After tragedy struck on September 11th 2001, everything in our country, including the world of sports were at a stand-still. Games were cancelled throughout collegiate and professional leagues; candlelight vigils were held in their place. As a way to pay homage to the victims and their families, the MLB added American Flags to the caps and jerseys of every team. NFL teams placed an American Flag sticker on the back of their helmets. The New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, and Washington Capitals of the NHL wore unique 9/11 tribute patches throughout the entire 2001-2002 season. Almost every collegiate and high school team in America stitched an American Flag patch somewhere on their uniform to show their respect.
When the NBA opened their season in October 2001, every team donned an American “Unity Patch” on the right side of their uniform. The patch was worn throughout the entire 2001-2002 NBA season. Even in the 2002 NBA Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers and New Jersey Nets continued to wear the Unity Patch on their respective uniforms and warm-ups. Besides league anniversaries, this was the only time in Professional Sports history where every team sported the same patch for an entire season.