When watching an NBA game, you may see individual players wear tights and arm sleeves on the court. Basketball players wearing compression tights during games may seem odd initially, but there are health benefits to this look. Below, you will learn about what compression garments are and why NBA players wear them during games.
Read Also: Why Do NBA Players Wear Sleeveless Jersey?
Why do NBA players wear compression?
The NBA has a strict dressing code for how players must look on the court whether they are playing or not. That is why you can often find college players dressing differently from NBA players. For instance, most college players wear t-shirts under their jerseys but NBA players don’t. Although you might have noticed few players like Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers who is an exemption to that rule.
NBA doesn’t allow its player to wear t-shirts under their jersey so what you see Anthony Davis wear all the time is actually a compression shirt. What is a compression shirt and why do some players wear them often? You’re about to find out in this video. And if you’re new to this channel, hit the like button and subscribe for more interesting NBA-related videos.
Basketball players wear compression tights to keep their muscles warmer throughout the game. This is a huge benefit because it makes the players less likely to suffer a muscle strain. Severe muscle strains can cause a basketball player to miss several games, so preventing them is key.
The tradition of wearing a t-shirt under the uniform became popular among college players in the 1980s because of Patrick Ewing. The basketball Hall of Famer claimed that he started wearing t-shirts under his Georgetown university jersey because of the cold. He had one of the most successful college careers of all time and was selected by the New York Knicks with the first overall pick in the 1985 NBA draft. Ewing wanted to continue this tradition with the New York Knicks but NBA denied his request. However, things have changed and the NBA has relaxed some of its rules, which now allow players to wear compression shirts under their jerseys.
This tradition started during the 2005-06 NBA season when players like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James began wearing tights under their shorts. They claimed that these tights and sleeves helped to keep their legs warm and improve their performance. The league frowned at this practice at first but decided to allow players with medical needs to use them. This soon became popular and players like Allen Iverson started wearing compression sleeves on their arms. Now, most players wear these sleeves all the time as well as compression shirts under their jerseys.
Compression shirts are made with materials designed to stretch for fit but provide pressure against the body. Most players wear them under their jerseys because it helps them absorb sweat, keep the body warm, prevent injury, and enhance performance. The muscles usually tighten up when there is cold and this might affect a player’s performance.
Also, because of the intense level of activity involved in basketball, players sweat profusely and this can make them uncomfortable. However, with a compression shirt, a player can keep his body dry and cool at all times. Beyond the reasons mentioned already, compression gears have also gained popularity because of their medical benefits.
Firstly, compressions gears increase the level of oxygen delivered to the muscles, which in turn lead to better performance. If you’ve ever played basketball, you’ll understand that it is very strenuous and it can make you tired quickly. The tiredness is because the muscles have used up most of the oxygen available. Compression gears prevent this by increasing the volume of blood supplied to the muscles, which in turn make more oxygen available.
Another important benefit that they have is that they can shorten the period of muscle recovery during and after a game. Players often experience muscle fatigue during games and workouts, which may affect their level of performance. However, with the muscles in place, it can prevent injuries and muscle pulls. Over the years, we’ve seen several NBA players wear compression shirts but it seems some cannot do without it.
But Anthony Davis comes first on the list of the most notorious compression shirt wearer in the league. Because of that, some curious people have flooded forums with this particular question, “Why does Anthony Davis wear that compression shirt every game?” Well, this is because he has suffered several injuries right from his rookie season. He revealed that he had a torn labrum in his left shoulder since his rookie season but he didn’t go for surgery immediately.
When the pain got worse, AD started wearing a compression shirt to help him stabilize his ailing shoulder. So when next you see him playing with a shirt under his jersey, you should know that he’s not doing it for fashion. Do you know any other NBA players who wear compression shirts in every game? Drop their names in the comment below. Although there are people who believe that compression shirts do not improve players’ performance.
However, it has become entrenched as part of the NBA’s standard look and players now wear it fashionably by matching it with the color of their jerseys. Even though many of them don’t wear compression with sleeves like Anthony Davis, they often wear sleeveless ones.
Dallas Mavericks swingman Jerry Stackhouse is widely seen as the pioneer of this practice, relying on a pair of runners’ tights throughout last season’s playoffs to combat a longstanding groin injury.
What kind of compression do NBA players wear?
¾ compression pants
You’ll notice most NBA players sport ¾ compression pants; well, that’s because they get all the benefits of full-length pants, but their ankles are less restricted.
The guys in the NBA don’t mess around with their feet. They change out sneakers, typically every 2-5 games, to ensure that their performance doesn’t falter because of their footwear.