Why Do NBA Players Shave Their Armpits?

Why Do NBA Players Shave Their Armpits?

Having hair under the armpits is most common to males as it shows how masculine we are, but for NBA players things are a little bit different. Women are the ones who mostly shave their armpits because society puts in our heads that if a woman have hair under their armpits, she is not beautiful. But I am not against any propaganda, I am just a basketball lover that wanted to share some things I learned to help future players to improve, lol.

We all have different reasons why we shave our hair under our armpits. Some said it is too irritating, some feel self-conscious when they have hair on their armpits. We all don’t feel the same way as others feel, we are all different. So for some people hair in the armpits is fine and some don’t agree, and we should respect that. 

Today we are going to discuss why NBA players shave their armpits. We will answer some questions like, is shaving armpits required by the association? Why Do NBA players shave their armpits, what are their reasons? Let’s go and answer that!

Reasons Why Do NBA Players Shave Their Armpits

You are curious why NBA players shave their armpits and these are the reasons why NBA players shave their armpits: 

Self-Conscious About Visible Armpits Hair

NBA players unanimously admitted that they feel self-conscious about visible hair under their armpits. It was 2011 when NBA players released a statement about this issue, and according to players that the official NBA jersey is “broken in the armpits area, leaving hair exposed, especially when taking a shot or playing defense”. 

Many players like Marc Gasol, Jason Kidd, Lebron James, etc. want less revealing jerseys or long jerseys to hide their armpits exposed to the public. Sadly, David Stern, the commissioner of the NBA, declined their requests to change the jersey to make it less revealing. David Stern said that it has been that way since basketball was invented, and to change it would lose the tradition of basketball. 

Since the NBA commissioner did not approve the player’s request, the NBA players started to shave their armpits. They feel more comfortable and confident without a hair under their armpits. 

Irritating When Moving, Shooting And Playing Defense

I, myself, experienced that having hair under my armpits and wearing a jersey while playing is so irritating. My armpits hair is just bumping into the side of my jersey’s armholes, and it is one of the most irritating scenarios that has happened to me. I did not shave my armpits hair, but I started wearing t-shirts or sweaters when playing. 

Most NBA players feel the same way I did, that is why some NBA players prefer to play without a hair under their armpits. They feel comfier to shoot, block shots, move into the court, and play defense. 

Some Hygiene Reasons

There are many hygiene reasons why NBA players shaved their armpits, and these are their different reasons:

Allergic To Deodorant

Deodorants and antiperspirants were invented to avoid body odor and sweating, but some people are just allergic or don’t feel like using one. Some NBA players are allergic to deodorants and some just don’t like the feeling of deodorants into the armpits when applied.

Studies said that if you have hair on your armpits then you probably need to have deodorants or antiperspirants to avoid body odor. That is why some NBA players who hated deodorants shaved their armpits hair to avoid using one.

Less Sweat And Body Odor 

People believed that when you shave your armpit hair it will reduce sweating in the armpit area. Because hair holds onto moisture, that is why shaving your armpits may result in less sweating. Shaving armpit hair may also cut down the odor associated with the sweat.  

Having hair on the armpits might hold the sweat produced by your armpits and might stay there a little bit. Players avoid hitting the face of other players with a bunch of sweaty armpit hair while defending, that is one reason why NBA players shaved their armpit hair.  

When Does an NBA Player Start Shaving Hair On Their Armpits?

This question has no definite answer because people tend to do the things they want anytime. When basketball started their first professional game, players had hairy armpits. They are not yet self-conscious when it comes to showing their hairy armpits to the crowd.  

During the 1950s until the 1990s, only a small percentage of NBA players were shaving the hair on their armpits. This is the start of NBA players being so conscious of the hair on their armpits.

Until the 21st century comes, many players tend to shave their armpits because they feel so conscious when their armpits have hair and are exposed to the public.

It became like it is an NBA requirement to shave the hair on your armpits because of the rapidly increasing number of NBA players shaving the hair on their armpits, but the truth is it is not a requirement.  


Every NBA player will do everything just to be comfortable inside the court, and so do you. NBA players shave the hair on their armpits to be comfortable and to less feel embarrassed. They wanted to play smoothly without any worries about their armpit hair, because if you worry about something while playing, it may affect your overall performance inside the court.  

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