Michael Jordan was once fined $5,000 per game for wearing a shoe with a black sole, which at the time was not allowed by NBA uniform rules.
In 2018, in high contrast to the early days of the modern NBA, it appears that all restrictions on shoe colors will be lifted for NBA players.
According to ESPN, the NBA will lift the restrictions on which colorways can be worn with which uniform combinations for players in the upcoming 2018-19 season. There will still be some restrictions which are based in common sense, but shoes worn for the first part of the year will be approved soon.
The league will continue to look closely at any third party logos, as last season saw everything from non-approved movie cover artwork to podcast logos and charity organization icons sneak onto the hardwood.
There are also still restrictions against any “sharp protruding objects or reflective elements,” like gleaming chrome.
Players have become connoisseurs of high fashion off the court as a reaction to David Stern’s Allen Iverson rule. Part of that has been expensive footwear, which often delves into the extreme and the wild.
How guys like LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden will transition their off-court style onto the hardwood will be interesting. This also opens the floodgates for big time sneakerheads who already have a reputation for wearing crazy shoes, like Nick Young and PJ Tucker.
While the leagues like the NFL seem to enforce new draconian rules each year, the NBA keeps trying to help market and individualize players. This is a solid move from both a social and business standpoint.