Why Do Basketball Teams Wear White At Home?

Why is it that the home team usually wears white at home?

In other sports like Hockey, it’s usually the other way around.

Before the 2017-18 NBA season, teams usually wear white at home, and the away team wore colored jerseys. But now, teams can wear both home and away jerseys anywhere.

But why did they wear white at home in the first place? Let’s find out.

Why do Basketball Teams Wear White at Home?

Photo by Erik Drost

We may have been used to seeing home teams wear whites, but why?

There are two main culprits:

1. Because it’s in the rules

According to the NBA rulebook, home teams shall wear light-colored jerseys, while visiting teams wear dark jerseys.

But starting from the 2017-18 season, teams can now wear their colored jerseys at home and white on the road. The only rule is that the two teams should have contrasting jersey colors.

As such, we may see teams wear yellow and dark green in a game now. You’ll also see more NBA teams wearing white on the road.

2. It’s a tradition

The tradition of wearing white at home was likely from baseball. Back in the day, visiting clubs would have a hard time finding laundry services.

So, they would wear their dark-colored jerseys again since it’s easier to hide the stains and dirt.

Basketball picked up this custom, and it now became a tradition in the league. But things have slowly changed over the past decades as we now see more jersey colors than ever.

The New Jerseys in the NBA

Back then, you could easily spot the home players since they usually wore white. Nowadays, it seems that NBA teams have more jerseys than ever. So, what changed?

But a few seasons ago, everything changed as they started adding more jerseys and changing their names.

Now, we have:

  • Association (Home)
  • Icon (Away)
  • Statement
  • City
  • Classic

You’ll see more variations in jerseys now than ever to give fans more things to look forward to.

Plus, teams update their jersey styles every year, especially for City and Statement jerseys which are variations of their home jerseys.

Who Decides the Jerseys that Teams Wear?

With all the changes in the jerseys, are teams and players have a say on what they want to wear?

To avoid confusion, the NBA hands out a master game schedule, including the jerseys to be worn. This way, teams will have equal chances to don their different types of jerseys.

Plus, since they removed the home and away jerseys, fans can now support their home team with their colors.

The Importance of Jersey Colors

Some may see jerseys as just a uniform, but for true fans, they mean so much more.

Jerseys in the NBA have undergone many changes, from sporting big logos to having different themes and a modern look. But why exactly are jerseys and their colors important in basketball?

  • Because they allow spectators to differentiate the two teams
  • To have a designated color for the team
  • For fans so they can wear their team’s color

Fans of basketball always associate colors with their home team. For instance, green has always been the color of the Celtics.

Colors are what bring the players to life. That’s why you see players wearing their colored jerseys at home now more than ever.

Final Thoughts

Before the change, basketball teams would wear white at home while the away team wore colored jerseys. Now, you’ll see teams sporting two away uniforms, provided they’re contrasting enough.

Fans appreciate this change since they can now see their home teams in entire colors.

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