NBA home & road uniforms question

In basketball, the home team usually wears white uniforms, and the visitors wear their colored uniforms. However, in the NBA this year, it seems that the home teams are frequently wearing their colored uniforms, with the visitors in white. I’ve noticed this being done in years past, but not nearly as often as this year. Is there a special reason for this?

The reason is to boost the sales of NBA licensed merchandise, I think.

Were you just watching the Bulls game? My daughter and I both wondered the same thing! :smiley:

Nope, I’m a Lakers fan and don’t watch Bulls games. The Lakers wore their gold (normally home) uniforms when they played in Boston a few weeks ago, IIRC.

I saw the thread title and even before reading any of it, had already thought to myself that, whatever the question, this is probably the answer.

I always thought that in general the home team had carte blanche on which uniform they would wear and the visiting team would just have to wear the opposite.

I’ve alway’s heard colors at home, whites in the road.
oh well.

That’s football. Basketall is the reverse, usually.

In football, the home team has their choice. Most teams, with the exception of the Cowboys, usually choice their dark uniforms.

In baseball and basketball, the home team wears their white uniforms, while in hockey, it’s the opposite. In all leagues, either the home or road team can request to use other jerseys for a particular game from their commissioner’s office.

As I understand it, the reason for home and away uniforms to be different comes from the early days of TV. In those days, all the TV equipment had small black and white monitors. This made it difficult for the crews in the TV vans to tell the teams apart if they both had colored uniforms. This wasn’t so critical in baseball, where the teams do not mix it up physically, but was very important in football and basketball, where they do. Note that baseball home and away uniforms are usually not as dramatically different as they are in other sports. The Yankee’s pinstripes would not show up on those early TVs (except maybe in closeups) and it’d be hard to tell the difference between home and away baseball uniforms on a B&W TV (the darker solid-colored baseball uniforms that some teams wear actually date from the 70s, by which time color TV was the norm).

The problem first surfaced in football. The solution was for one team to wear white and the other to wear colors. Other sports followed suit, at least in North America, although the specific traditions they developed were not the same. But I note that non-NA sports often do not have the tradition of home and away uniforms. At least soccer teams outside the US all seem to wear colored uniforms.

And the Redskins. I’ve heard theories that the Redskins wear white at home, in part, to force the Cowboys, their bitter rivals, to wear their little-used blue jerseys when they come to Washington. :slight_smile:

ISTR that the home team used to wear white in the NHL, as well, but they changed the policy a few years back.

One big difference between many (though not all) MLB teams’ home and away uniforms is that the home uniform has the team nickname on it, while the away uniform has the team’s city name on it.

I was all set to tell you that’s ridiculous, but here it is: http://exhibits.baseballhalloffame.org/dressed_to_the_nines/uniforms.asp?league=NL&city=&lowYear=1980&highYear=2010&sort=year&increment=18&=Display+uniforms

It never really occurred to me because I’m a Cardinals fan, and they don’t do that.

They do have “main” and “second” colors, though, the second ones being used when they’re away and the two team’s main uniforms are too similar. For example, Osasuna and Mallorca have identical uniforms: this isn’t a problem when they’re in different divisions but when they have to play each other, out comes that second set.

In general, the patterns and colors are different enough that both teams are able to wear their usual uniforms: both Betis and Real have stripped uniforms, but they’re unmistakable even in BnW (Real’s navy-blue stripes come out much darker than Betis’ light-green ones).

The second set is usually chosen to be extremely different from the main. For example, in recent years Barça’s second shirt has several times been flat orange - as far from their “navy and pomegranate extra-wide vertical stripes” as possible (which comes up as dark-on-dark in BnW).

Yup, the Cardinals are among the teams which haven’t done this – they’re also among the teams which never make big changes to their uniforms. Many teams switch around, and aren’t consistent.

If you look at the NL for 1980 (where your link goes), among the teams which have only the team nickname on both jerseys are the Pirates, Mets, Padres, Giants, and Dodgers. If you go forward ten years, to 1990, all of those teams had switched to showing the city name on their away uniforms. (Plus, the Cubs, who had switched away from having “Chicago” on their away unis around 1981, had switched back to it by 1990.)

Of course, it really started in baseball. Originally, there were two uniform colors: white for the home team and gray for the visiting team. The distinction was purely practical: the home team had laundry access and so could clean their whites after every game; the visiting team didn’t have convenient laundry access (often having to wait until they returned home from a road trip to wash their uniforms), so wore grays that didn’t show dirt as well. Nowadays, of course, there is a laundry in the visitor’s clubhouse, but the tradition remains. The “home whites” and “road grays” are, for most baseball teams, still the “primary” uniforms; colored jerseys are “alternate” uniforms.

2003, IIRC, mostly because teams were wearing dark colored 3rd jerseys at home all the time anyway.

NHL changed to dark at home after the lockout ended in 2005. The story is that they wore dark on the road because way back it was hard to keep whites clean on the road, laundry was not easy to do on the road 50 years ago.

Baseball teams wore white uniforms at home and gray on the road long before there was TV. Here are the 1906 Pittsburg Pirates uniform, for instance. There were even colored road uniforms in the early days – see the 1904 Yankees. Colors were phased out, but brought back by Charley Finley’s A’s in the 1963.

In football, colored jerseys were the standard. The Green Bay Packers added a white jersey in 1946, long before color TV.

Hockey teams started using home and away uniforms in the 1930s. All teams used them by 1940.

The reason for the different colors was to prevent confusion. In the hockey link, not that both the Red Wings and Canadiens had very similar colors – bright red. There were differences in markings, but if you were trying to clear a pass, you don’t have time to note the variation. If one team is red and the other white, it’s much easier to tell them apart (not just the for the players, but for the fans).

Yes, but not before black&white TV, which, if you’d read my post, you would see was the reason they added white uniforms.