What Masks Do NBA Players Wear?

A look at the different types of masks NBA players are wearing to protect themselves and others from the coronavirus.

Masks Worn in the Past

When the league first started back up after the COVID-19 pandemic, players were not required to wear masks. However, as cases continued to rise, the league implemented a rule that players must wear masks when entering and exiting the arena. Now, there are a variety of masks that players are wearing. Some players are even wearing multiple masks at a time. Let’s take a look at some of the masks that NBA players are wearing.

Shaquille O’Neal

Overall, Shaquille O’Neal had a successful career with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning three consecutive NBA championships. He was also a dominant force on the court, regularly finishing among the league leaders in points and rebounds. However, one aspect of his game that was often overlooked was his use of a protective mask.

O’Neal first wore a protective mask during the 1996-97 season, when he broke his nose during a game against the Houston Rockets. He would go on to wear the mask for the rest of his career, with varying degrees of success. In some cases, the mask seemed to hinder his breathing and affect his stamina. But in other instances, it appeared to help him focus on the task at hand and play at a high level.

Whether or not the mask had a positive or negative impact on O’Neal’s game is up for debate. But one thing is certain: it was one of the most unique aspects of his Hall of Fame career.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant was one of the most popular and successful basketball players of his generation. He played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five NBA championships. He was also a two-time Olympic gold medalist.

Bryant was known for his intense work ethic and dedication to his craft. He was also known for wearing a variety of masks during his career to protect injuries.

The most famous of these was the ” Black Mamba” mask, which he wore during the 2012-13 season after suffering a broken nose and a concussion. The mask became so iconic that it inspired its own line of merchandise.

Other masks worn by Kobe include:
-A clear protective mask (2009)
-A gas mask (2012)
-A superman-style cape (2013)

Jason Terry

Through the years, NBA players have worn a lot of different masks to protect their faces — from clear plastic to full-on metal cages. Some players have even made fashion statements with their masks, like when Jason Terry wore a “Freddie Krueger” mask during the 2012 playoffs. Here’s a look at some of the more notable masks worn by NBA players over the years.

Masks Worn Currently

The NBA has a long list of players who are currently wearing masks during games. Some of these masks are for protection, while others are simply for style. You can find a list of all the players and the masks they wear below.

LeBron James

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers is one of the most high-profile and popular players in the NBA. He is also one of the league’s most outspoken players when it comes to social issues. Recently, James has been vocal about the importance of wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a necessary evil,” James said of wearing masks. “I don’t like it, but it’s something that we have to do in order to be able to protect one another.”

James has been spotted wearing a variety of different masks during his time with the Lakers. He has worn masks with the team’s logo, as well as masks with messages like “Vote” and “Equality.”

Wearing a mask is something that all NBA players are currently required to do when they are not playing. The league has strict protocols in place for preventing the spread of COVID-19, and players have been following them closely.

Masks have become a common sight on NBA courts this season, and they are likely here to stay for the foreseeable future.

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets is one of the most popular NBA players currently. He is known for his flashy style on and off the court. One of Kyrie’s most popular style decisions is the masks he wears during games. He has worn many different types of masks over his career, but currently, he wears a black mask with a white splash design.

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook, Houston Rockets point guard, was one of the first players in the league to consistently wear a mask during games. He started wearing one early in the 2014-15 season after suffering a fracture in his right hand. The injury happened when Westbrook collided with Portland’s Arron Afflalo and had to have surgery to insert a plate and screws into his hand.

He wore a clear mask for a few games, but then switched to a black one that better matched his Oklahoma City Thunder uniform. He continued to wear the black mask for the rest of the season and into the playoffs. In 2016, he unveiled a new white mask with red accents that he said was inspired by Marvel’s Deadpool character.

Masks to Be Worn in the Future

The NBA season is set to resume in Orlando, Florida on July 30th. Every player on every team will be required to wear a mask during games, practices, and team activities. This is unprecedented in the NBA’s history and it will be interesting to see how players adapt. Some players have already been photographed wearing masks and it is safe to assume that we will see some creative and interesting masks when the season resumes.

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson, who is 6 feet 7 inches and 284 pounds, played his first regular-season game with the New Orleans Pelicans on Jan. 22, 2020. He scored 22 points in 28 minutes in a victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

During his post-game press conference, when asked about why he was not wearing a mask, Zion replied, “I’m not comfortable playing with a mask.”

While many other professional athletes have resumed playing with masks, including players in the National Basketball Association (NBA), Zion has yet to don one.

It is unclear when or if Zion will start wearing a mask during games. However, given the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the United States, it is likely that he will eventually have to wear one.

Ja Morant

Ja Morant, the second overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, is an American professional basketball player for the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA. He played college basketball for the Murray State Racers.

Morant was born in Dalzell, South Carolina and grew up in nearby Manning. He began playing organized basketball in fifth grade. Morant attended Crestwood High School in Sumter, South Carolina, where he averaged 28.5 points, 8.0 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game as a senior. He was not highly recruited out of high school and only received one Division I scholarship offer from Murray State University.

At Murray State, Morant became one of the best players in college basketball. As a freshman, he averaged 12.7 points, 6.5 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game. He was named the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) Freshman of the Year and earned second-team All-OVC honors.

As a sophomore, Morant improved his statistics to 24.5 points, 10 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game while leading Murray State to a 30–1 record and an OVC regular season championship. He was unanimously named the OVC Player of the Year and was a consensus first-team All-American selection. After his sophomore season, Morant declared for the 2019 NBA draft where he was selected with the second overall pick by the Memphis Grizzlies.

RJ Barrett

RJ Barrett of the New York Knicks wears a N95 mask during games.

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