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Why do NBA players have to keep their shirt tucked in?

If a player has their jersey untucked as they enter the court of play then under NBA rules this is deemed as a delay in play violation. If the violation is committed for a second time then a technical foul is awarded to the opposition.

When the Oklahoma City Thunder played the Minnesota Timberwolves towards the end of 2019, Chris Paul lobbied the referee to issue a delay of play violation against the Timberwolves. This then resulted in a technical foul against the Timberwolves, due to the untucked jersey being a second delay in play violation. In turn the Thunder recieved a free throw in a game that was to close to call.

In this article, we look at what the rule is, whether anyone has been fined for an untucked jersey and how NBA players stop their shirts from being untucked. If you have not seen what happened with Chris Paul you can check out the video below.

What is the rule for NBA players having untucked jerseys?

Under rule number three of the NBA Rules, Section Five subsection c states that:

A substitute must be ready to enter the game when beckoned. No delays for removal of warm-up clothing will be  permitted.

Therefore, having a jersey untucked constitutes as not being ready to appear on the court. Due to this a NBA team is deemed to have a delayed a game, if it is the first time in a game then the team is given a warning. However, if a delay in game happens again a team is given a technical foul against them. This results in an opposition team being awarded a free throw for the technical foul.

Has anyone been fined for an untucked jersey?

We could not find anyone who had been fined for persistently having their jersey untucked. However, we did find two instance of players fined for removing their jerseys prior to leaving the court. The first instance was in 2006, Udonis Haslem was fined $5,000 for removing his jersey as he left the court and the second instance was in 2011 when Andrew Bynum was fined $25,000 for removing his jersey as he left the court. With fines like those it is obvious why players keep their kit in check.

How do NBA players keep their jerseys tucked in?

When the rule was brought into force Adidas made the NBA kits. However, an untucked jersey was a persistent problem and given the movement made on a basketball court, a jersey would always be untucked. Therefore, Adidas put silicone in the waistband of the basketball shorts in order to keep the jersey tucked in for the entire game.

Now Nike produce the NBA Team uniforms the silicone still remains in the basketball shorts to ensure that a untucked basketball jersey does not happen. Below is an image of the silicone within the shorts.