Basketball Uniform Decoration Rules

Before designing your basketball jersey, it's a good idea to know the basketball uniform decoration rules and regulations. League rules may vary, so be sure and check with your league or organization.


NCAA Uniform Rules

The following is from the 2010-11 NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Men's and Women's Rules under Players, Substitutes, and Equipment; Rule 3, Sections 5-8. For further information or details, see the Official NCAA Basketball Rules.

Uniforms (Game Jerseys and Pants) [Section 5, Articles 1-8]

*Neutral zone: the areas on the front and back of the jersey extending from 4 inches below the shoulder seam downward to the bottom of the jersey.

The color, design, and style of teammate's jerseys and pants must be the same.

Opposing teams must wear different colors. The home team wears light colors, the visiting team wears dark, but by mutual consent of both teams this rule can be modified. The *neutral zone will define the color of team jerseys and pants.

The neutral zone(s) of the game jersey will be the same single color. A tonal design effect is permitted within the neutral zone(s) provided the tonal shift is not more than 15 percent of any one shade of color. For diagram and specific details, see Rule 3, Article 4.


  • The front neutral zone is measured from the shoulder panel downward toward the bottom of the game jersey. It must be at least 12 inches wide and measure 6 inches in each direction from the center of the neckline.
  • The back neutral zone must be measured from the shoulder panel to the bottom of the jersey and be at least 12 inches wide and 6 inches in each direction from the center of the neckline.


The following is permitted on the back and within the neutral zones:


  1. A player or institutional name or mascot. Only two names are allowed, that which identifies the name of the school, and the team player. It must be placed horizontally, and be one inch or farther away from the number.
  2. Arabic (modern) numbers must be placed on the front and on the back and centered horizontally in the neutral zone, and be the same style, and be a solid color easily seen in the neutral zone. The number must be at least 6 inches high on the back, and 4 inches high on the front and at least 1 inch wide, and may be bordered in a different color not more than 1/2 inch. Legal numbers are: 00, 0-5, 10-15, 20-25, 30-35, 40-45, 50-55. Team rosters may not include both 0, and 00. Members of the same team can not use the same number.
  3. Team logo, patch, or commemorative symbol meeting size restrictions, 2-1/4 square inches, must be located between the apex of the front and back neckline and the shoulder seam on the left side of the jersey.


No letters, numbers, or decorations between the number and the name may be used unless it's a part of the team logo.

There are no color or design restrictions outside the neutral zones.

Game jersey must be tucked inside the game pants. For details regarding violations of this rule, see official rules.

Undergarments [Section 6, Articles 1-2]

The undershirt is considered part of the game jersey and must be of a similar color as the game jersey. No trim, logos, decorations, etc. may be used on the undershirt.

Undergarment must not fall below the game pants and must be the same color as the game pants.

Headbands and Wristbands [Section 7, Articles 1-3]

Headbands and hair control items must be made from a soft, 'non-abrasive' material (cloth, rubber, soft leather, etc.) and be 'unadorned'. They must be solid-colored and of a color similar to that of the jersey, or be black, beige or white. It may not be wider than 2 inches. For logo restrictions on headbands see Rule 3-8.2 of the official NCAA rules. No hard items may be used, such as bobby pins, beads, or barrettes.

Wristbands: The same restrictions as headbands and hair devices apply to wristbands. Wristbands and headbands should be uniform to each other and for all team members.

Logos, Labels, Patches or Trademarks [Section 8, Articles 1-4]

A single label, logo, or trademark of a distributor or manufacturer may be visible only once and only on game shorts, or other articles of apparel. It may not visibly appear on game jersey or undershirt, and symbols may not exceed 2-1/4 square inches.

Other symbols that may be worn but are not to exceed 2-1/4 inches are institutional or conference logos or mascots, commemorative patches, or a flags.

ID labels or washing instructions on garments worn by an institution's student-athletes may not be located more than 2 inches away from the bottom of the game jersey's torso. The entire label must not exceed 2-1/4 inches. Only the following items are allowed on the label: the manufacturer's logo, label or trademark, space for team member's name and number, and the institution or conference's name or logo.

NBA Basketball Jersey Rules

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the men's professional basketball league in North America, founded in 1946, and consists of 30 teams from the US and Canada. The purpose of rules is to give teams a uniform look, which players and coaches are required to adhere to, the violation of which can result in penalties. The following is a general summary of what these rules state regarding professional basketball uniforms. For details and more information, visit the Official Rules of the NBA.

Professional players must be uniformly clothed when entering the game. Substitutes entering a game must remove their warm-ups at the bench area. Coaches and assistants must wear suit jackets.


Players are required to keep jerseys tucked inside pants at all times. They may not wear a t-shirt under their uniform. Player jerseys must be numbered on the front and back, and the color of the number must contrast with the color of the shirt. Numbers may not be smaller than 3/4 inches wide, and 6 inches high on both front and back. Player's name must be on the back of the jersey, and letters must not be higher than 2 inches. In general, home team wears light-colored jerseys, visitors dark.

Bands, Shorts, Shoes and Socks

Wrist bands may not exceed 4 inches in width. No bicep or arm bands are allowed. Headbands may only be worn during a game, and may not exceed 2 inches in width.

Shorts cannot be longer than 1 inch below the knee.

Players are free to wear shoes from the manufacturer of their choice, or enter into contractual agreements with a manufacturer of their choice, in which case displaying the manufacturer's logo on the shoe is allowed, but this is the only part of the uniform where this advertising practice is allowed. Long compression socks, tights and stockings are not allowed. NBA rules place no restrictions on how long stockings can be.

A Summary of Allowable Jersey Numbers

NBA: All Numbers

WNBA: 00, 0-55

NCAA: 00, 0, 1-5, 10-15, 20-25, 30-35, 40-45, 50-55

NFHS: 00, 0, 1-5, 10-15, 20-25, 30-35, 40-45, 50-55

*FIBA: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

* Fédération Internationale de Basketball Amateur (International Basketball Federation)