View Full Version : NBA Dress Code revisted

10-18-2005, 03:48 PM

I gave this it's own thread because I think it's a well written article, plus I like Wilbon. Any highlighting is my own.

There's No Dressing Up Bad Attitudes
By Michael Wilbon

Saturday, October 15, 2005; E01


Being asked by your employer to wear a jacket and slacks when representing the company shouldn't cause this much drama. Not when you make, on average, $4 million a year. The dress code being proposed by the NBA doesn't ask players to wear a suit and tie every day, just to look like working professionals: a jacket with lapels instead of a throwback jersey and a do-rag, a pair of loafers instead of high-top sneaks. And we're talking game days and official public appearances, not eight hours a day, five days a week.

But the sound of the rebellion has been heard from Portland to Miami.
Don't get me wrong, there are players who not only don't oppose the dress code, but like it. "I know a lot of people will say we're in the entertainment industry, but we represent franchises that are sometimes among the biggest businesses in that city," the Wizards' Antawn Jamison said the other day. "I'm fine with a jacket and shirt with a collar and pants that aren't jeans. We're professionals and we should be putting forth a professional image. I don't see what the problem is."

That's because Jamison has some sense that he's paid a lot of money to represent more than himself. A lot of his peers don't have that sense. Some of them don't have any sense of anything, starting with Marcus Camby, now of the Nuggets, who said he can't see adhering to the dress code "unless every NBA player is given a stipend to buy clothes." Camby makes approximately $8 million a year. And he wants folks to believe he cannot afford a suit. It's too bad a judge can't order Camby to spend the rest of this season in New Orleans's Ninth Ward.

Camby's "stipend" speech is now officially the dumbest and most offensive thing uttered in the last five years, surpassing Latrell Sprewell's "I've-got-to-feed-my-family" speech as a reaction to why he was outraged at not being offered more than $10 million a year by the Timberwolves.

The irony here is that Camby was hurt so often early in his career it seemed all he could do was sit on the Knicks bench in a suit, some of them quite stylish as I recall. But mostly, we're talking about the usual suspects.

You didn't think Allen Iverson and Rasheed Wallace were going to just say "okay" to looking anything other than homeless, did you?

Somewhat predictably, Wallace told radio station WOAI: "I can't speak for other teams, but for us, we're definitely trying to voice our objection. I don't have a problem with that dress code if a man is injured and has to be on the bench during games. But it's kind of crazy to sit up there and try to tell us how to dress on the way to work. We're not in that head office in New York. To me, that's crazy."

What Wallace doesn't get, of course, is that the perception of the NBA doesn't come from the head office in New York; it comes from Madison Square Garden and the Palace of Auburn Hills and Staples Center and MCI Center. And right now the league's image isn't good. I'm not talking about the perception of NBA players in a hip-hop universe, which the league married itself to 10 years ago; I'm talking about their image among the people who pay for their lavish professional existence, meaning primarily network partners and corporate sponsors. Hip-hop may be the image of the league; by and large it doesn't fund the league.

If rich people, most of whom get dressed in something other than throwback jerseys every day (say, for example, bankers who make even more money than the players but still have to adhere to a dress code), don't renew their $200,000 luxury suites at NBA arenas, and if sponsors and TV partners don't pay the NBA hundreds of millions of dollars every season, then the generation of ballers after Iverson and Wallace might well be playing in the Rucker League and not a national league, internationally televised. Maybe their agents can remind them of that.

And maybe their agents can remind them that the popularity of the NBA, which allowed stars to make $13 to $20 million annually, was created not only by what happened on the court, but what happened off it. From 1985 to 2000 or so, most NBA players were the best-dressed men on the planet. Earvin Johnson and Michael Jordan looked so stylish and sophisticated every night that CEOs wanted to buy what they were selling. For every rumpled John Stockton there was an Alonzo Mourning who on his way into or out of the arena made you think he was going or coming from somewhere important. Every night was red-carpet night in the NBA.

Other than Mourning and Ray Allen and a handful of others who understand the art of presentation and what it means to the pocketbook, that's gone now. Too many players now look like bums on the street. I can't figure out whether they're copying today's styles or whether they led the way.
Either way, it's hideous. I'm reminded of a passage in Charles Barkley's book, "Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man?" in which the Rev. Jesse Jackson talks about how annoyed he is with seeing young men (black and white, but mostly black) walk around with jeans hanging around their butts and sneaks without laces.

"In jail," Rev. Jackson said, "you can't wear a belt or a rope around your waist. . . . They take the strings out of your shoes because you might try to hang yourself. . . . That's jail culture. Nobody designed that. It's jail culture, that's all it is."

