Can NBA Players Wear Durags?

Can NBA Players Wear Durags?

The NBA has certain rules and regulations in place regarding whether or not NBA players can wear durags during games. These rules have evolved over the years, with the league imposing bans and restrictions on various accessories and attire players wear. While durags may be popular in African-American culture and serve practical purposes such as maintaining hair and preventing breakage, the NBA has specific regulations regarding their use on the court.

Interestingly, the NBA's dress code has undergone several changes throughout its 76-year history. The league has banned items such as gold chains, sneakers with certain colors, and even Band-Aids for fashion. These bans are not just limited to items that may give the league a bad image but also those that could pose safety hazards or violate uniform rules.

Key Takeaways:

  • The NBA has rules and regulations regarding the wearing of durags by players during games.
  • The league has a history of imposing bans and restrictions on various accessories and attire.
  • Durags are popular in African-American culture and offer practical benefits for hair maintenance.
  • The NBA's bans and restrictions aim to ensure player safety and maintain uniform standards.

The History of NBA Bans and Restrictions

Throughout its history, the NBA has imposed bans and restrictions on various accessories and attire worn by players, including durags. These bans and restrictions have often sparked controversy and debate among fans, players, and the league. Look at some notable bans and restrictions that have shaped the NBA's dress code over the years.

Michael Jordan's "Banned" Air Jordan 1

In 1984, the NBA fined Michael Jordan $5,000 every time he wore his first signature shoe, the Air Jordan 1. The league argued that the black and red colors of the shoe violated uniform rules. The controversy surrounding the "banned" Air Jordan 1 only fueled its popularity and ultimately helped establish the iconic Jordan brand.

Banning of Gold Chains

In the 1970s and 1980s, many players, including legendary figures like Wilt Chamberlain and Julius "Dr. J" Erving, sported gold chains during games. However, the NBA eventually banned the wearing of chains, citing safety concerns. The league deemed them a potential choking hazard and decided they posed more harm than good for the players.

The Durag Ban

One of the most notable bans in NBA history was the prohibition of durags. In 2000, then-Indiana Pacers' center Sam Perkins wore a durag during an NBA preseason game. However, the league quickly identified it as a potential safety hazard and banned durags. Perkins remains the first and only player to have worn a durag during an official NBA game.

Silk Durags

The Debate and Players' Perspectives

The bans and restrictions imposed by the NBA have sparked a continuing debate on personal expression and cultural significance. Supporters argue that players should be free to express themselves through their style choices, while opponents believe that such attire detracts from the professionalism of the sport.

Some players, like Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, have chosen to wear durags to support the black community and African-American culture. They see it as self-expression, while others believe it is inappropriate for a professional sports setting.


The history of NBA bans and restrictions on accessories and attire is a reminder of the ongoing dialogue between personal expression and the image of professional basketball. While the NBA has imposed bans on items like durags in the past, the debate surrounding these restrictions continues. Ultimately, deciding to wear durags or any other fashion statement rests with the individual players, who must balance their style choices with the league's regulations.

NBA Bans and Restrictions Reasons
Michael Jordan's "Banned" Air Jordan 1 Violated uniform rules
Banning of Gold Chains Safety concerns
Durag Ban Identified as a safety hazard

Specific Bans on Durags

In 2000, the NBA officially banned players from wearing durags during games due to safety concerns. The league identified durags as a potential hazard and decided to take action to protect the players. This ban came after Indiana Pacers center Sam Perkins made history as the first and only NBA player to wear a durag during an NBA game. Shortly after Perkins' appearance in a durag, the NBA deemed it a safety hazard and prohibited players from wearing the accessory on the court.

This ban on durags was implemented with the players' well-being in mind. The NBA has always prioritized the safety of its athletes, and the decision to ban durags was no exception. The league recognized that durags could potentially interfere with a player's vision or movement on the court, posing a risk of injury. As a result, players are prohibited from wearing durags during games to ensure their safety during gameplay.

Ban of durags by NBA in 2000's

While some may argue that the ban on durags infringes on personal expression, it is important to remember that the NBA is responsible for maintaining a safe and fair playing environment. The league sets rules and regulations to ensure all players can compete without risk. By prohibiting durags, the NBA aims to mitigate potential safety hazards and protect the well-being of its players.

