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Clothes and the NBA

You thought I was done with clothes?

Not at all. The NBA had huge image issue a few years back. The image issue resulted from a few on the court incidents along with the perception that hip-hop culture was a) dangerous b) a major part of the NBA players lives’.

Commissioner David Stern sought to change the culture of the NBA as well as the public’s perception of the NBA. Stern enacted a dress code.

1. General Policy: Business Casual

Players are required to wear Business Casual attire whenever they are engaged in team or league business.

“Business Casual” attire means

•    A long or short-sleeved dress shirt (collared or turtleneck), and/or a sweater.
•    Dress slacks, khaki pants, or dress jeans.
•    Appropriate shoes and socks, including dress shoes, dress boots, or other presentable shoes, but not including sneakers, sandals, flip-flops, or work boots.

2. Exceptions to Business Casual

There are the following exceptions to the general policy of Business Casual attire:

a. Players In Attendance At Games But Not In Uniform

•    Sport Coat
•    Dress shoes or boots, and socks

b. Players Leaving the Arena

Players leaving the arena may wear either Business Casual attire or neat warm-up suits issued by their teams.

c. Special Events or Appearances

Teams can make exceptions to the Business Casual policy for special events or player appearances where other attire is appropriate — e.g., participation in a basketball clinic.

3. Excluded Items

The following is a list of items that players are not allowed to wear at any time while on team or league business:

•    Sleeveless shirts
•    Shorts
•    T-shirts, jerseys, or sports apparel (unless appropriate for the event (e.g., a basketball clinic), team-identified, and approved by the team)
•    Headgear of any kind while a player is sitting on the bench or in the stands at a game, during media interviews, or during a team or league event or appearance (unless appropriate for the event or appearance, team-identified, and approved by the team)
•    Chains, pendants, or medallions worn over the player’s clothes
•    Sunglasses while indoors
•    Headphones (other than on the team bus or plane, or in the team locker room)

This was met with serious opposition. Players claimed the dress code was racist. Others just thought David Stern was “out of touch”.

Well, vindication is sweet. ESPN columnist Ric Bucher writes the that effects of the dress code have carried over into the personal lives of the NBA players. Not only do players look more professional, they also act more professional. This has influenced the cars they drive, the food they eat and the way they dress even not while under the watchful eye of the NBA. I recommend reading all linked articles – especially this one!

Of course we would expect nothing else. When one is dressed professionally they are more likely to act professionally. The clothing influences our attitudes and our feelings. The NBA is another clear example of this phenomenon.


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