Hypermasculinity Norms: NBA Vs. NHL

The NHL and NBA are two of the four major sport leagues in the world. With that comes with the image of heavy masculinity that almost is forced upon players to make it in the league. In this article the author Cassie MacInnis speaks on the difference between a player launching a basketball in the crowd of fans compared to a launching a puck into the stands. She uses Kevin Durant as an example, Kevin received a $25,000 fine for throwing a basketball into the stands while a player in the NHL would receive only a two-minute minor penalty. She notes how hypermasculinity is conveyed in each sport and how it is almost expected throughout the game’s history. 

Russel Westbrook wearing dress for NYC fashion show sporting blue hair (Photo by Robert Littal)

Masculinity is something that has become almost like a requirement in the NBA and NHL, the two leagues have always been viewed as physical, rough, gritty, and sports that require “toughness”. As time goes on the two leagues have experienced rule changes which are viewed by many as attempts to soften the game. For example, in the NBA there are a lot more fouls, flagrants and technicals given out then ever before, this makes for more retired players and long-time fans view the players as weaker and softer then previous eras and causes them to receive hate.

The idea that masculinity must be shown in these leagues can be overall harmful to the player, Russell Westbrook posted a picture of himself in a dress (see photograph) recently and received lots of hate and confusion. The NBA does however let their players wear whatever they want to games unlike the NHL where it is mandatory to dress professionally and usually in a suit. 

Masculinity should not be a required trait in sport. Sport is for everyone but when we have the history through older players when times were different it makes it more of a challenge. When our generation becomes the “older” generation, I believe the idea of needing to be masculine will deplete. Researchers found that over 30 years masculinity diversity has increased. 


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