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LeBron James’ No. 23 Lakers jerseys sold prematurely at NBA Store

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A bunch of fans walked away with the very first LeBron James No. 23 Los Angeles Lakers jerseys on Friday afternoon, after employees in the NBA Store in Manhattan put them out for what sources say was for less than an hour.

When it was communicated that James had yet to sign his contract, the jerseys were pulled from the racks -- but not before some fans purchased them.

"Due to tremendous fan interest, the LeBron James Lakers jerseys were prepared to be put on sale at the NBA Store upon an announcement by the team," an NBA spokesperson said, in a statement. "Mistakenly, they were placed on shelves prematurely."

Jerseys can be pre-sold online as soon as a contract is agreed to in principle. The James jerseys were available online roughly 30 minutes after he made his announcement.

Free agents were allowed to sign their contracts after noon ET on Friday. If they hadn't, jerseys bought cannot be shipped and no jerseys can be sold until a player's contract is signed.

James won't wear the style of jersey sold prematurely on Friday because it will be changing before the start of the season, a source told ESPN.

LeBron James' No. 23 Lakers jerseys sold prematurely at NBA Store

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