Why the NBA needs “Uniform”-ity

Melissa Hanson  Asst. News Editor

In the world of sports, what the players are wearing is never the first thing that comes to mind.  Fans would rather worry about the stats, performance, injuries, and trades of the players and their teams.  But, the fashion of national sports is not something that can be completely ignored.

There are 30 teams in the NBA.  Right now there are 60 different uniforms to be coordinated: both home and away jerseys.  Although the size of players ranges from 5’9” to 7’3”, game wear is identical for each team member.  Regardless of their size, each athlete steps on to the court in a uniform fashion… until your gaze lands upon their feet.

Why is it that each player can sport whatever shoe-wear his heart desires?  The immediate thought is that players who have signature shoes would want to wear them during games, and are obligated to wear them by those companies.  Maybe some more superstitious players have a “lucky pair.”  Others may argue that certain brands fit them more comfortably, and thus alter their performance.

At first the viewer might think, “Who cares what shoes they are wearing?”  But it is distracting.  Teams wear matching jerseys for uniformity and to avoid confusion on the court, so why wouldn’t they continue that uniformity with matching shoes?  They should keep their team spirit throughout their entire game wardrobe.  What kind of commitment does it show to put on a team jersey and then put on whatever shoes the player desires, even if they do not match team colors?  This seems like a lack of passion for the team.  The league should be more united rather than focused on individual players.

For the 30 teams in the NBA there are 19 brands of sneakers.  Although it may be noticed that different players sport different brands, 19 seems outrageous and unimaginable.  The average person should wonder how these shoes can be so different from each other.  Maybe one brand should be the official shoe of the NBA to promote the uniformity and passion that should already be present in the league.

Most teams wear four or five of the 19 brands of sneakers, according to Slam Online’s footwear database.  At a high there are six different brands represented among both the Nets and Kings teams, whereas both the Grizzlies and Mavericks athletes wear only two different brands.  Perhaps location plays into these statistics, as both the Grizzlies and Mavericks are a part of the southwest.

Whatever the reasoning is, the arbitrary shoe choice is distracting.

Take the All-Star game for example.  Most players wore colorful shoes that had no connection to their attire.  Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant both donned lime green sneakers.  The shoes were so vibrant that it was difficult to watch the game instead of the neon sneakers.  Although the All-Star game is not as serious as regular season ones, it is still a good example of the way players choose to showcase stylish sneakers rather than commit to the colors their team is dedicated to.

Viewers deserve to be able to focus on a basketball game and player should have more dedication and passion.  But, because of signature shoe deals and egos it appears that the NBA will continue to sport 19 different sneaker brands to the dismay of fans.