The NBA actually makes all of the decisions regarding when NBA teams can wear alternate jerseys.
As a general rule, Home teams are supposed to wear a light-coloured jersey and Road teams are supposed to wear dark-coloured jerseys.
But the NBA recently put a stop to the Home and Road jersey tradition, and teams now have at least five jerseys in rotation: Icon, Association, City, Statement, and Earned.
The kicker here is that it’s the NBA that schedules which jersey a team should wear for what game.
The purpose of this is to not only avoid color clashes, but to maximise the market exposure for each jersey style.
You can access this schedule over at Lockervision.
When Do NBA Teams Wear Their Alternates?
The NBA actually gives every team a master schedule at the beginning of the regular season that outlines what jersey the team will wear on any given night.
That means that no one from the organizations – not the players, the coaches or equipment managers – has control over which jersey the players will be wearing.
This gives coaches and players one least thing to worry about, and can help them focus on the game.
It also prevents color clashes from happening, which could sometimes occur back when players and coaches had a say in the team’s jersey.
More than anything, NBA teams wear their alternates on big game days where their exposure is maximized. That’s why you’ll often see teams wear their alternates during highly televised games.
What Do The Alternates Represent?
Icon and Association jerseys are what you know as the Home and Away jerseys.
Traditionally, NBA Association jerseys were light-colored, usually white, though some exceptions included the Lakers Gold Home jersey.
You’ll recognize NBA Icon jerseys as a team’s Road jersey, like the Red Chicago Bulls Jersey or Black San Antonio Spurs.
Statement jerseys give teams an opportunity to make a statement about what the organization represents and its values.
City jerseys, meanwhile, are a celebration of the city, town or state where the team resides.
Earned Edition jerseys were created for the 16 teams that made the playoffs the following year. They offer teams a chance to show off the organization’s heritage while highlighting their current success streak.
Read: Do NBA players reuse their jerseys and how often do they?
Do Teams Choose Their Jersey’s In The Playoffs?
Players are known to be superstitious, so you’d expect the NBA to offer some leeway in this regard.
The short answer is no, the NBA still decides what jerseys a team will wear.
Once playoffs start, the NBA sends a memo to all of the playoff teams with a jersey schedule.
This too can be found on Lockervision once the playoff bracket is set.
Read our article to find out where is the best place to buy NBA jerseys.