Why Are Basketball Shorts So Long | The Expert Guide

Basketball is a sport that requires strength and technique, but style is also very important. Pop culture has been influenced by how athletes dress, from the popularity of Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers to the length of NBA players’ shorts. Why Are Basketball Shorts So Long? Players used to frequently hike their shorts up as high as their thighs would allow. Now, that fashion decision is often mocked.

But when did that leaguewide tendency start to change? To put it another way, why did NBA players’ shorts lengthen? Also, when?

Enjoy a trip down memory lane as we look back at some of the most memorable basketball highlights from the past. Enjoy!

The History Of Basketball Shorts In The NBA

Since the early 1900s, basketball shorts have developed significantly. Back then, players wore padded pants rather than shorts!

Shorts were first worn in the NBA in the 1920s. It’s interesting to note that the players themselves desired the adjustment. They believed that the extra fabric made rapid cutbacks and jumps more difficult.

Compared to what we see today, these “short shorts” were considerably shorter. They didn’t even reach the thighs of the athletes.

Some of the biggest celebrities for wearing “short shorts” are athletes like Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, and Oscar Robertson. Through the 1970s and into the 1980s, the brief trend persisted; after that, things started to alter.

Michael Jordan: Basketball Shorts Trailblazer?

For improving NBA basketball, Jordan will always be remembered. The extent to which Jordan contributed to the evolution of basketball uniforms may surprise many of his followers.

MJ’s need for a longer short was explained by a few different factors. He was sick of constantly having to pull his shorts down while playing defense, so that was the first reason. Jordan didn’t think his clothing fit his playing style because the game was becoming more difficult and physical. Champion, the company that made the Bulls’ uniforms, accommodated His Airness because he was a star.

Jordan wanted to wear his University of North Carolina shorts underneath his Bulls shorts for good luck, which was the second reason. The shorts were initially too tight, but after adjusting the length, Jordan was a content hooper.

Why did the fab five wear baggy shorts?

Five collegiate basketball players from Michigan University were making waves at the same time that Michael Jordan was making news with his larger shorts. Ray Jackson, Jimmy King, Juwan Howard, Chris Webber, and Jalen Rose collectively made up The Fab Five. The Fab fives were all the rage in basketball and the NCAA. They dressed completely differently from everyone else in basketball at the time, donning loose shorts, black Nike socks, and black Nike high tops. They made basketball play look effortlessly cool. Just have a look at the income generated below to see how they also effortlessly make firms like Nike wealthy.

The Fab Five only wore plain blue t-shirts during warm-ups as a kind of protest against the widespread imitation of their fashion sense. This was done to draw attention to the difficulties faced by amateur athletes who cannot be paid or enter into apparel contracts.

Do NBA Players Still Wear Baggy Shorts?

Except for John Stockton, who wore tight shorts throughout the 1990s, NBA players adopted baggy shorts. Sportspeople typically dress in form-fitting uniforms to enable the best possible physical performance. Rugby players’ transition in the 1990s from baggy jerseys to tight-fitting shirts serves as an illustration of this. Conversely, NBA players were able to compete at the highest level possible while donning baggy shorts. Allen Iverson was a star NBA player known for wearing baggy shorts.

In today’s league, baggy shorts are less common due to the passage of time. In 2015, Lebron James transitioned from his baggy appearance to a more polished one, according to CBS.

He had his uniform shorts taken in by a few inches this season and had his jersey tailored to fit him more closely than in previous seasons. His desire to ditch the baggy appearance and place a renewed emphasis on professional appearance about the size of his uniform as well as his pregame and postgame apparel had been communicated to those close to him.

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All teams now dress professionally to help players develop the athletic ability they need to perform well during games. If not wearing baggy shorts gives a player a competitive edge, then

The “Death” of Short Shorts

Many people point to 2003 as a turning point in the history of short shorts. John Stockton, a member of the Utah Jazz and lover of short shorts, retired from the NBA this year. He had a legendary 19-year career that was characterized by his capacity to make the game as simple as possible while making the most of his dazzling white thighs.

The fact that Stockton didn’t break down any limits in the fashion industry was understandable given his traditional outlook. Although he leads the NBA in career assists, he will never appear on any passing highlight reels because the majority of his assists went to Karl Malone on easy drive-and-kick or pick-and-roll passes.

This photo of Stockton and fellow Hall of Fame running back Karl Malone demonstrates the lengths he would go to to keep those tight shorts from drooping too low to the knee.

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Why do basketball shorts get longer?

Before the 1990s, college basketball players lengthened their hips by pulling their shorts down around them. University of Michigan students started ordering shorts that were two to four inches longer because the jerseys wouldn’t stay tucked in.

Should basketball shorts be long?

The standard length for basketball shorts today appears to be 11 inches or thereabouts. Good coverage and mobility are combined in just above-the-knee shorts. Choose basketball shorts without built-in liners since you’ll typically wear them with compression underwear.

When did basketball stop wearing short shorts?

By the 1990s’ end, wearing short shorts was frowned upon. The final famous NBA exhibitor of upper-leg skin, Hall of Fame point guard John Stockton, retired in 2003, and they essentially disappeared. The best option was to wear longer shorts.

Why did Michael Jordan want longer shorts?

Jordan claims that the athletes were unable to grip the equipment because of the tight shorts that were being worn. As a result, the 14-time All-Star player went to Champion, the company that makes NBA uniforms, and requested that they make the shorts longer.


Your basketball attire may speak more about your sense of style than its practicality. However, players in the league would be wise to wear shorter shorts for performance reasons. My prediction is that the younger players in the league will continue to wear the uniforms they wore in high school and college when they join the NBA. That suggests that we’ll likely see some vintage John Stockton short films. Who is currently having the last laugh?

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