The NBA, as it turns out, knows now that people don't want to pay $200 a night to see jail culture. If they can't see Magic and Michael, they want to see people who make the attempt to look something like Magic and Michael. This is why the league went from one extreme to the other, from hip-hop to forging a relationship with Matthew Dowd, chief campaign strategist for Bush-Cheney 2004.

It'll be interesting to see whether Commissioner David Stern, who has been carrying a big stick the last 18 months on issues of comportment and image, will back down now that so many players have complained. When Detroit's Richard Hamilton learned of the proposed dress code last week he said to reporters, "Is that for real? Is that for real? Then [the NBA and club executives] are going to have to write a lot of fines."

No doubt, Hamilton is right and some players will simply write checks to pay those fines, perhaps in advance. And certainly the NBA shouldn't require 6-foot-8 men to wear anything other than what I call "comfy clothes" on airplanes. The bigger question is whether the rebels outnumber the players who look back at the previous generation of NBA stars, even some holdovers like Shaq and Mourning, and realize the upside, both short term and long, and see how stupid it is to equate dressing up with selling out.

Okay, it's me again. :cucumber: Just to add a little something. The droopy pants look IS jail culture. Who would be proud of being in jail? Talking about setting low standards for yourself. I went to a gang conference years ago where they talked about the droopy pants. Apparantly in jail you can't have belts, which was said. Also, the best way to show that you weren't going to be someone's, ah, really close cellmate, was to wear your pants droppy, so as to not show your butt very well, hence the baggy boxers to go with them.

On the other hand, guys who wanted to be someone's bitc...er, good, gooOOood buddy :hug2::girlfight :shhh:, they would hike their pants up really high, thereby displaying their wares by letting everyone see the outline of their equipment.

Pretty goofy, huh? :chin2:

So, anyways, I thought Wilbon made some really good points. I just thought I'd share the article with you guys.

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Frank Slade
10-18-2005, 03:56 PM
There's No Dressing Up Bad Attitudes

hmm where have I heard this before.. by another brilliant mind... ;)

but yes the Stipend comment is way out of line and laughable.. I am not sure though why so many people are so concerned about the attire of the players when .. nobody could list what a player from MLB or the NFL was wearing on any given day if he was out ot uniform.. wonder why that is ..hmmmm

Although I realize now its a mute point but before when there was no dress code there was no harm in wearing street clothes as opposed to an armani suit. It really has no bearing on who you are or the size of your bank account.

If your place of employment said there was no dress code , honestly what would wear to work every day a suit or jeans and a t-shirt..?

No doubt the players look more classy IMO in a suit on the sideline, but to imply that the league's image is being hurt by AI and company wearing whatever they want is ridiculous if the league's image is in need of repair it is certainly does not stem from that..

Keep in mind... It's the Man that makes the suit...The suit does not make the man.....if you know what I mean...

I agree that the dress code if implemented should be followed and no one needs to complain about it, that's life. Get over it everybody has rules that have to be followed.

My only point is it is a futile attempt at trying to repair what is a self proclaimed image problem for the NBA by David Stern...

If fans were turned off from certain antics over the last few years from a few players, they are not going to tune back in just because everyone now is dressed up.

I guess I reallly dont have a side in this . other than the players should follow what rules are put in place , yes, but does not David Stern have bigger fish to fry than to be fashion police as well?

That's my only question ?

10-18-2005, 04:00 PM
What's really funny Scott is if these bad boy NBA players actually spent time in prison we wouldn't even need this discussion. The worst place in the WORLD is the pen. No we're not talking local or Putnamville. Just visit the one in Terre Haute or Michigan City to get that Scared Straight appeal. Horrible, horrible way of life....

Frank Slade
10-18-2005, 04:10 PM
So If we only could get these guys to pull thier pants up..
The NBA ratings would soar ? All would be right in the NBA ?;)

Maybe an Izod shirt and khakis for all ?

Or are you suggesting that this is one of many steps the league is taking to repair its image and public relation, and if so what are the "other" steps.. Is what I would want to ask Mr. Stern...

Frank Slade
10-18-2005, 05:36 PM
Stern defends new NBA dress code

By BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Sports Writer
October 18, 2005
NEW YORK (AP) -- David Stern wanted to come up with a dress code that wouldn't restrict his players.

So he picked one that wouldn't bother his owners, either.

``What we came up with is a dress code that even Mark Cuban could comply with -- if he wanted to,'' Stern said Tuesday.

The NBA commissioner spoke after addressing the Executive Forum on Sports and Social Responsibility, where he announced the league's ``NBA Cares'' initiative, which he guaranteed will raise and donate $100 million to charity over the next five years.

But instead of getting questions about how the players were going to clean up the communities, he got more about how he planned to clean up the players.

