Asheville (N.C.) High’s Tyleek Jackson checks his shorts in the mirror before he walks out onto the basketball court.
The senior rolls the elastic on his waistband several times to get the shorts to a desired length, while tucking them in at the bottom. It’s the only look he said that goes perfectly with his tight-fitted jersey, low top shoes and low-cut socks.
“I’ve got to have shorts above my knees to play,” Jackson said. “It looks like, I don’t know, it just makes you ready to play. For me, the shorter the better.”
The vogue of tighter-fitting clothing is seeping into the game of high school basketball as players choose short and skinny over long and baggy.
For local athletes like Jackson, the fit is about functionality and fashion. For coaches, it’s adding a sense of nostalgia to the game — a nod to the days before Michael Jordan and Michigan’s Fab Five used deeper inseams to influence basketball’s brand in the ’90s.
“It seems like if you’re around long enough, you’ll see everything come full circle,” Enka boys’ basketball coach Brian Carver said.
Enka junior Dylan Evans said he’s only comfortable if there is plenty of room between his hemline and knees.
“It’s what works for me, and it looks good,” Evans said. “If you look good, you play good.”