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NBA Dress Code = Lipstick On A Pig

In an effort to clean up the thug-life attitude portrayed by many NBA players, commissioner David Stern has initiated a dress code which bans baseball caps, doo-rags, pendants, medallions, sleeveless shirts, headphones, and sunglasses indoors. The dress code mandates jeans or slacks and shirts with collars while on league business. Players in street clothes who sit in the stands or on the bench during games must wear sport coats, shoes and socks. Here is the letter from commissioner David Stern to the teams:

NBA Dress Code Policy | Oct. 17, 2005 From the NBA: We know that you share our desire that NBA players be appreciated not only for their extraordinary talent and hard work, but also for their accessibility to fans, their community service, and their professionalism – both on and off the court. To that end, we will be instituting, effective with the start of the regular season, a league-wide “minimum” dress code. Many teams have previously issued their own dress codes, designed to demonstrate the seriousness with which their players take the representation of their teams, their cities, and our league; our new dress code is not intended to affect any of those that are more formal than what is set forth below:

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.

- "Team or league business" includes all activity conducted on behalf of the team or the league during which the player is seen by, or interacts with, fans, business partners, members of the public, the media, or other third parties. It includes arriving at games (car or team bus to locker room), leaving games (locker room to team bus or car), attending games when not in uniform, participating in team or league events with business partners or in the community, conducting media interviews, and making promotional or other appearances.

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

Players who are in attendance at games but not in uniform are required to wear the following additional items when seated on the bench or in the stands during the game:

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)

We know it's not possible to create a dress policy that will anticipate every possible situation. Our policy will therefore be interpreted in all cases to ensure that players are neatly and professionally attired, while not being unfairly burdensome.

Thank you in advance for your continued cooperation. Good luck to all for the 2005-06 season.

Unfortunately, the problems in the NBA go far deeper than gold chains and baseball caps, and have for many years. In an article posted April 29, 1998, CNN/SI reported:

According to SI, one of the NBA's top agents says he spends more time dealing with paternity claims than he does negotiating contracts. The agent tells the magazine that there might be more kids out of wedlock than there are players in the NBA.

Bill Redeker, reporting for ABC News on July 30, 2004, reported:

In recent years, the NBA and trouble seem to have become synonymous. In the past year alone, some of the biggest names in basketball — Jerry Stackhouse, Marcus Fizer, Darrell Armstrong, Allen Iverson and Glenn Robinson — have all had run-ins with the law.

So many members of the Portland Trail Blazers have had problems with the law in recent years, sneering sports commentators have begun calling them the "Jail Blazers."

Some players have been charged with spousal abuse, others have been caught carrying guns, while still others have gotten into brawls with police.

To counter the trend, the NBA sends rookie players each summer to a seminar that doles out advice on how to avoid trouble. Role playing is a major component, and off-the-court advice on how to deal with money, fame, and sexual situations is featured. Sexual conduct is high on the list, especially since the Kobe Bryant case sent shivers across the professional sports landscape.

The classes, however, have had only modest success.

It's going to take a lot more than a little lipstick to change the NBA's thug-life image. A pig wearing lipstick is still a pig.

Posted by Rick | October 23, 2005 10:55 PM

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