Basketball might not be as dangerous as football or hockey, but it is still considered a contact sport. Collisions with other players, hard fouls, and tumbles are almost unavoidable — even well-known superstars are beginning to sport protective gear.
They might not seem like protective gear, but wait ‘til you try playing basketball with the wrong shoes. Basketball shoes are specifically designed for the rigors and demands of the competitive sport, most of them incorporating safety and protective features. Most basketball shoes will have some form of ankle support and their non-slip treads make sure you get a firm grip on the hardwood court. Of course, getting shoes that fit is crucial, so get shoes that fit now and not ones that you’ll eventually grow into.
Lebron James wears mouthguards, usually with a hidden (or obvious) statement. However, the antics of Stephen Curry’s as he shoots his free throws are the ones that have put mouth guards in the spotlight. Basketball mouthguards aren’t as cumbersome as boxing mouth guards, but they provide enough protection to protect your pearly whites. While getting your teeth chipped or knocked out is a fairly rare incident, basketball greats like Steve Nash and Isaiah Thomas probably wished they wore some.
3. Elbow Pads
You might think wearing elbow pads to a basketball game is a little cringy. However, even basketball stars like Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson protect their shooting arm with them. NBA stars often incorporate sleeves in their elbow pads to make them less conspicuous or to look cooler, and you can now purchase compression sleeves with the same elbow protection.
4. Knee Pads
If you’re wondering why so many NBA players are wearing some leggings, it’s more about safety than making a fashion statement. While the knee pads of old were quite noticeable and visible, today’s knee pads are hidden by compression leggings. Black or white leggings blend the knee pads into the uniform, making them seem cool rather than nerdy. Knee pads protect your knees from sudden trips and tumbles, ensuring that you can run the court for many years to come.
5. Ankle Braces
Steph Curry, Derrick Rose, even Michael Jordan wore ankle braces. Ankle braces give additional support and protect your ankle joints from injury. More than 40 percent of high school basketball players will injure their ankle during a single season, and once you suffer an ankle injury, you’re five times more likely to injure that same ankle.
6. Safety Glasses
Dwyane Wade sports glasses on and off the court, but the player who made wearing glasses iconic was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Getting your eye poked is an experience you don’t want to be repeated and today’s lenses give you that protection — without the geeky vibe.
Injuries are common in basketball. Every team has suffered injuries in their roster, and almost every NBA superstar has experienced one or more injuries. Get the necessary protection and get a few more years of playing on the court.