Why Do Basketball Players Shave Their Legs? (5 Reasons)

Why does it seem like a lot of basketball players don’t have hair on their legs?

Is it for style? Do they just want to show off or are there more to this than what we know?

Basketball players shave their legs to reduce skin drag to become more agile. It can also be for hygienic purposes, to show off their tattoos, and to reduce distractions when playing.

But aside from their legs, do they also shave their armpits? We answer your most burning questions in this article.

Why do Basketball Players Shave their Legs?

If you just watch any basketball game, you’ll notice that a lot of the players don’t have body hair especially in the legs.

But what exactly is the reason for this? Are they just for style?

After a thorough research, we found out the most common reasons. Here are they:

1. To become more agile/reduce drag

Like with most sports, athletes sweat heavily throughout the game. Basketball players are not exempted as they jump, run, dribble, defend, and do acrobatic plays all the time.

So, they will sweat heavily throughout the game. Most players believe that having hair in the legs will let it accumulate the dirt, sweat and other things that will slow them down.

So, the solution is to just shave their legs to reduce drag so they can become faster. While there haven’t been a lot of scientific studies on the effectiveness of leg shaving in basketball, there are some for sports like cycling and swimming.

2. For hygienic purposes

Professional basketball players are frequently subjected to the limelight. Their bodies are their tools which are regularly broadcasted on TV.

So, it makes sense for a lot of them to shave their legs for hygienic purposes. They want to be clean to prevent any disease that would hinder them from playing.

Plus, having shaved legs just looks cleaner on TV especially for the NBA which has millions of fans worldwide.

Although there’s nothing wrong with body hair, a lot of players are just more comfortable playing knowing that they look presentable.

3. To show off their tattoos

A lot of NBA players have tattoos in different parts of their bodies. A lot of their tattoos are in their legs, so they shave their legs to show them off.

After all, what’s the use of tattoos if they’re not seen by you and everyone around you?

Since NBA players love getting tattoos, body hair will just get in the way of showing off their art. And we all know that a lot of players love to show off in any way they can.

4. They don’t want any distractions

When you’re playing in a basketball game, any distraction can be deadly. Just one look at the crowd and the player you’re guarding can vanish.

When it’s time for a game, basketball players would usually put away distracting things. Their 100% focus is warranted in the game they’re playing.

But for some players, having unshaved legs will just distract them. Sweat can get into it, and they can sometimes get itchy when worn with high socks and sleeves.

So, instead of risking their focus, they would just shave their legs, so they don’t become a distraction in the game. 

5. For a better massage/equipment experience

A lot of professional basketball players would get massages before and after games. But if you have body hair the masseuse will usually rip them out.

They do this so they can better massage all your body parts. Plus, the massage will hurt more if there are a lot of body hair on the skin.

So, instead of the masseuse ripping it out, players would just shave beforehand.

Aside from having a smooth massaging experience, they also benefit from a smooth leg when they wear sleeves and socks.

Having body hair will sometimes cause friction and can get stuck on the fabrics of the socks. This can get uncomfortable and even painful.

Why do Basketball Players Shave their Armpits?

Basketball players also commonly shave their armpits due to numerous benefits. We’ve narrowed them down to these ones:

  • For hygienic purposes
  • To reduce body odor
  • To reduce drag caused by sweat
  • To appear cleaner

Basically, a lot of players who shave their legs also shave their armpits. They would basically include all their body hair so they can maximize the benefits.

How to Shave Your Body Hair Properly?

If you’re a basketball player and you want to shave your body hair, then there are many things that you need to have. Here are the essentials:

  • Razor/electric shaver
  • Shaving cream
  • Lotion
  • Moisturizer
  • Aftershave balm

When shaving any body part, make sure that you first rinse them with water and clean them thoroughly. Then, you can apply the shaving cream and start shaving in a gentle manner.

You don’t want to be too abrupt as you can get a cut. After shaving, you should apply some lotion or sunscreen to protect your skin.

Should You Shave Your Body Hair as a Basketball Player?

If you’re a basketball player, then there are benefits to shaving your body hair. Like mentioned in this article, a lot of professional players shave regularly.

But once you shave, you need to be prepared with the maintenance. Since your hair will grow back, you’ll need to shave regularly. If you think you can’t keep up with it, then it’s wise to think twice before shaving.

But if you’re serious about basketball as a career, then shaving is beneficial for you.  


Does the NBA require players to shave?

No, there’s no rule or policy that requires players to shave. They do have a certain dress code when they’re playing, spectating, or doing interviews.

But for the most part, they don’t require anyone to shave. This is why you’ll still see NBA players with body hair in their armpits and legs.

What products do basketball players use to shave?

Most basketball players just use razors and shaving cream to remove body hair. Professional athletes may invest in more luxurious brands, but they ultimately do the same thing.

The important thing is to shave regularly and with the correct methods and care.

How often would you need to shave?

It often depends on how fast your hair grows back and on different body parts.

But if you should be ready to shave your body hair anywhere from a few days in a week to once a week.

Final Thoughts

Basketball players are always looking for ways to improve their game. Shaving their legs and armpits are just one of the things they do that contribute to their success.

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