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Sue Ogrocki, AP
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony dribbles during Game 5 of first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz in Oklahoma City on April 25, 2018.

A few years ago I asked an assistant football coach the purpose of biceps bands.

“Looks cool,” he said.

I have since learned they’re supposed to keep sweat from running down a player’s arms. Why that matters to an offensive lineman eludes me.

Once upon a time, I couldn’t dress to play basketball without putting on a pair of terrycloth wristbands. I wanted every advantage possible. It was supposed to keep sweat from running onto my hands, I was told. Which sounded smart, except few if any NBA players wear them anymore.

I never really could tell if sweat was running onto my palms, or whether the wristbands did anything to stop it.

So it was all about the looks.

Players now occasionally wear wristbands near their elbows, if they wear them at all. The story is that Michael Jordan thought it looked good, so everyone else followed along.

These days shooting sleeves are a major fashion statement. They’re supposed to keep the arm warm, avoid strains and even improve shooting form. I’ve never used one, so I don’t know. More likely they too are just for appearances, unless a player truly is nursing an arm injury.

A sleeve certainly didn't help Carmelo Anthony's shooting in the playoffs.

I read where eye black actually has proven to help with glare on the baseball or football field, and allows players to track the ball better. In that case, I should get some next time I cover a Bees day game. It would look pretty darn good in the press box.

4 comments on this story

When I was in junior high, our basketball coach told us to wear low-top Converse. He said the high-tops impeded quickness. Later he said to wear high-tops to avoid ankle injuries. That seemed to make more sense, though how effective it was is debatable. I still sprained ankles in high-tops.

When the high-top pumps came in, they were supposed to revolutionize footwear. Maybe not.

Nowadays you’re not an NBA player if you’re not wearing a rubber wristband. Usually it will have something written on it. Even Jazz coach Quin Snyder wears them. From that I can only conclude there is no real benefit to wearing them except looking good. In that case, get ready for dark glasses on the basketball court.