The NBA and Nike now control the schedule of which uniforms teams wear for specific games. Teams traditionally would wear white at home and dark on the road while players often could decide themselves on alternate uniforms.
“The league gives us a master schedule,” said Celtics travel and equipment coordinator John Connor. “We put it on the wall and we just give out what’s on the wall. We get the schedule and what we’re supposed to wear from the league, and it’s for the whole year.
“It used to be Paul Pierce saying, ‘Hey, let’s wear the green/black ones.’ Not anymore. The players can’t control it.”
Nike is in their first season as the official uniform provider to the NBA.
“They changed the tight colors, too,” said Connor. “Nike will call out, like, they want green tights with the green uniforms or white tights with green uniforms, black tights on white. They actually script for like 50 percent of the games what everything has to be. It’s a lot more restrictive.”
Packing for road trips is now also more difficult for teams.
“Way more,” said Connor. “We’re carrying more bags than ever, because sometimes you’re going on a four-game trip and you’re wearing three different uniforms. Then you need backups for every one.
“I used to travel with 15 bags, and now we’re easily up to 25 or 30 now. That includes basketballs and practice gear and all that stuff. But it’s at least seven or eight more bags just for uniforms now.”