Basketball is a sport that is constantly changing and evolving every year. The adaptive style of basketball is true for both the rules of the game and the fashion of its players. Why do basketball players wear baggy shorts? Keep reading to find out.
Why Do Players Wear Baggy Shorts?
The biggest reason why players wore baggy shorts is for fashion. Much like the armband in American football, the choice to wear particularly baggy shorts is motivated more by personal preference and style than any real impact on performance. While the choice of baggy shorts is primarily cosmetic, it does afford certain luxuries during play that are arguably better than higher-inseam shorts.
Among these benefits are greater comfort and the ability to wear additional garments underneath the baggy shorts. An example of this is Michael Jordan wearing his college basketball shorts underneath his team-issued Chicago Bulls shorts as a good luck charm.
Aside from aesthetics and comfort, the influence of big-name players such as Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal adopting baggy shorts on basketball clothing was massive. These players played a huge role in the cosmetic aspect and popularity of basketball and, as such, played a pivotal role in the prevalence of baggy shorts.
When Were Baggy Shorts Most Popular in Basketball?
The popularity of basketball shorts being long and baggy began in the early 1980s, and NBA shorts reached their longest length in the early 2000s. Prior to Michael Jordan requesting baggier shorts from manufacturers, players wore short-shorts or thigh-high shorts as the NBA league standard. The trend displayed in the years between 1980 and 2003 shows an increasing inseam length in the industry standard basketball apparel, reaching a maximum inseam of 11 inches.
The peak year for long inseams was 2003, when players were seen wearing shorts that would hang well below the knee and even down to the mid-shin. The 2010s saw a gradual reduction in the length of the garments worn by players and the re-emergence of shorts in active court play.
Do Players Still Wear Baggy Shorts?
Many professional and college basketball players still wear baggy shorts in the present day. However, there is a developing trend hinting at the return of shorter-length shorts on the court. This potential resurgence started in the mid-2010s, with college teams such as Rhode Island and Michigan opting for thigh-high shorts as the standard for the 2018 NCAA Tournament finals.
Additionally, modern NBA superstars, such as LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Tyler Herro, and Kelly Oubre Jr., have been seen practicing in or playing in traditional basketball short-shorts. If these basketball icons have the same way as the ones who came before them and influenced the trend towards baggy shorts, then it is fairly safe to assume that the trend could go in reverse, and shorter shorts may come back in vogue in the NBA in a major way.