Shirt Under the Jersey: Yes or No?

by Conor on March 13, 2009


So, a college buddy has started a blog ( about all sorts of random stuff.  My understanding is his posts are mainly about trash talking and hoops.  It’s hilarious, I do suggest a read.

His most recent post brought up a great point about wearing a shirt, cutoff, or spandex shirt (underarmour) under your jersey.  I agree with his point that they should not be allowed, but there are a few issues he forgot.

  1. In High School, our gym was freezing.  And we got 10 minutes to warm up.  The shirt was for staying warm more than anything else.
  2. Some dudes sweat profusely.  I actually preferred to play against the super sweatees when they wore a shirt.  It meant less of their sweat on me.
  3. Shirts can hide muscles, or lack thereof.  High School players often wear them to make them seem a bit bigger.  I can’t blame them, they need all the help they can get in the recruiting process. (Suggestion along those lines: wear white shoes.  They make you look faster)

In the end, however, I think that shirts should be removed in college.  They are simply fashion statements and I think a lot of those stunts take away from the team culture of the game. 

The pros are a different matter.  They are paid to entertain as well as win.  For the same reason I enjoy seeing touchdown dances in the NFL, I think the NBA players should be allowed to show some personality.

Nothing extreme, of course.  I don’t need to see a cell phone coming out of the hoop after a monster dunk.

What do you think?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

J. Shuttlesworth March 13, 2009 at 8:49 am


Interestingly enough, a few friends and I recently had this discussion. In high school the coach was really big on the whole team looking uniform. So there was a no shirt policy along with no bands (head, wrists, elbows, arm, leg, etc.), although some did end up wearing knee high tube socks with school color stripes while others didn’t. The opinion came up that some of them felt more “natural,” for lack of a better term, without the shirt on underneath. I guess maybe the shirt got in the way of how their shooting arm felt or it felt too bulky with the shirt and the jersey both on I guess.

Nowadays the under armour/dry-fit short sleeve is what is hot in the streets a la Jonny Flynn at Syracuse. I haven’t gotten used to this look but I supposed a regular T-shirt under those tight fitting jersey tops they have would look ridiculous (the whole tight fitting tops I don’t get either).

Personally, I don’t think it should matter. The team is uniform enough simply by wearing a uniform. It’s okay if a certain player wants to express some style or is more comfortable with a shirt on underneath or likes to wear one sock up and the other low (Kerry Kittles style). As long as he knows what team he plays for what does it matter? From a coach’s standpoint, you have to find the happy medium. You can’t be so controlling about everything and have everyone with the same hair cut, same sock length, and make it look too uniform and at the same time you can have it too loose to where a player’s “style” just becomes a distraction to the team.

For me, I like the shirt on underneath. I don’t know why, just feels better to me than just the jersey but I’m a little more Caron Butler a la UCONN days then that horrid picture of Van Horn when he was at Utah. And if it just feels good to the player and it isn’t harmful to the focus of the team, then why not?


Jaime March 13, 2009 at 11:41 am

In college, players should be allowed to wear their shirts underneath. There are some classic players and teams who wore t-shirts underneath their jerseys that will be forever remembered (Pat Ewing, Syracuse teams, Larry Johnson and Unlv).

What should not be allowed is the t-shirt jerseys that Evansville used to wear. That should be outlawed for life.

Personally, I never wore a t-shirt underneath my jersey (though maybe i should have to hide my lack of muscles) but instead chose to wear the “wife-beater”. It was a much more comfortable fit and the ladies loved it.


George March 13, 2009 at 12:59 pm

With bodies like Jaime’s and Conor’s, the more shirts the better. In fact, it might have been better to have left on your warm ups.
That me reminds me of a true story. When Larry Brown was coaching UCLA, they were about to face an Ohio St. team with players like Clark Kellogg, Herb Williams, Jim Smith and Kelvin Ransey in the NCAA’s. As the Ohio St. players were being introduced, with their warm ups off, Larry informed his players to leave their warm ups on so as not to embarrass the school.


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