The NBA has been around for a long time, 76 years to be exact. Throughout these years, fashion trends and gaming accessories have continued to evolve among gamers – some stuck and some didn’t quite stick, and some were banned by the league. From wearing gold chains during games to wearing sneakers that are supposed to boost athletes’ jumps and speed, the NBA has imposed bans it says are detrimental to the league. As you can see, the bans aren’t just for people they think will give the organization a bad namethis also applies to various items that NBA players wear for the game.
In this article, we will look at items that have been banned by the NBA. We will try to dig deeper into why the league decided to ban said items and what the impact has been on the league since then.
9. Dwyane Wade’s Band-Aid
The NBA has banned Dwyane Wade, and all members of the league, from wearing a bandage on his face unless it’s for health purposes. This trend was made famous by American rapper Nelly as a fashion statement. As for The Flash, he first got a cut on his left cheek which prompted him to wear the bandage. However, after his recovery, the three-time NBA champion continued to wear it as a fashion trend in which he used a printed version that shows the American flag, his nickname “Flash” and even his own last name” Wade”.
Unfortunately, in 2009 the NBA decided to ban fashionable bandages from being worn if not for medical purposes.
“A player may wear a bandage for medical purposes, but it must not bear a name or identification.” said then-NBA spokesman Tim Frank.
8. Air Jordan 1 “forbidden” black and red
In 1984, the NBA fined Michael Jordan $5,000 every time he wore his first signature shoe, the Air Jordan 1. This caused controversy across the league, but it sparked the interest of many sneakerheads at that time. The league’s decision to fine Jordan was because the shoe’s colors, black and red, violated NBA uniform rules. It even got to the point that the organization wrote a letter to Nike in February 1985 saying black and red shoes were banned.
Nike eventually took advantage of the controversy to promote the Jordan brand and increase shoe sales. Today, the Jordan 1 Banned or Bred as it is now known is one of the most famous shoes in sneakerhead culture.
It’s safe to say that Michael Jordan and Nike‘s persistence in wearing the shoe and dealing with the ‘banned’ controversy really helped the shoe and helped shed light on how the Air Jordan brand became what that she is today.
7. Gold chains
In the 70s and 80s, a number of big-name players wore gold chains during games. The likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Nate Thurmond, Darryle “Chocolate Thunder” Dawkins and Michael Jordan – who he made famous in the 1985 NBA Dunk Contest.
Unfortunately for players who liked to wear chains and pendants during games, the NBA eventually banned the wearing of chains on the field as it appeared to be a choking hazard for athletes and the league decided it might do more harm than good. .
A durag is a form-fitting cloth that is tied around the top of the head and provides multiple benefits such as accelerating the development of long curly hair, waves and highlights, retaining natural oils in the hair and breakage stop. The durag is popular in African American culture as many people wear it as a fashion choice.
Unfortunately, in the NBA, he made a brief appearance before being banned by the league. In 2000, then-Indiana Pacers center Sam Perkins wore a durag during an NBA preseason game. Shortly after, the league identified it as a potential safety hazard and banned players from wearing the accessory during the game. As for Perkins, he made history as the first and only NBA player to wear a durag during an NBA game.
5. Athletic Propulsion Lab Sneakers
During the 2000s, the rise of colorful and flashy sneakers became the norm in the league. Brands such as AND1 and Reebok have released eye-catching shoes that have certainly caught the attention of many fans and gamers.
Among these dazzling shoes was a sneaker that claimed to increase the vertical leap of the wearer. This shoe came from Athletic Propulsion Labs (APL) and they named it Concept 1. The feature of the shoe was that of hot water, called “Load ‘N Launch®” technology.
Unfortunately, for the APL, the NBA banned the shoes before the 2010-2011 season because it goes against the league’s rule that it gives players an “unfair competitive advantage”. Curiously, the ban came during the 25e NBA anniversary banning Nike’s black and red Air Jordan 1 shoes.
4. Reverse logo headband
The headband has been an NBA staple for many years now. Many players wear it for many reasons, whether it’s for sweat control, injury, a sense of comfort, to hide their hairline (sorry, LeBron!), or just for fashion.
However, two-time NBA champion Rajon Rondo started wearing the upside-down NBA logo headband when he was with the Boston Celtics. Unfortunately, in 2010 the NBA created a new rule prohibiting players from wearing their headbands upside down.
3. Ninja Headbands
Continuing with headbands, in the 2018-19 season NBA players such as Jimmy Butler, Jrue Holiday, Mike Scott, Montrezl Harrell, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Jarrett Allen all wore “ninja-style headbands”. It has quickly become a fashion craze in the basketball world as it offers a way to help you hold your hair up and look stylish while doing it.
Unfortunately, the NBA quickly banned it for the 2019-20 season and beyond, citing safety concerns and saying the headgear is not part of the NBA uniform and has no not been through the league’s approval process. Many players and fans appealed the league’s decision, but it was ultimately wasted because no one in the NBA ever wore it during a game.
2. Black carbon fiber masks
Many players wear face masks after sustaining a facial injury so they can play again while protecting their face and risk re-aggravating the injury. Rip Hamilton popularized the use of this accessory when he started wearing it after an injury.
However, players such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kyrie Irving wore a black version of the mask – a la Batman – and the league didn’t like it. Shortly after, the NBA asked players to switch to a more traditional transparent mask once available, and the players agreed.
1. Brand logos anywhere other than in shoes
In 2013, then-New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert sported his usual box-style haircut with a twist, it included the logo of sportswear brand Adidas. This got him in trouble with the league and he immediately ditched the logo haircut.
In 2017, the likes of JR Smith and Kelly Oubre wore compression sleeves branded with the lifestyle skateboarding and apparel brand’s logo. Supreme. Additionally, Smith also tattooed the brand’s logo on his right leg. Speaking of tattoos, the NBA asked point guard Lonzo Ball to cover their family’s Big Baller Brand tattoo.
According to the NBA, the only item players can wear a commercial logo is their shoes.
That being said, were you surprised at the number of prohibited items in the league?