Basketball Uniform Trends Over The Years– Coast 2 Coast Sports Australia

Basketball Uniform Trends Over The Years

  • by Jane Victoria
Basketball Uniform Trends Over The Years

Basketball uniforms have come a long way since the days of leather balls and peach baskets. The old basketball uniforms have evolved from the early cotton, to woolen knickers, to nylon shorts with elastic waistbands. Today, basketball players are decked out in all sorts of gear that can be customised for any team's colours or preferences.

What did the first basketball uniforms ever look like? What has happened in between, and which new designs are on top of this timeline.

Beginning of Sport

1891- 1920

Since the sport was initially considered as an indoor wintertime game, players just played in what they were already wearing or their gym clothes, which was most often baggy trousers and wool undershirts. As basketball gained popularity in the early 1900s, more effort was made to have matching uniforms to avoid unintentionally passing the ball to the opposition.

Coordinated Uniforms 

1920- 1940

Long pants and heavy sweaters were replaced by more breathable basketball uniforms in the 1920s. Shorts became popular, as well as jersey tops made from much softer wool designed this way for ease of movement and mobility. The jerseys were fastened underneath the crotch to avoid getting them untucked during the game.

During this period too, women wore knee-length bloomers and short-sleeve skirts. They were also required to wear knee pads for extra protection.

basketball uniforms bloomers

Introduction to Synthetic Fabrics

1940- 1960

Basketball uniforms have always been an integral part of the game, but with synthetic materials coming into play they took another turn. The hot woolen uniforms were replaced by polyester/nylon fabrics during this time period; players donned shorter pants (briefs) while shirts became similar in style to modern day jerseys tracksuits! 

The 1950s basketball uniforms required players to wear belts with their satin shorts. These were eliminated in the 1960s, and elastic waistbands were added to replace them.

The Start of Freestyle Era


The freestyle era of the basketball uniforms in the 60s was largely defined by two things: an increase in athlete visibility and intense competition. Players wore longer, striped tube socks during games; headbands became common to keep hairstyles out of one's eyes while playing ball and avoid any distraction.

In 1982, MacGregor Sand-Knit became an official NBA outfitter and provided a more comfortable uniform that eliminated cotton/polyester blend shirts for whiter ones with pinhole mesh material instead. This change allowed movement on court easier due to looser jerseys in favor over tight fitting satin shorts or any other type fabric before it!

Michael Jordan Basketball Uniform Style

In 1987, Michael Jordan personally requested from the NBA sports manufacturer Champion to make his shorts in a longer version.  He wanted something to hold onto when he was out of breath. The next season, his request was granted and marked another turn in the way basketball uniforms were made. 

Coincidentally 1988 was when Coast 2 Coast Sports was born.

The 1990s uniforms became baggier, but also had a change of fabric, moving away from nylon and mesh. In the early 200s, cool-dry mesh basketball jerseys and shorts were also slowly introduced leaving a modern look and sleek appearance for players.

Sublimated Uniforms

2000 to present

As the game evolved, sportswear companies were also looking for more ways to keep up with the changing requirements of the players. The advent of sublimated basketball uniforms has been traced back between late 90s to early 2000s when customisation methods were also slowly emerging in the sportswear industry.

The sudden shift in screen printing, twill applique and heat transfer vinyl to the sublimation process is also due to the rising demand of elaborately designed basketball uniforms. Unlike any standard fabric dye, sublimation allows colour gradients and complex patterns, dynamic team logos and other design elements to be incorporated on a basketball uniform.

The Future of Basketball Uniforms

With the emergence of software and manufacturing technology paired with the 33yrs of sportswear expertise, Coast 2 Coast Sports is committed to bring the best basketball merchandise to every player and supporter.

C2C Design Your Own Basketball Uniforms range  is a fusion of current trends and basic styles you’ve loved in the past - these are all fully customisable that let you decide the cut and style you prefer, whichever makes you more comfortable and confident to play.

No more guesswork with C2C Clearview Size Guide technology.


  • We believe we have the widest range of styles available in the market with more than 134 basketball designs online and counting!
  • No guesswork. With our latest C2C 3D Clearview Size Guide technology, you can see how the garment fits against your body and spot any issues right on.
  • Customise fast and easily using our time-saver designer platform online. No need to start from scratch, our pre-designed templates are ready to use with your choice of pre-loaded logos on our DYO folder. Everything you need is right at your fingertips.
  • We listen - we create and innovate based on what we think is best for our customers. We do not only follow design trends, we think forward on what helps our customers achieve optimal performance beyond the aesthetic design.

Basketball uniforms are more than just the fabric you wear - it’s your team identity. Whether you need a new basketball uniform or want to redesign the look and feel of your old uniforms, C2C is here to help you. Contact us via website live chat or fill out this contact form and we'll get back to you within 24hours.

(Disclaimer: Old basketball uniforms images used on this blog are not ours and belong to the rightful owner.)

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