Basketball Apparel

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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It may make purists cringe, but the fact is that basketball apparel has become a significant part of the game of hoops. From little leagues all the way on up to the pros, the shorts, jerseys, and shoes that players wear are as much about fashion as they are about function. This represents a dramatic change of philosophy from that of 1891, the year in which basketball debuted--at least in the form we know it today.

Why the sudden attention on basketball apparel? Much of the focus is simply a function of marketing and the now worldwide spread of the game. More global fans means more stuff to buy and, consequently, more revenues for the NCAA, the NBA, and the WNBA. This isn't simply a cynical take on basketball commerce, but a matter of fact. Naysayers need only witness the rise of professional hoops as a spectator sport in Eastern Europe (it's been popular in Western Europe for some time now), the Middle East, Africa, Australia, South America, and--thanks in part to the Yao phenomenon--the Far East as well.

Rules about Basketball Apparel

In your own backyard, be like Mike and wear those baggy shorts down around your knees. In the NBA, however, the rules about basketball apparel state that shorts may not extend beyond an inch above the knee cap, though it seems this is widely ignored. Jerseys come in two varieties, the "home" and "away" versions, and each team is well-stocked with both. It's unlikely that your prep team will be afforded this same luxury, though many youth leagues do opt for reversible uniforms that can fill both roles.

There is no explicit rule in the NBA saying that high-top shoes must be worn, but given the demands placed upon players' ankles and feet during a 48-minute game, it'd be foolish not to wear them. Even youngsters should err on the side of caution and lace up their high-tops to reduce the chance of injury. No matter how careful you are on the court, it's entirely too easy to come down on another player's foot or ankle or have him come down on yours.

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