Date: 1980s to 1990s
In the early days of Larry Bird’s career, players wore shorts with a three-inch inseam, and by the end of his career, shorts were closer to five inches. While some men wouldn’t feel comfortable playing in those shorts today, Bird didn’t seem to mind it when he dropped 60 points on the Atlanta Hawks during a game in 1985, setting a team record. Perhaps channeling Bird, Jayson Tatum showed up to a 2020 playoff game against the Philadelphia 76ers wearing the same kind of “short shorts” – though these featured the Sesame Street character Big Bird wearing a No. 33 jersey in a reference to Larry himself. Tatum went on to further emulate the legend when he tied Bird’s 60-point mark in 2021 in a dramatic 32-point comeback victory against the San Antonio Spurs.
From the collection of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (photo by Heritage Werks)