Chad Haywood never thought about covering his knees on Dec. 4, 1987. He was more concerned about covering Harry Hart and Ted Brown.
Haywood was on the basketball team at Schenectady’s former Mont Pleasant High. Hart and Brown were representatives from Albany High School, and all three wanted the leather during an early-season game at Mont Pleasant’s court.
Fashion did not matter. No basketball players were running the court in long, baggy shorts that looked more like pajamas than athletic gear.
Want to be like Mike
For high school basketball players of 20 years ago, every game was a leg show. Shorts for both boys and girls were snug and sparse, starting at the waist and ending about 8 inches above the knee. But even during the 1987-88 school hoop season, things were beginning to change. Michael Jordan was in his fourth season with the National Basketball Association’s Chicago Bulls, and was putting up big scoring numbers just about every night. Young fans began purchasing Jordan’s red “23” Bulls jersey at sporting goods stores and also began noticing their favorite’s penchant for longer basketball shorts.
Chris Webber and some friends were among the players who appreciated more material. Webber and other members of the University of Michigan’s “Fab Five” teams of the early 1990s wore long, baggy shorts and black shoes. Other college and high school teams decided they also could look sharp while making sharp moves to the basket, and designed new uniforms. Long, roomy shorts have been part of the basketball scene ever since.
Game’s still the same
Players of the late 1980s may have been underdressed compared with forwards, guards and centers of 2008, and may have collected more floor burns in dives for loose balls. Twenty years later, some things have stayed the same: Teens still want to compete, hit the long shots, grab the key rebounds and win the big games.
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