On Monday, the NBA announced in a memo to teams that a dress code will go into effect at the start of the season. Saying players must dress in ``business casual'' attire, the league banned items such as sleeveless shirts, shorts, sunglasses while indoors, and headphones during team or league business.

The policy also requires players on the bench who are not in uniform to wear sport jackets, shoes and socks.

And while Stern knows some players will be critical of the policy, he said there was no reason to be, as even jeans are still allowed.

``As it's properly understood, it will be embraced,'' he said. ``The union's fine with it. It's quite liberal and easygoing.''

Cleveland star LeBron James was among those who saw the reasoning behind the new rules.

``Sometimes you feel lazy on a flight and you don't want to put (dress) clothes on,'' James said. ``But this is a job and we want to have fun, but it's a job and we should look like we're going to work.''

Stern pointed out that when the topic was brought up during collective bargaining, the teams ``preferred that we do it as a group.''

Even so, many NBA players are more comfortable dressing like the fans they cater to. And Cuban, the maverick owner of the Dallas Mavericks, often dresses in T-shirts and jerseys.

``We don't really sell to big business,'' Phoenix guard Raja Bell said. ``We sell to kids and people who are into the NBA hip-hop world. They may be marketing to the wrong people with this.''

But, as Stern pointed out, the reputation of the league's players had fallen to a point that was ``not as good as our players are.'' That's why he believes -- and insists -- the players will readily go along with his policy.

``We have a minimum standard that we've set that reflects on the professionals in our sport and you're going to do it,'' he said. ``We're certain that it will be complied with.''

AP Sports Writer Tom Withers in Cleveland contributed to this report.

Updated on Tuesday, Oct 18, 2005 5:20 pm EDT


10-19-2005, 06:13 AM
October 19, 2005

Wardrobe rules leave players unfazed
Pacers' Jackson is upset, however, with ban on chains

By Mark Montieth

The NBA's new dress code has met with general acceptance from the players.

It's not unanimous, however.

While most players have no objection to wearing sport coats or suits on the bench when appearing in public, complaints have been raised about the ban against chains.
"I have no problem dressing up . . . because I know I'm a nice-looking guy," Indiana Pacers guard Stephen Jackson said Tuesday. "But as far as chains, I definitely feel that's a racial statement. Almost 100 percent of the guys in the league who are young and black wear big chains. So I definitely don't agree with that at all."
A new policy regarding the players' attire was announced Monday. It permits dress jeans on the bench and allows team warm-up uniforms on flights, but bans T-shirts, retro jerseys and headgear.
The dress code falls in line with those in other leagues, and is an attempt to upgrade an image that has become tarnished in recent seasons.
"I think it's a good thing," said Austin Croshere, the Pacers' player representative. "I think there should be some creative expression on the part of the players to dress in a manner that fits them, but at the same time to portray the professionalism the league wants.
"Guys will fight it at first, but 90 percent of the people in this country go to work every day with a suit on. My dad did it for 40 years."
Philadelphia guard Allen Iverson has been one of the more vocal critics of the new policy, calling it "something I'll fight for."
"Just because you put a guy in a tuxedo, it doesn't mean he's a good guy," Iverson said. "It sends a bad message to kids. If you don't have a suit on when you go to school, is the teacher going to think you're a bad kid?"
Denver's Marcus Camby suggested the players be given a clothing allowance, but the Pacers' Jermaine O'Neal doesn't object to buying new clothes.
"There's some battles in life that you just can't try to fight," O'Neal said. "Guys make enough money to put on some dress clothes.
"My plan this year was to dress up anyway. I have 40 to 50 suits already. I should be one of the best-dressed guys this year."
Ron Artest plans to dress up, too, although in a less conventional manner.
"I'm not really a suit guy, so I'm going to have some fun with it," he said, smiling. "I'll wear, like, purple shoes, yellow slacks, a burgundy shirt, cut-up tie and a lavender sport coat. I'm going to mix it up."
Jamaal Tinsley has been the Pacers' most casual dresser, wearing jeans and T-shirts on the bench when injured, but plans to conform to the code.
"That's the last thing we should be worrying about," he said. "If we're going to sit around and complain and worry about it, we're getting sidetracked."
Better dress won't necessarily guarantee better behavior, however, as Atlanta's Tony Delk pointed out.
"They were fighting in suits last year in Detroit, weren't they?" Delk said.

10-19-2005, 12:25 PM
``We don't really sell to big business,'' Phoenix guard Raja Bell said. ``We sell to kids and people who are into the NBA hip-hop world. They may be marketing to the wrong people with this.''

And Raja is wrong.

Raja a business major is he? Captain of industry? I don't think so.

