College Basketball: 25 Worst Short-Shorts Offenders of All Time
Thank God for the Fab Five. That's all I have to say.
For years, college basketball fans were forced to watch their hardwood heroes take the court in shorts that left nothing to the imagination. Getting into a defensive stance was more than enough to strain the fibers of the tight shorts favored for years by college basketball teams.
Looking back, it's easy to question these guys' choices to suit up in such atrocious shorts, but most can be forgiven. They had no choice until the Fab Five came along and showed that maybe you could play in shorts that went past mid-thigh.
The following list is not for the faint of heart. One look at the 25 worst short-short offenders in college basketball history, and you will undoubtedly be thanking the Fab Five for saving the eyes of college basketball fans everywhere.
John Wooden, Purdue, 1929-1933
After his playing days were over, John Wooden would go on to become arguably the greatest college basketball coach of all time. Wooden was a heck of a player at Purdue, but it sure does look like he's wearing compression shorts in this picture.
Hank Luisetti, Stanford, 1934-1938
While at Stanford, Hank Luisetti deployed a revolutionary one-handed running shot. During the era of the two-handed set shot, Luisetti was one of the greatest scorers of his time.
Luisetti made a huge contribution to the game with his running shot, but that does not excuse the shorts he is wearing in this picture. It looks like he is wearing jean shorts more suited for Daisy Duke.
George Mikan, DePaul, 1942-1946
George Mikan paved the way for all the big men who have made a career out of the game of basketball. Before Mikan came along, common belief held that a player as big as the 6'10" Mikan would be too clumsy to play basketball.
Mikan proved the doubters wrong and became one of the first stars of the startup NBA. Mikan can be forgiven for squeezing himself into his tiny DePaul uniform since he was such a revolutionary player.
Dick Groat, Duke, 1948-1952
Dick Groat is better known for his abilities as a baseball player. He had over 2,000 hits during his MLB career and was a five-time All-Star.
Before his baseball career got started, Groat was a two-time All-American for Duke. Groat probably looked a lot better in his baseball uniform.
Clyde Lovellette, Kansas, 1948-1952
Like George Mikan, Clyde Lovellette is another big man from college basketball's earliest days. His legs were just a little too long to handle the shorts he's wearing here. It's actually hard to tell if he's wearing shorts at all.
Tom Gola, LaSalle, 1952-1955
Tom Gola was a hometown hero at LaSalle. He led the Explorers to the NCAA title in 1954 and a runner-up finish in 1955. He could do it all in his hometown of Philadelphia, even coach, as he returned to his alma mater after his NBA playing days were over.
The only question when it comes to Gola's status as one of the greatest players of the 1950's is how such a good player could agree to wear a uniform that looks suspiciously like a romper.
Jerry Lucas, Ohio State, 1959-1962
It's a safe bet to say that Jerry Lucas is still and always will be the greatest basketball player to suit up for the Buckeyes. The football-crazy school is not known for its production of NBA greats.
Sports Illustrated put Lucas on its All Century starting five in 1999. In the first decade of the 2000's, there may not have been a player good enough to bump Lucas off that list.
I understand the greatness of Jerry Lucas. What I don't understand is why he needed such a big belt to hold up his skin-tight shorts.
Bill Bradley, Princeton, 1961-1965
Bill Bradley may have the most distinguished basketball career of any player in NBA history. With his Princeton degree, Bradley spent 18 years as a US Senator representing New Jersey.
While he was pursuing the Democratic presidential nomination in 2000, Bradley was lucky his opponents had the decency not to trot out photos of him in his short-shorts at Princeton.
Dan Issel, Kentucky, 1966-1970
Dan Issel is one of the greatest players in the very storied history of Kentucky basketball. He held the university's single-game scoring record for close to four decades.
Issel's status as a Kentucky legend is not in question. What is in question is why he couldn't find a little more material to cover his tree-trunk legs.
Rick Barry, Miami, 1961-1965
Rick Barry is famous for his unorthodox underhand free throw delivery. He is also one of the deadliest outside shooters in NBA history.
Barry is also known for siring a family of professional basketballers. Four of his sons played professionally, including Jon and Brent who had long careers.
It's a wonder Rick was able to father such an athletic clan after spending his career wearing shorts like these.
Artis Gilmore, Jacksonville, 1969-1971
Artis Gilmore, the "A-Train," would be in any conversation about who is the best seven-footer to ever play in the NBA. The uniform he wore while at Jacksonville would also be in any conversation about the worst uniforms ever worn in college basketball.
Kent Benson, Indiana, 1973-1977
Kent Benson was one of the key players on the Hoosiers' undefeated team of 1976. Benson was named the most outstanding player of the NCAA tournament and would go on to have a very solid NBA career.
