Why Do NBA Players Swap Jerseys? (This Is Why)

Nowadays, you see a lot of NBA players swap jerseys with each other.

Why do they do this? Do they just like to collect sweaty jerseys?  

As funny as this is, obviously, this isn’t the case.

NBA players swap jerseys as a form of respect and admiration. They jerseys serve as memorabilia for players signifying a special moment. But the tradition started in soccer almost 100 years ago.

But this isn’t just a simple tradition as there’s a whole story about this. Let’s dive into it.

Why do NBA Players Swap Jerseys?

NBA players swap jerseys as a form of respect between competitors. They often do this to collect memorabilia of players that they admire a lot.

It’s a tradition that has only started recently in the NBA. Nowadays, you’ll see a lot of players do this especially for rookies who want to get the jerseys of big names.

For fans all over the world, jersey swaps are a touching gesture from NBA players. They can sense the feeling of camaraderie and humility from players who do this.

When and Where did Swapping Jerseys Started?

The tradition of jersey swapping actually originated from soccer. It first originated during a soccer match decades ago in 1931.

It was when France beat English in a match for the first time. So, the French players asked if they could have the jerseys of the English players. The English players agreed since they said that it was going to be souvenir or memorabilia of the moment.

From then on, numerous soccer players have started to do the same thing. Then, it led to other sports and leagues like the MLB, NFL, and most recently the NBA.

What do Players do with Swapped Jerseys?

NBA Jerseys by Senate Democrats

You might be curious as to what players do with swapped jerseys. The most obvious answer would be that they would frame them.

Some may add them to their collection of jerseys. But some also just keep it somewhere never seeing the daylight again.

Some players may even sell swapped jerseys if they become broke in the future.

Yes, we can only speculate at this point since players don’t usually reveal answers to this question.

But if you do get lucky and end up with a game-worn jersey from an NBA player, you should frame it immediately. The value of it is just too priceless.

Most Memorable NBA Jersey Swaps

Probably the most memorable jersey swaps in recent memory comes from Dwyane Wade.

In his farewell tour in 2019 when he retired, he swapped jerseys with a lot of big-name players.

He mostly swapped jerseys with every team’s superstar player such as LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry, Donovan Mitchell, Trae Young, Paul George and more.

We also can’t forget about Giannis Antetokounmpo and Vince Carter and Carmelo and Wade. What was memorable was Carmelo was a free agent during the jersey swap, so he didn’t have a jersey to give Wade.

Most Expensive Basketball Jerseys Sold of All Time

While we’re on the topic of jerseys, we bet you’re curious about the most expensive jerseys sold of all time.

Here are the most expensive basketball jerseys to ever be sold.

1. Michael Jordan’s ‘82- ‘83 Game-Worn College Jersey

Team: University of North Carolina

Price Sold: $1,380,000

Date Sold: May 2021

2. Michael Jordan’s ’86 – ‘86 Game-Worn Jersey

Team: Chicago Bulls

Price Sold: $480,000

Date Sold: October 2020

3. John Wooden’s Game-Worn Jersey

Team: Purdue Boilermakers

Price Sold: $264,000

Date Sold: May 2018

4. LeBron James’ 2021 – ‘21 All-Star Game-Worn Jersey

Team: Team LeBron

Price Sold: $250,140

Date Sold: March 2021

5. LeBron James’ Christmas Day Game-Worn Jersey

Team: Los Angeles Lakers

Price Sold: $130,020

Date Sold: February 2021

Final Words

The tradition of jersey swapping is a nice thing to see in the NBA. It’s a touching gesture of sportsmanship between players in the highest league in the world.

Jersey figures courtesy of Public

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