When they build new stadiums for football or arenas for basketball, the eye is on luring bigger and bigger corporate dollars. The fan base is always going to be there. Kids are always going to buy jerseys. Fans, for the most part, will still attend games.

The one way to increase revenue is to lure bigger, more profitable companies to buy your skyboxes, use your catering services and underwrite you. How do you affect that? Put a more universally palatable product out there.

In every walk of life, in every business in the world, looking professional tends to be the smartest way to attract sucessfull businesses. Does one go to a job interview in a baseball cap and slouchy jeans? Do most economic giants present their image as one of a baggy white t-shirt and a rumpled flannel shirt?

What does Raja Bell know about selling to big business? I suspect the NBA is looking to attract bigger corporate sponsors, which may the difference between having Nike as a sponsors, which is a given, or getting a truly heavyweight company like Pfzer or Merck or Price -Waterhouse.

Jon Theodore
10-19-2005, 01:07 PM
I was really impressed by Tinsleys comments :::sheds tear::: these boys really are growing up.

Jackson may be right, but he should listen to Jermaine...this battle is NOT worth fighting for. It would do the entire Pacers organization some good for everyone to vocally back up this idea. Who cares if it sucks.

We want Stern on our side, if that is even remotely possible.

Everyday one of these nutcases has to say something stupid it seems like. SO what Jack, wear your chains when your not doing NBA stuff. Everyone already knows your a gangster, congratulations.

I love Sjack, but he needs to pick his battles, as Jermaine said.

10-19-2005, 01:47 PM
Better dress won't necessarily guarantee better behavior, however, as Atlanta's Tony Delk pointed out.
"They were fighting in suits last year in Detroit, weren't they?" Delk said.

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
You just have to laugh at this.

Some guys are just clueless. People who work at gas stations have dress codes, but somehow the NBA is picking on black culture. (Please don't make the connection that only blacks work at gas stations, that's not what I'm saying nor hinting at.) I can't readily think of a profession/job that doesn't require some kind of dress code.

10-19-2005, 01:54 PM
I lauged at that too then I jus put the paper down for a while...

Will Galen
10-19-2005, 02:02 PM
If you are walking down the street and see a bunch of young men walking toward you in suits, what do you do? Probably keep walking. Conversely, if you see a bunch of young men dressed in baggy pants, backward facing baseball caps, and twirling jewelry, if you have any sense the latter situation has to give you pause.

Of course it's all image, but if you have a business which image to you want to project?

Frank Slade
10-19-2005, 02:15 PM
Here is the problem in a nutshell
The Decision at this point to enfoce a certain dress code has massive implifications. more so than the average person is giving credit to.

David Stern is embarking on what could turn out be a wise and savvy business venture, To distant his business from the hip hop industry that he and the league have been fused with for the last 8-10 years. The culture that is now so desperatley trying to cut down as "bad image" or at leat the not the right image.
Is the one and the same has knowlingly embraced even if it be passively by allowing the syngery of this to merge so tightly that one has to question at times. where does one begin and the other end. The league benefits directly like no other business from the hip hop culture, lifestyle, and revenue.
It has turned a blind eye , even if by remaining silent until now. Perhaps its too little too late and hypocritical at best to try and change this image overnight.
I think that is a valid observation.

Now from a Corporate perspective its makes sense the need to appeal to the masses , and retake the attention of it's lost loyal fans , Who I can only assume , Stern suspects long for the more family oriented days of Bird and Johnson that have long since passed..

He realizes that MLB and NFL are certainly more easily packaged and sold to the masses and more directly "middle america" than is the NBA which in certain spots of the country has become more of a niche market itself especially where a team is not located near.

I cannot argue and agree with the financial aspect of looking to Diversify you revenue streams and become more mobile in different avenues that in the past you have not had access to .

I just wonder why know David ? What has caused this sudden urgency that you have benefited from for years upon end. Many companies like Reebok have an entire division (RBK) committed to players like AI, K-mart, Manny Ramirez, and even 50 Cent, Jay-z all have massive deals that capitalize on the very lucrative hip hop image that is portrayed on and off the court... but now this has become unacepptable. In order to appeal to a more broader spectrum of sponsors

Some of your intentions could be right, no harm in wanting a more cleaner image for the League, who can blame you for that...
But does this come at time where it's too little to late to change from what you have already allowed ?

And is this due in part from a culture you cannot or refuse to begin to understand and thus assume as human nature does.. I cannot understand it.. thus it must be wrong. ?

Its probably unfair to paint with such a broad brush that this is just a White Lawyer making a rule against what is majority African American players.

On the other hand.. don't allow Stern to skate free of this as the little angel swooping in to help the NBA's image. And had nothing to do with the current state that the NBA is in....