Skip to Content

What Do Basketball Players Wear Under Their Jerseys?

What Do Basketball Players Wear Under Their Jerseys?

What Do Basketball Players Wear Under Their Jerseys?

It’s not uncommon to see an NBA player wearing a t-shirt of some kind underneath their jersey.  Typically, a white or black t-shirt outline will be seen coming out from the jersey.  However, a common question we often get is, are basketball players, specifically those in the NBA, allowed to wear t-shirts under their jerseys?  And what type of t-shirt do basketball players wear under their jerseys?

While each player is, obviously, different, there are some commonalities in their choice of clothing that they wear beneath their jerseys.  NBA players are, after all, always looking  for ways to enhance their game and for ways to increase their performance and reduce their recovery times.

Are NBA Players Allowed to Wear a T-Shirt Under Their Jerseys?

The short and sweet answer is yes, NBA players are allowed to wear a t-shirt under and beneath their jersey.

However, this has not always been the case.  In fact, it was common to see NBA players playing on the court with only their jerseys on.  And while many players continue to play with only a jersey on, there is growing acceptance amongst players that wearing a t-shirt beneath the jersey may be helpful.

In fact, NBA uniforms have evolved significantly over the years.

For instance, the short-shorts of the 1980’s grew out of fashion due to none other than the great Michael Jordan.  As both an ode to his North Carolina roots and the comfort provided by longer shorts, Jordan pushed Champion, then the official outfitter of the NBA,  to widen and lengthen the shorts.

Jordan would wear his North Carolina Tar Heels practice shorts beneath his Chicago Bulls uniform and this change benefited him greatly. 

In addition, Jordan was prone to tug on his shorts during particularly intense periods of the game from tiredness.  Thus, providing extra room in the shorts allowed for him to hunch over and grab the material.  

Jordan himself would state, “It’s just something that seemed more natural, more comfortable to me.  They felt great.”

As the NBA began to loosen its rules and regulations surrounding the width and length of players shorts, more and more players began to explore additional clothing pieces. 

What Kind of Shirt is Worn Beneath a Players Jersey?

While players across the league began to coopt differing styles and t-shirts beneath their jerseys, a clear favorite emerged nearly immediately.  That is the compression shirt.

The compression shirt is a type of shirt that, although stylish, is chosen due to its physical and health benefits.  Compression shirts are worn under a jersey because it has been shown to help absorb sweat, prevent injury, and can enhance a player’s performance on the court.

Furthermore, compression shirts have been shown to:

  • Increase the level of oxygen delivered to the muscles
  • Shorten the period of time for muscle recovery after workouts and games
  • Can increase performance by reducing muscle fatigue both during and after games
  • Can help to avoid stress and muscle pulls by holding muscles in place
  • Can be utilized as an added layer of protection against cuts and scrapes during the game
  • Increases blood flow within the body, thus shortening the time needed to fully recover

What are the Best Compression Shirts?

There are, without a doubt, a number of compression shirts available for basketball players to purchase online.  Typically, however, these compression shirts are all similar and will complete the job and help you to void injury and to reduce overall soreness and help to quicken recovery times.

However, there are two brands that we have used and thoroughly enjoyed.

Esteem ApparelEsteem Apparel is the original chest slimming undershirts made for men.  These shirts are made for men who suffer from gynecomastia, or simply, man-boobs.  This condition can be devastating to a man’s confidence and Esteem Apparel has helped countless men move past the problem. 

But these shirtscan also help men in other areas, specifically with their compression technology.

Esteem Apparel’s shirts are extra tight, allowing for a compressed feel.  But they do so while not feeling constricted or restrained. 

Although originally designed and manufactured to help with men’s confidence, specifically for men with gynecomastia, Esteem Apparel is a great choice and option for any basketball player looking to take advantage of compression shirts to increase their basketball output and efficiency.

Another great option is the Under Armour men’s compression shirt.  Similar in technology and design as the Esteem Apparel, these compression shirts are a bit more comfortable and not as tight.  Although we personally prefer a little bit looser, the Esteem Apparel is a great choice for anyone looking for extra tight compression shirts.