What Does the Black Stripe on NBA Jerseys Mean?

If you follow and watch NBA league tournaments, you may have ever noticed the black stripe on the shoulder of the NBA jersey. Since the NBA league contains 30 teams and every member of all teams has to wear this stripe.

But what is the reason behind that? What does this black stripe on an NBA jersey represent?

These are some questions that may come to your mind while watching a basketball match.  I am here to answer all of these questions and clear your concepts about this black stripe.

Usually, at first, when you see a player’s uniform, it looks like a piece of tape is stick on the jersey, but you would see that every player has this sign on their shirts. Let’s explore what the meaning of this sign in the NBA is. 

Meaning of Black Stripe on NBA Jersey

In general, the little black stripe could have two meanings. Firstly, it is used to signify the loss of an important personality and represents condolence on this loss.

Secondly, it also refers to celebrate someone’s life who has left a significant influence on the game. In basketball, the black stripe is used in both ways. 

NBA players usually wear it on the shoulder region of their uniform to pay honor to an iconic personality of basketball who has passed away.

They frequently wear this black stripe to pay tribute to all important people who were once a part of this league but are no more.

Thus, these privileged people do not include everyone who was once a part of the league, but they have done something impactful for the league, and the foundation depicts pride in such legends.

However, these sort of stripes are not only part of basketball sport, but you must have seen them on other sport’s uniform as well. Yet, the meaning and representation of these stripes are the same in every organization. 

Tribute to NBA Commissioner

In the 2019-2020 league, NBA announced to wear a black stripe in the reminiscence of NBA commissioner David Stern. He was commissioner of the National Basketball Association from 1984 to 2014 and served his 30 years in NBA.

However, on December 12, 2019, he underwent a brain hemorrhage and died on January 1, 2020. Right after his death, the NBA announced the condolence statement and declared everyone to wear a black stripe in the 2019-2020 basketball season.

Besides, numerous basketball players shared their pictures and experiences with Mr. Stern along with sympathy posts in his remainder.

Moments NBA Wore Black Stripe

NBA has always honored great people, no matter whether they were part of the league or not. Since the world is full of great people and their loss should be consoled, doing something different from usual.

So, at every moment, NBA players wear black strips on their uniforms to remember their excellent services to the world. Below, I had mentioned some examples of moments when the NBA wore a black stripe.

1991 – 1992 Season

It is quite a long time back when NBA wore a black stripe to remember one of its members, Sheri Berto died a tragic death in 1991 due to some complications in routine surgery. However, Michael Jordan announced his team to wear a black stripe in honor of Sheri.

2014 – 2015 Season

Another moment when NBA team Utah Jazz wore black stripe in 2015 to pay tribute to Hot Rod Hundley, a devoted basketball player of the Los Angeles Lakers team from 1958 to 1963. He died in March 2015 but is always remembered for his excellent performance.

2017 – 2018 Season

In the 2017-2018 NBA season, we have seen players wore black stripes because, in this year, two people stepped out of the world. At one moment, Rich Davos, the Orlando Magic Team owner, lost his wife Helen in 2017.

Every player on the team wore a black stripe in remembrance of her outstanding work with the team. Another moment in the same season was when Isaiah Thomas, a basketball player of Washington Huskies, lost his 20-years old sister Chyna Thomas through a car accident.

She died one day before Isaiah’s final tournament. However, the whole team wore black stripes for this lost paid accolade to Thomas.

Moreover, when Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft and the Portland Trail Blazers team, passed away in October 2018, the whole team was seen wearing black stripes for this significant loss.

Allen was very enthusiastic regarding his sports. He brought this team in 1988, and everyone could see his love for the team by his hefty contribution to the association.

Other than these instances, there are many other cases when any NBA teams were found wearing a black stripe. However, NBA never forgets great people and brilliant services to the league and pays honor by wearing this stripe on their uniform.

Since such professional sports organizations take their teams like a large family where every loss is a significant loss, they present their condolence. In my opinion, the NBA is doing a great job of remembering its members and making others their remainder too.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve got to know the idea of Black stripes in NBA jerseys. NBA has always tribute great people by placing these stripes on players’ shoulders and reminded them.

However, if you consistently watch basketball matches, you may have found multiple events when NBA players wore black stripes.

Although I have quoted some of these moments, there were numerous times when the NBA remembered the exceptional services of such great people and their impacts on the game. Whatever NBA is doing is a delicate way to honor its teams and members within every team.