit merchandise as well as unauthorized vending of authentic gear throughout All-Star weekend.

The NBA urged fans to take the following precautions, which form part of the league's anti-counterfeiting program:

  • Look for the hologram sticker or holographic hangtag as well as a sewn-in or screen-printed label identifying an NBA licensee, such as adidas, Stance or Mitchell & Ness.
  • Pass on apparel with ripped tags or irregular markings.
  • Shop at league-authorized locations, such as the NBA Store -- A Fanatics Experience, located at the Smoothie King Center, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, the Royal Sonesta New Orleans and InterContinental New Orleans, rather than buying from street vendors or flea markets.
  • Shoppers can also go online at NBAStore.com.

The NBA cited a 2013 study by Frontier Economics which estimated that the global, annual value of international and domestic trade in counterfeit and pirated goods was between $710 billion and $970 billion. The study found such items were directly responsible for the loss of more than 2 million jobs annually.

"We must remember that counterfeiting is not a victimless crime," said a statement from Raymond R. Parmer Jr., special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's homeland security investigations in New Orleans. "It costs U.S. businesses billions of dollars each year while severely impacting American jobs."

According to the NBA, through its membership in the Coalition to Advance the Protection of Sports Logos, or CAPS, the league has been involved in the seizure of more than 11 million pieces of counterfeit merchandise since 1992. That equates to a value of more than $425 million, the NBA said.

Sunday's All-Star Game will be at the Smoothie King Center, which will also host related activities on Friday and Saturday. There will be a celebrity game on Friday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Follow Ramon Antonio Vargas on Twitter, @RVargasAdvocate.