What's up with the black bands that NBA players wear on their uniforms?

Have you noticed it before? They’re these little black bands that the NBA players wear on the shoulder straps of their uniforms. Not all the teams where them, but quite a few do. What’s the deal?

Well at least I got the word “wear” right in the topic title…

They are put on uniforms in memory of a person who died recently.
The Lakers are wearing it because of Wilt Chamberlain.

Could be a player, owner, official, employee, etc.

Well, shut my mouth. It’s also illegal to put squirrels down your pants for the purposes of gambling.

I kind of figured it was that, sort of like what the police do when they cover their badges in memory of a fallen officer. But then I ruled it out since there were so many teams that wear them all the time. I guess it’s become a permanent thing…

Well, people have kept up this nasty habit of dying. If you think about all of the people associated with an organization (or the league as a whole) it is pretty likely that a majority of teams are going to be honoring someone.

Yeah, but for how long? I’m convinced I’ve seen the Heat wearing them for at least the past three years, although I could be wrong. Anybody else notice a team where these things seem to be a permanent fixture?

I’d say almost all sports do it. The St. Louis Cardinals wore black armbands during the 1982 World Series in memory of Ken Boyer, who had recently died.

It’s a long way to heaven, but only three short steps to hell.

I didn’t mean how long has this tradition been in practice. I meant how long does an individual team usually mourn the loss before they take the black strap thingy off?

Traditional mourning period in sports is until the end of the schedule of the year the person died.

After that, you have to get a plaque, monument, statue, or have your number retired.