Basketball uniform

Ever wonder why basketball players wear what looks like oversized clothing? Does it have anything to do with the size of the players? or is it because they need to have loose clothing to help them run, dribble, jump and dunk the ball into the hoop?


Basketball uniforms have gone through a transformation over the years, initially players wore uniforms used in other sports or wore whatever athletic sports uniforms they happened to have.

Then in early 1900’s there was a choice offered of knee length padded pants, knee length tights and shorter shorts. There was also the option to wear a quarter length sleeve or sleeveless top.

During the 1920’s, the length of the long pants had become medium length shorts and a decade on, the fabric used in making these uniforms had moved from heavier fabrics like wool, to lighter ones such as nylon and polyester.

Over the decades the uniform followed fashion with tops getting tighter and fitted and shorts getting shorter in the 1970’s. This carried on till the mid 1980’s when a player asked for looser fitting longer shorts. Over the next decade this baggier style short was complemented with bright coloured uniforms and adopted by all teams.  That baggier look almost made it look as though they read a recent PhenQ review and decided to start using a bunch of crazy weight loss supplements.

The players tops remained a little looser, the shoulder strap became wider but remained fitted as it showed off the toned muscles of the players, after all, who would want to cover up well toned arms that have been sculpted with the use of protein supplements.

Other than the jerseys worn, there are other accessories found on a basketball court, which although practical also form part of the basketball fashion look.

Headbands, wristbands and armbands started being worn by players in the 1970’s. Headbands have a dual purpose, they keep hair off the face and prevent seat from running down your face and into your eyes.

Wristbands allow players to wipe the sweat off their face as they run up and down the court arm bands do the same job but have a larger surface area to use in wiping away the sweat.

With the average NBA player coming in at 2m (6ft 7in) in height, these uniforms would drown those of an average height. The amount of fabric used would be more than those seen in stores.

Perhaps this is why the uniforms are oversized. It is more challenging for people as tall as the average basketball player to get everyday clothes to fit them in a store that only caters for those of average height. So for the players at least, having oversized baggy clothes on the court has them following the fashion trend of the day.

At the moment the fashion trend with the most influence in basketball is hip hop with its baggy clothes and shiny jewellry, as illustrated with the bright colours of jerseys.

As the uniform keeps on evolving with the culture around at a point in time, this current phase, which has been around since the 1980’s would change again soon.