Why Do Basketball Players Wear Mask: Reasons Behind The Practice

Regarding contact sports, it’s natural for players to always put on protective gears to minimize the risk of injury. Mask, gloves, mouthguard,…..people rely on a variety of accessories to keep their body out of harm way while playing. However, in the NBA, some players wear a transparent mask on the court while others play without such face protection.  So wearing mask is optional for players in the NBA? Why do basketball players wear mask in the first place? Is it possible for players to wear different types of mask in an NBA match?

The practice of wearing mask in the NBA piques your interest? If that happens to be the case, this article got some information for you. Down below, you would be provided with everything you must know about the practice of wearing mask in NBA matches. In addition to that, through the following details, you could learn how to secure a quality mask for personal use. Generally speaking, basketball players around the globe use masks in order to avoid sustaining injuries to their face at first. But nowadays, the mask is often associated with other purposes.

History Of The Mask: Summary

To answer the question of “why do basketball players wear mask”, it’s a good idea for you to study the origin of the practice.  Once you grasp the history of the mask, it’s simple to determine its value to people in the NBA.

Back in the summer of 1990, Bill Laimbeer, a center of Detroit Pistons got hit in the face by a teammate. After examination, Laimbeer would need to leave the court for a month but the team could not accept that as the Pistons required his service. So the team searched around desperately for a savior and they end up with Gerald McHale, an orthotist from Detroit. Facing a tough situation, McHale came up with a radical idea: He would manufacture a mask that is tailored after the face of Laimbeer to temporarily cover the injured zone.

The performance of the molded mask greatly pleased McHale, Laimbeer and Detroit Pistons in general. As time passed by, more and more basketball players pick up the mask to reduce the downtime of their injuries. Famous players like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady and others also enjoy using the mask from time to time. Considering the fact that professional basketball is filled with full-force contacts, a lot of players in the NBA adopt the mask to protect themselves. However, officials recently brought forward some regulation about the mask.

In case you are an avid fan of LeBron James, you must have known that the man used to rock with a black mask in 2014. Nonetheless, after taking a look at the issue, officials in the NBA decided to request LeBron to switch his black mask to a clear one. The reason is as follow: with a black mask, the opposing players would run into considerable difficulty tracking your eyes which give you unfair advantages. As a result, the majority of NBA players mostly stick with transparent masks ever since. In exchange, you could choose from a variety of shape.  

Wearing Mask On The Court: The Rationale Of The Practice

All things considered, there are 3 reasons why basketballers wear mask:

May 5, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) adjusts his mask during the first quarter in game two of the second round of the NBA Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. The Grizzlies defeated the Warriors 97-90. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
  • To Protect Themselves Against Injuries

A lot of players out there pay negligible attention to the risk of facial injuries so they never wear mask.  That being said, for NBA basketballers that experience a broken nose, a dislocated jaw and so on first handed, the practice is an excellent precaution. Since injuries have significant influences on the performance of basketball players, people that wear a mask on the court simply want to secure their future. Due to the competitive nature of the NBA, sustaining an injury could spell the end of a player’s career.   

  • To Allow Injuries To Heal

Basketball tends to involve a lot of elbow movement so it’s not uncommon for players in the NBA to end up with facial injuries. Normally, it’s best for injured players to sit out until the healing finish but in many cases, such basketballers must go back to the court in midst of recovery. To prevent the injuries from getting worse, the players put on the mask to limit the exposure of their face. Needless to say, the measure is far from perfect but it still allows people to participate in their team games with less risk than usual.  

  • To Look Cool While Playing

So there are up to 10 players on the court and only 1 of them is wearing a mask, guess which one stands out from the rest? For some basketball players, wearing mask is cool as it separates them from everyone else. Moreover, while facing against the opponents, people that put on a mask could sometime manage to intimidate the rival players. In an NBA match, the mental factor is quite important and if you could keep your adversary intimidated, the odds of victory shall increase significantly.  

Shopping For A Basketball Mask

On the market, there are multiple types of masks for basketball players but overall, you could classify every model into 2 categories: custom-made and generic. Depend on personal preferences as well as financial capability, different basketballers would have different decisions when it comes to masks.

  • Custom-Made: Professional basketball players receive excellent salaries every season so if they have to get a mask, custom-made is their number one choice. To put it plainly, a custom made mask is a mask that is specifically manufactured using the measurement of a player for that player use. In term of expense, you must pay quite a bit of money to order a custom-made mask but in exchange, the fitness is superb.
  • Generic: You have a tight wallet? Well, no worry as you could get a generic mask with relative ease nowadays.While the cost of a custom-made mask would have no trouble reaching over thousands of dollars, you only have to spend barely a hundred dollars for a generic model. Of course, you should likely have some issues with the fitness but if you are shopping on a limited budget, consider getting a generic mask.