Durags Ban in the NBA
The NBA banned players from wearing durags during games in 2000 due to safety concerns.
This ban was implemented to protect players and minimize the risk of injury on the court.
While some may view the ban as limiting personal expression, the NBA prioritizes player safety.

Overall, the ban on durags in the NBA reminds us that player safety remains paramount in professional sports. While durags may have cultural significance and personal style implications, the league's decision to prohibit their use during games is rooted in the protection and well-being of the athletes. By adhering to this ban, players can focus on their performance on the court and compete without unnecessary distractions or risks.

Can NBA Players Wear Durags?

The wearing of durags by NBA players has sparked a heated debate, with some arguing for their expressive value and cultural significance, while others view them as inappropriate for professional basketball. Durags are close-fitting cloths tied around the top of the head, commonly worn in African-American culture as a fashion choice. Supporters of durags believe that they allow players to express their personal style and show solidarity with their communities. They see durags as a symbol of black pride and an acknowledgment of the struggles faced by black Americans throughout history.

On the other hand, opponents of durags argue that they are not suitable for the professional environment of the NBA. They believe that the focus should be on the game of basketball and that wearing durags can detract from that. Some argue that durags may be seen as a distraction and convey an unprofessional image. It is a contentious topic, with both sides presenting valid arguments.

To get a better understanding of the debate surrounding durags, let's take a look at some of the key points raised by each side:

  1. Expression and Cultural Significance: Supporters of durags emphasize that they are a form of self-expression and a way for players to connect with their cultural heritage. They argue that durags should be respected as a fashion choice and not restricted.
  2. Professionalism and Distraction: Opponents of durags argue that professional athletes should adhere to certain attire standards and maintain professionalism. They believe that durags may distract both players and spectators from the game.
  3. Safety and Uniformity: Those against durags also raise concerns about safety and uniformity. They contend that durags could pose a safety risk during gameplay and disrupt the visual consistency of the teams.

Despite the ongoing debate, the NBA has not implemented any official rule regarding wearing durags. This leaves the decision up to individual players, teams, and their respective dress codes. Some players choose to wear durags, while others opt not to. The controversy surrounding durags in the NBA highlights the complexity of balancing personal expression, cultural significance, and professional sports standards.

Impact of the Debate

The debate over durags in the NBA reflects larger discussions around diversity, inclusion, and cultural representation within professional sports. As society progresses, there is a greater emphasis on allowing individuals to express their identity and heritage. It is crucial for sports organizations to navigate these conversations thoughtfully and consider the cultural implications of their decisions.

At the heart of the debate is whether personal expression should be limited in the pursuit of professionalism. Finding a balance between individuality and conformity is a challenge that organizations across different industries face. Like other sports leagues, the NBA must weigh its players' desires and cultural significance against the expectations of fans, sponsors, and the broader public.

Ultimately, the ongoing debate surrounding durags in the NBA serves as a reminder of the complexities surrounding cultural expression and the role of sports as a platform for social change. As society evolves, it is important to have open discussions that promote understanding, inclusivity, and respect for diverse perspectives.

Pros of Wearing Durags Cons of Wearing Durags
Durags allow players to express their personal style and show solidarity with their communities. Durags may be seen as a distraction and convey an unprofessional image.
They are a symbol of black pride and an acknowledgment of the struggles faced by black Americans throughout history. Durags could pose a safety risk during gameplay and disrupt the visual consistency of the teams.
“Durags are not just a fashion choice, they are a representation of our culture and heritage. They should be respected and embraced in professional sports.” - Player A
“Professionalism should be the priority in the NBA. Durags can be distracting and take away from the game.” - Coach B

NBA Durags dress code

Players' Dress Code and Choices

Despite the ban, some NBA players continue to wear silk durags, citing personal style choices and hair management as their reasons. Durags have become a fashion statement and a way for players to express their individuality on the court. They see it as a form of self-expression and a nod to their cultural heritage. Durags have long been associated with African-American culture, and wearing them allows players to showcase their pride and connection to their community.

