Why Do NBA Players Wear Masks? List of Famous Players Wore Masks

We have watched in NBA tournaments that some players are wearing face masks No doubt they took the center of the attraction, but have you ever wondered why NBA players wear masks? Though basketball game is filled with full of surprising injuries. Facial injuries are common in basketball sport. So it feels uncomfortable to play basketball wearing a mask.

Why Do NBA Players Wear Masks

Why do NBA Players Wear Masks?

Do you know some famous players who also wear face masks? We will further discuss this below; keep reading to understand. NBA players wear masks because they had previous facial injuries. The common facial injuries that may occur in the basketball game are nasal injury, cheekbone injury, eye injury, etc. Players wear masks because they may have these injuries and not healed yet.

A face mask plays the role of a helmet in basketball. Besides protecting, it also grabs the attention of the audience. Therefore, NBA players and beginners should also wear basketball face masks to prevent injuries.

Here is the list of the famous players that wore face masks:

Russell Westbrook

In 2015, Russel had a cheekbone injury; he was playing on the courts, and suddenly, his teammate Andre Robbinson kneed his face. Due to that injury, he wore the mask in a match for protecting and speedy recovery. Yet, surprisingly, he was still able to make 49 points with a cover in that match.

Rip Hamilton

Rip Hamilton had 3 times nose injuries. So he decided to wear the mask even after he healed to prevent further damage. He wore the mask for 4 years after the injury and then decided to wear it throughout his whole career.

Joel Embiid

In 2018, Joel Embiid wore a mask and a goggle because he broke his eye socket when he smushed his teammate Markelle Fultz. He required surgery to fix that injury. After surgery, he used to wear a mask so as not to get injured again.

Chris Paul

From 2011 to 2012, he got a nose injury from his opponent Danny Green. Chris used to wear a mask for speedy healing.

Kobe Bryant

One of the famous players, Kobe, broke his nose back in 2012 when he ran into his opponent Dwayne Wade. He used to wear a black mask but later on, he converted to a transparent one. His mask was later auctioned and solid for $50,000.

Tracy McGrady

In 2008, Tracy opted to wear a mask because he got an eye injury from being elbowed in the face. There was no other option except choosing to wear a mask.

Lebron James

LeBron broke his nose after he started wearing a black carbon-fiber mask that looked like a batman. After that match, NBA asked Lebron not to wear that mask. Because the players couldn’t see his expressions and thought he got an advantage to spice up things with a batman mask. As a result, NBA banned that mask. After that, Lebron chose to wear a transparent mask.

Rudy Tomjonavich

Rudy had a very horrible injury. In 1977, his opponent, a player named Kermit Washington, punched him so hard that he got jaw and facial bone injuries. He sided away 5 months for a full recovery.

Check out our latest review on indoor vs. outdoor basketball.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why are black masks banned in the NBA?

As we discussed above NBA also banned the mask worn by LeBron James. NBA thought that a player with a black carbon mask would get an advantage because the opponent won’t be able to see the eyes and expressions of the player. Although, black transparent masks are not banned.

Check out our reviews on the best basketball socks

Are NBA players required to wear masks?

Whenever players feel a need to wear a basketball mask, the NBA health staff decides that they can wear KN95 or KF94 masks.

Some of our recommended masks you can wear:

You can check out the full review on the Best basketball face guards for a broken nose.


Wearing a mask is ideal as you will look different from your teammates and opponents. Plus, you should also wear it for maximum protection. If you have already had a facial injury, it will help you speedy healing. If NBA players can wear, then you should also. We briefly discussed why do NBA players wear a mask and gave an example of famous players who wore masks.

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