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Michael Jordan's Legacy - How MJ changed NBA Shorts

Michael Jordan's Legacy - How MJ changed NBA Shorts  

Basketball shorts in the NBA were VERY short in the beginning but why did NBA shorts get longer? NBA shorts got longer because Michael Jordan asked his manufacturer for longer shorts in order to be more comfortable on the court. After Michael Jordan started wearing longer and baggier shorts, the rest of the NBA started to adopt longer shorts and moved away from short shorts.

Michael Jordan got into the NBA in the mid 80s, he wanted to wear his University of North Carolina shorts under his Chicago Bulls shorts because he believed it brought him good luck. The issue was that the Bulls shorts were too tight and short so it was difficult to fit both shorts. So he had to have longer shorts with room to fit his University of North Carolina shorts. In order to get this done. He contacted the manufacturing company, Champion.

Michael Jordan started a trend with wearing longer basketball shorts and many players in the NBA did the same. The inseams of basketball grew 5 inches in the 90s.

Michael Jordan’s influence spread even to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which is college basketball. In the 1990s, there were a couple of players in the NCAA that further helped popularized long baggy basketball shorts and it’s because of Michael Jordan. They are referred to as the Fab Five consisted of Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, Jimmy King, Ray Jackson, and Juwan Howard.

The Fab Five were so popular that they sold a lot of merchandise and a highly rated ESPN film documentary was produced about them. They are considered to be one of the greatest recruiting classes of all time, this media attention further helped the emergence of the long and baggy shorts among pro players. 



Basketball shorts in the 1960s were about 3 inches long at the inseams.


The “Fab Five” of The University of Michigan’s Wolverines helped pioneer the long baggy shorts among college basketball. The influence of hip hop also plays a major part in the rise of baggy shorts.

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The inseam length of basketball shorts was 11 inches, more than twice as long as previous decade. Shorts in the NBA  were past the knees.


The inseam length of basketball shorts in the 2010s are between 8-10 inches. They reach about the thighs and aren’t as baggy and long as the previous decade.

NBA shorts were very short and this was due to the trends of the 60s and 70s. However, Michael Jordan helped pioneer the wave of longer basketball shorts. Basketball shorts evolved further and became baggier. Today, basketball shorts are not as baggy but still longer than they were in the 60s and 70s.

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The content on this page is an extract of an article that was posted by on  It has not been edited in any way.

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