The benefits of wearing durags go beyond style for these players. Many believe that durags help in managing their hair during intense games. The close-fitting cloth keeps their hair in place, preventing it from distracting and interfering with their performance. It also helps to maintain the natural oils in their hair and minimize breakage. For players with curly hair, durags can accelerate the development of defined curls and waves.

One NBA player who has embraced wearing durags is Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors. In an interview, he mentioned wearing a durag to protect and moisturize his hair during games. He also sees it as a way to make a fashion statement and stand out on the court.

Player Perspective

“I wear a durag for practical reasons and as a form of self-expression. It helps me manage my hair and adds a touch of style to my game. It's a personal choice, and I don't see any harm in it as long as it doesn't interfere with my performance.” - Andre Iguodala

Many NBA players embrace durags, while others opt not to wear them. There is no official rule against durags in the NBA, but individual teams may have new dress codes or policies regarding player casual attire. Some players may also consider the potential distraction or discomfort of wearing a durag during games.

At the end of the day, the decision to wear a durag on the court remains a personal choice for NBA players. Whether it's for style, hair management, or cultural significance, players have their reasons for embracing this accessory. The ongoing debate surrounding durags in the NBA reflects the larger conversation about personal expression and the intersection of culture and sports.

NBA Player Reason for Wearing Durag
Andre Iguodala To protect and moisturize hair, as a fashion statement
Other NBA players For personal style, cultural pride, and hair management
Some NBA players Prefer not to wear durags due to team policies or personal preferences

Despite the ongoing debate, durags have become a part of NBA player culture. They serve as a symbol of individuality, cultural pride, and personal style choices. Whether or not the NBA will reconsider its ban on durags remains to be seen, but for now, some players will continue to don them on the court.

NBA player who jumps to the basket with a durag

In conclusion, NBA players' perspectives and choices regarding wearing durags vary. Some players view them as a fashion statement and a way to express their personal style, while others see them as a practical tool for managing their hair during games. The ongoing debate surrounding durags in the NBA highlights the intersection of culture, personal expression, and sports. Ultimately, the decision to wear a durag remains a personal choice for NBA players, and it is up to them to decide how they want to represent themselves on the court.


In conclusion, the NBA has rules in place regarding the wearing of durags by players, but the debate continues on whether they should be allowed as a form of personal expression. Over the years, the NBA has imposed bans and restrictions on various accessories and attire worn by players, including gold chains, sneakers, and even durags.

The league has specifically banned durags due to safety concerns, with an incident involving Sam Perkins during a preseason game leading to the ban. However, some argue that durags are not only a fashion choice but also a way for players to manage their hair and show support for the black community and African-American culture.

While the NBA does not have an official rule against durags, some teams may have dress codes prohibiting players from wearing them. Ultimately, deciding to wear a durag on the court is up to each player. Some NBA players started to wear durags, citing personal style and hair management as their reasons, while others did not.

As the NBA continues to evolve, the debate surrounding durags and other forms of personal expression on the court will likely persist. Whether durags should be allowed in the NBA is a personal opinion and the league's stance on uniform and dress codes. As the league continues to navigate this discussion, players' choices in expressing themselves through their attire will continue to be a topic of interest and discussion.


Q: Can NBA players wear durags?

A: Yes, NBA players can wear durags. The league has no rules against durags, but some teams may have their own dress code policies regarding player attire.

Q: Why do some NBA players choose to wear durags?

A: Some NBA players wear durags as a fashion statement or to support the black community and African-American culture. Others believe that durags help keep their hair in place during games.

Q: Have durags ever been banned by the NBA?

A: The NBA has never officially banned durags, but there have been incidents where players wearing durags were identified as potential safety hazards and asked to remove them.

Q: Are durags considered appropriate attire for professional basketball games?

A: This is a topic of debate. Some people believe that durags are inappropriate and unprofessional, while others see them as a form of personal expression and cultural significance.

Q: Do durags offer any practical benefits for NBA players?

A: Some NBA players believe that durags help keep their hair in place and prevent sweat from getting in their eyes during games. However, durags can also be uncomfortable to wear for extended periods and may affect hearing on the court.

Q: Can NBA players express their religious freedom through headwear?

A: The NBA currently has no official rule granting religious exceptions for headwear. However, other basketball leagues, like FIBA, have recently lifted restrictions on religious head coverings.

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