Why Do Basketball Players Wear Arm Sleeves?

Why Do Basketball Players Wear Arm Sleeves?

Key Takeaway: Arm sleeves in basketball, popularized by players like Allen Iverson, serve multiple crucial purposes such as improving blood circulation, providing warmth, aiding injury recovery, preventing injuries, relieving pain, protecting skin from sun exposure, and boosting player confidence, beyond just being a fashion statement or imitation of NBA stars.

If you are a basketball addict, probably most of the time you think of wearing arm sleeves. But before wearing one, a question jumps inside your mind, why would I need to wear one?

We see basketball players on T.V. wearing arm sleeves, and it is the main reason why we tend to wear one because we try to imitate our favorite NBA star, but we still don’t know the purpose of wearing it. 

Wearing arm sleeves, which also called shooting sleeves or compressions sleeves, became popular in today’s basketball era. Before we discuss the purpose of arm sleeves, let’s first take a peek at the history of arm sleeves in basketball.

History Of The Arm Sleeve In Basketball

The first NBA player I’ve seen wearing an arm sleeve is Allen Iverson back in the late ’90s and early ’20s. Allen Iverson started to wear arm sleeves because he has bursitis in his right elbow. The doctors required Iverson to wear arm sleeves to relieve pain and reduce the effects of his bursitis. Even though some reports said he healed up, Iverson remained to wear arm sleeves because it covered up his least-favorite tattoos. 

When Iverson became famous because of it, many fans and NBA players started to imitate him. The year arm sleeves became popular is the start of sports businesses to focus on producing arm sleeves. Many fans have bought arm sleeves that caused sports businesses to earn a lot of money. Iverson didn’t only help the NBA to have a new trend, but he helps the improvement of sports businesses as well. 

Many years passed, the arm sleeves became a popular trend in the NBA. Because of the proven benefits of arm sleeves, many players have started to wear one. There are many famous players I have seen to play with arm sleeves like Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Pau Gasol, and many more. We don’t just see arm sleeves in the NBA but also in other basketball leagues. 

Benefits Of Wearing Arm Sleeve In Basketball

You may think players only wear arm sleeves just to look cool or just to get validation. But there are way more important reasons why basketball players wear arm sleeves. Let’s take a look at the important reasons for wearing arm sleeves.

Helps Blood Circulation

It is normal for athletes to get injured, and if they had one it can cause bad blood circulation in the injured area. Bad blood circulation can affect an athlete’s performance. Bad blood circulation can cause swelling, and inflammation in the injured area. 

One importance of wearing arm sleeves is to help blood circulation. Wearing one can also prevent swelling and inflammation.


Basketball players need a warm temperature to stay active inside the court. Shooting sleeves help to keep the player’s arm warm. Having warm arms will help out basketball players to shoot the ball consistently. Warmth can also ease the pain felt by a player because of the injury. 

Helps Injuries Heal Faster

Compression arm sleeves are worn to help your muscles recover from the injury. Injuries take some time before it heals and it could be frustrating. But because arm sleeves were invented, there’s nothing to worry about. Wearing arm sleeves will help you to recover fast because it enables your blood flow to circulate quicker, which assist you to recover quickly from injuries. 

Prevent Injury

Sleeves can help you to prevent injuries. Keeping your arms warm can prevent pulled and tangled muscles. Wearing sleeves can also prevent muscle soreness and tightness. 

Pain Relief

When our muscles are compressed we can don’t feel too much pain. The sleeves help to hold the elbow in place, and it puts pressure on the injured area that can sometimes help to relieve the pain. 

Protect Your Skin

When you are playing basketball outdoors during summer, then you probably need to wear arm sleeves to protect your skin from sun radiation. Too much solar radiation is not all right for our skin, and it can cause skin cancer. Plus, it can burn your skin, which you don’t want to happen. Wearing arm sleeves can prevent your skin from getting too much sun radiation. I suggest players consider wearing arm sleeves especially for players from hot countries.


Most basketball players wear arm sleeves to look cool and gain confidence. Confidence is crucial and used in our everyday life. Some people used their confidence to get a job, get the guy/girl they liked, etc. In basketball, confidence will help you play at your highest level, and confidence is also a very important part that every player must possess to be a good basketball player.


Arm sleeves, also known as compression sleeves, are indeed popular in today’s basketball era. You will notice the continuous rise of basketball players wearing arm sleeves. You see them mostly in professional leagues like NBA or college basketball. 

Arm sleeves don’t just make you look cooler inside the court, but it can also provide many benefits. You can wear arm sleeves anytime you want and whatever reasons you have in mind but I suggest you wear them every time you have arm injuries.

Have you ever tried to wear arm sleeves? If so, what is your reason for wearing one? Let us hear your answers in the comment section below!

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