His shorts, however, were not so outstanding. It looks like they are stretched to their limits as he rises up for a hook shot.
Sidney Moncrief, Arkansas, 1975-1979
Sidney Moncrief gave us one of the most iconic images of college basketball history. As he glides through the air towards the hoop, the ease with which he flies and the impending slam are evident.
This image will be around as future generations discover college basketball. Instead of asking how Moncrief was able to fly so effortlessly, they may ask why his shorts were so short.
Danny Ainge, BYU, 1977-1981
One of the best point guards in NBA history, Danny Ainge is now making a name for himself as the GM of the Boston Celtics.
In BYU history, only Jimmer Fredette outshines Danny Ainge when it comes to basketball flair. It's just surprising that the BYU code of conduct did not extend to short-shorts.
Ralph Sampson, Virginia, 1979-1983
Ralph Sampson dominated the game of college basketball like no other player in the early 80's. At 7'4" he would have been a handful even if he did not have an incredible offensive repertoire. The ability to score the way Sampson did is uncommon in players his size, and it made him one of the all-time greats.
It would have been nice if the Cavaliers could have rewarded their three-time Naismith award winner with longer, baggier shorts.
Chris Mullin, St. John's, 1981-1985
Chris Mullin lit up the Big Apple in college. His talent was never in question during his time at St. John's.
The only question when looking at this picture is whether or not Mullin is wearing shorts. The popularity of short-shorts was waning by the time Mullin showed up in New York City. In the fashion capital of the United States, he had to have had some inkling that his shorts were a little too short.
Keith Lee, Memphis 1981-1985
Keith Lee is the only person to be named to the All-American squad four times. While at Memphis, he led the Tigers on a stretch of dominant basketball matched only by John Calipari's squads. Lee's Tigers won 102 games during his career and made the Final Four in 1985.
Keith Lee ranks among the greatest players in Memphis' storied history, and his long, skinny legs would make any model jealous. When you're playing basketball, however, you should not show off your legs quite so much.
Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston, 1981-1984
Hakeem Olajuwon might have been "The Dream," but these shorts are a nightmare. The fact that they are way too short and tight is not what earns them their spot on this list. What really puts these shorts over the top is their pink hue. Did they accidentally get washed in hot water?
Michael Jordan, North Carolina, 1981-1984
Michael Jordan brought longer shorts to the NBA because he wanted to wear his UNC trunks underneath his Bulls uniform. He needed longer shorts to do so.
If His Airness was willing to wear longer shorts in the NBA, surely he could have done the same while in college.
Steve Alford, Indiana, 1983-1987
The scrappy guard became an Indiana legend. Steve Alford left the storied program as the all-time leading scorer, no small accomplishment.
Maybe it wasn't Alford's choice to wear such short-shorts. Bob Knight was his coach after all. For whatever reason Alford was stuck showing a little too much leg.
Manute Bol, Bridgeport, 1983-1984
Manute Bol emerged as a shot-blocking force from the Sudan. The 7'7" center's life was cut tragically short by kidney disease. He was known for his tremendous charity work in his native Sudan after his career ended.
Danny Manning, Kansas, 1984-1988
Danny Manning led the 1988 Kansas Jayhawks to a very unlikely national championship. With a 21-11 record entering the tournament, "Danny and the Miracles" had more losses than any college basketball champion.
Manning's run to the championship proved that one player could carry his team to an NCAA title. Manning was among the last players to rock the short-shorts.
Alonzo Mourning, Georgetown, 1988-1992
Alonzo Mourning dominated the Big East as long shorts were coming in vogue. 'Zo appears to have gotten that memo, but he didn't quite embrace it. It's the knee pads that make this picture worse for me. Seeing them makes it painfully obvious that Mourning's shorts are not long enough.
Sean Elliott, Arizona, 1985-1989
Sean Elliot is still the all-time leading scorer for the Arizona Wildcats. He also won the Wooden Award as a senior and led his team to the Final Four.
After a solid NBA career with the Spurs, Elliott became a basketball analyst for NBC, ESPN and the Spurs. He's lucky his broadcasting partners were kind enough not to flash pictures of him in his Arizona short-shorts.
Glen Rice, Michigan, 1985-1989
Glen Rice had the misfortune of playing at Michigan a few years before the Fab Five brought their knee-length shorts to Ann Arbor. He may have paved the way for Michigan to become an NCAA power, but his shorts were still way too short.
Rice's legs are covered by everything but shorts. Socks, knee pads and compression shorts running almost the length of his legs make the tiny shorts he wears look silly.