Basketball Style: Why Some College Players Opt for T-Shirts

Basketball is synonymous with style, from sneakers to headbands. Byt why do some college basketball players wear t-shirts?

Basketball Style: Why Some College Players Opt for T-Shirts

Basketball players wear t-shirts mainly for personal choice. There are no restrictions on college basketball t-shirts, as long as the color matches the color of the uniform. NBA players need a medical reason to wear t-shirts underneath their jersey.

I’m a sports enthusiast with 20 years of watching sports. I’ve always been interested in the reason that some college players choose to wear t-shirts rather than just a plain jersey. I’ve asked countless basketball players and have received what I feel like are comprehensive answers. 

College Vs. NBA

NBA players wear shirts only when medical necessity mandates it. 

For example, some t-shirts offer muscle support for injured players. 

These compression shirts offer muscle compression for shoulders, allowing the players to play with strained muscles. 

But if there is no medical necessity, NBA players are not allowed to wear a shirt underneath their jersey. 

College has much more leeway in terms of articles of clothing. As long as the t-shirt matches the color of the uniform, t-shirts are allowed to be worn. 

NBA players often long to wear t-shirts like they did in college, such as all time great Patrick Ewing did when he played in Georgetown. 

So Why Do College Players Wear TShirts?

There are a couple different reasons college ball players choose to wear t-shirts instead of just a plain jersey. 

Some reasons are obvious but others are not. 

The following list gives reasons as to why some players choose to wear t-shirts instead of just plain jerseys. 

Self Expression

One of the main reasons college basketball players choose to wear t-shirts is self expression and to show independence in choice. 

The t-shirt offers an opportunity for the player to display a message that would otherwise go unheard. 

The t-shirt offers the opportunity to display individuality, personality, and interest. 

Some players use the t-shirt as a chance to reflect their beliefs, values, or causes. 


These reasons can range from political justice and social justice issues, or to causes they support. 

The t-shirt offers a way for players to communicate who they are and what they believe.


Sometimes, a t-shirt is worn as a tribute to something or someone else. 

Something that the player considers significant in their life. 

Many players choose to honor a loved one, like a family member or a mentor. Other things that may be paid tribute to are significant events. 

Significant events are often paid tribute to by wearing a t-shirt. A t-shirt becomes a symbol of the connection to the people, places, and events that mean the most to them. 

Team Spirit

Team spirit is another reason why team members may opt to wear t-shirts underneath their jersey. 

Some colleges have a tradition of wearing matching t-shirts underneath their jersey during warm ups to show team solidarity. 

Matching t-shirts during warm ups is quite common in college basketball, and showing team spirit in any way possible is beneficial to add to team spirit. 

The t-shirt acts as a reminder that individuals on the team are part of a larger group and that teamwork above all will lead them to victory. 

This can help build camaraderie and create a positive visual spectacle for those watching on TV and in the stands.  


The last reason players may choose to wear t-shirts instead underneath their jerseys is that the t-shirt may provide comfort to the player. 

The t-shirt is a casual and comfortable clothing item that may make the player feel more at home in their stadium or another stadium. 

The t-shirt allows players to stay cool and relaxed during warm ups. The lightweight fabric prevents overheating and allows players to stay cool during and before the game. 

These are the main reasons college ball players wear t-shirts instead of plain jerseys. 

Plain jerseys are commonplace, but every now and then you’ll get a really good player wearing a t-shirt who stands out and makes you think, ‘why is he or she wearing a t-shirt’. 

Well, if you think that, you can be sure it’s for one of the reasons above.

Basketball 2

Why Do Basketball Players Wear Jerseys

The jersey was chosen as the official article of clothing for basketball for a number of reasons. 

The basketball jersey is an icon that spans recognition across the globe. 

The basketball jersey is a shirt without sleeves, and usually made of mesh. But why is the basketball jersey so popular? 

  • Comfort: Tank tops are often made of lightweight and breathable materials that provide a comfortable and cool feel during intense physical activity.
  • Breathability: The sleeveless design of tank tops allows for greater ventilation and helps players stay dry during the game.
  • Flexibility: Tank tops provide full range of motion and flexibility, which is important for the quick movements and high-flying jumps required in basketball.
  • Showcasing Arms: Tank tops allow players to show off their arm muscles and tattoos, which can be a source of personal pride and self-expression.
  • Style: Tank tops can be a stylish accessory for basketball players, and some teams or players have a tradition of wearing specific tank tops during warm-ups.
  • Personalization: Many players choose to wear tank tops with personal logos or graphics, allowing them to express their individuality and personality on the court.
  • Tradition: Some basketball teams have a tradition of wearing tank tops during warm-ups, creating a sense of unity and team spirit.
  • Convenience: Tank tops are easy to put on and take off, making them a convenient and practical choice for basketball players.

Basketball players wear jerseys for one of the reasons above. 

NBA players wear shirts sometimes because of health reasons, but mainly wear jersey’s. 

College basketball players wear shirts for a number of reasons as well, but usually for self expression or comfort. 

Sometimes basketball players wear vests in order to protect themselves, but this is not always the case. 

Athletes wear undershirts for a number of reasons, and that reason does not always have to be understood. 

Lebron James, for example, hates wearing undershirts and complains when shirts get in the way of his shooting.

It’s a good the nba rules won’t let nba players wear t-shirts underneath their jerseys. Lot’s of basketball players tuck their jerseys in as well, which could be considered a sort of fashion statement. 

Key Takeaways

  • Basketball players wear t-shirts mainly for personal choice.
  • NBA players wear shirts only when medical necessity mandates it. 
  • Players wear t-shirts for self expression, team spirit, comfort, and tribute. 
  • Jerseys were chosen for basketball for a number of reasons. 
  • Some players tuck their jerseys in. 

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