Whether attending a live NBA game or watching it from the comfort of your home, you probably notice the players covered with long-sleeved shirts or hooded jackets on the bench. The long-sleeved shirts and jackets are two of the most common types of warm-up clothes, simply called warm-ups.
Why do NBA players wear jackets while on the bench? Are there any scientific or anecdotal bases for doing so?
Why Do Basketball Players Put on Jackets on the Bench?
The topmost reason why NBA players wear jackets on the bench is to keep their muscles warm. At first glance, most spectators believe the players’ primary objective on the bench is to “cool down,” gather energy to enter the game and dry any perspiration on their bodies. While wiping off seething sweat is admirable and necessary to a degree, there are more things to worry about than sweat.
What things, for instance? Well, injury prevention is up there. The air conditioning and indoor setting of NBA venues can make the benches quite chilly. During interruptions in play, wearing a jacket helps athletes stay warm and regulate their body temperature, which prevents injuries.
Keeping the muscles warm is essential to prevent injuries. As a matter of fact, in addition to wearing warm-ups, NBA players often engage in warm-up routines and stretches while on the bench to ensure that their bodies remain loose and ready for action.
When players go to the bench, the muscles inevitably get cold and contract. Injuries can easily happen if the coaches tap their services again with contracted and cold muscles. That is why players wear NBA warm-up clothes.
Besides injury prevention, wearing warm-ups on the bench is also a handy way for teams to advertise their brand. For instance, hoodies, or hooded jackets, are sold as team merchandise, and there is no better endorsement for these items than seeing Stephen Curry, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant were them on the sidelines.
Does Wearing Jacket or Hoodies Help?
There is no clear-cut way to know if wearing jackets or hoodies helps because individual players vary. However, it’s important to note that NBA arenas can get gold during gamedays, especially during wintertime.
According to one estimate, the temperature in an NBA arena may vary from 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, which is more chilly than warm. Arenas with a hockey tenant may tend to be warmer than others who don’t. Cold muscles may become rigid, stiff, and inflexible.
Therefore, hoodies and jackets can greatly help in keeping a player warm. Warm muscles allow them to be ready every time their numbers are called. On top of that, Maintaining warmth around the injured area might be essential for athletes recuperating from injuries or managing pre-existing conditions to avoid setbacks and accelerate the healing process.
Aside from regulating their body temperature, here are the other benefits of wearing jackets while on the bench:
- Shows solidarity and professionalism. Wearing team-issued jackets helps maintain a sense of unity while putting the team’s image and brand in the forefront.
- Many basketball players are already used to wearing these types of clothing during games. This gives them a sense of psychological comfort, helping them get into the right mindset during games.
- Hoodies and long sleeves trap heat and moisture, preparing the player’s muscles for action when they take it off. If they continue to wear their shorts and shirt during breaks, they will significantly lose heat, resulting in cold muscles, and increasing the chances of a freak injury.
Are there Any Rules Regarding Bench Attire in the NBA?
Yes, absolutely. The NBA is a billion-dollar enterprise and wants its players to handle themselves with professionalism. The league’s dress code is one of the answers to the question, “Why do NBA players wear warm ups on bench?”
Although the dress code during the tenure of Commissioner David Stern has become less stringent, the NBA still requires players who are suiting up to wear team-issued warmups or shirts.
On top of that, the coaches are now allowed to wear quarter zips, “athleisure” clothing, and sneakers. Before, Stern put it into writing that coaches wear three-piece suits. Since the 2020 Bubble, Adam Silver allowed a more relaxed outfit, and that has since been the norm.
Most NBA coaches, primarily Monty Williams and Erik Spoelstra, favor leisure clothing over the more expensive suits. As they say, it’s more comfortable, makes them more mobile, and doesn’t make them stand out in any way.
The dress code imposed on inactive players has also significantly relaxed. Players who won’t be suiting up are no longer required to wear suits and ties.
Other Type of Warm Up Clothes NBA Players Wear
The sections have already mentioned hoodie jackets and long-sleeved shirts are the primary warmup gear of NBA players. Hoodies are the warmup clothing of choice by many and also serve as a fashion statement.
On the other hand, long-sleeved shirts, sometimes called shooting shirts, are designed to be loose and comfortable. These shirts can be worn on top of the jerseys without getting the shoulder area tight. This allows the players to keep warm during the shootaround.
What are the other commonly worn NBA warmup clothes? These are:
- Shooting Sleeves. Why do NBA players wear sleeves? Blame Allen Iverson. Iverson popularized the use of arm sleeves in 2001 because of bursitis on his right elbow and has since caught on. The sleeves offer compression and keep the shooting arm warm and have been regularly worn by players since 2008.
- Compression Gear. Since the NBA has banned tights, the players have worn long compressions sleeved on their legs that essentially serve as an alternative. They now wear compression shorts and piece them together with compression leg sleeves to make them look like “tights.” Why? It’s because there is anecdotal evidence that these compression gear improve circulation while providing support to injured muscles.
- Sweatpants and Joggers. In addition to the customary warm-up pants, some players choose to warm up in sweatpants or joggers for a looser, more comfortable fit. Of course, that is up to the individual players to decide.
- Sweatbands. Arm and wrist bands are typically used to wipe sweat off while doubling as a light compression gear. Other NBA players wear these bands as a fashion statement or simply a part of their basketball look. For example, Michael Jordan has been wearing a sweatband over his left arm, near the elbow.
Wrapping Things Up: Why Do NBA Players Wear Jackets While on the Bench?
NBA players are usually fashion influencers themselves. That is why fans see them wearing the best basketball outfits on the court, from custom-made Player Exclusive shoes to cool-looking hoodies and other fire basketball gear.
With this in mind, have you ever asked, “Why do NBA players wear jackets on the bench?” As good as these look, jackets and other warmup gear are more than just fashion statements. They keep the players warm since cold muscles could contract and get stiff, increasing the chances of injuries.
We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.