The National Basketball Association recently announced a new dress code for the league's 375 ballplayers. The dress code prohibits "sneakers, sandals, flip-flops or work boots. . . . Sleeveless shirts, shorts, T-shirts, jerseys. . . . Headgear of any kind. . . . 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)." The dress code applies only to team and league activities, and does not require suits and ties. During the off-season, of course, a player gets to wear as much ice as he chooses.
Reasonable? But with a league that consists of three-quarters black players, can a cry of racism be far behind?
About the new dress code, Indian Pacers' Stephen Jackson said, "I think it's a racist statement because a lot of the guys who are wearing chains are my age and are black." Philadelphia 76ers star Allen Iverson also disagreed with the dress code, "Basically, you're saying, 'Don't dress hip hop.' What does a chain have to do with your outfit? A lot of guys wear chains for personal reasons. I have a chain with my mom's name on it, my kids' names on it, a chain with my man that passed away on it. I don't think that's right for people to say that I can't wear that and I can't express it. It's just not right. I think they went way overboard with it."
But the cake goes to the Denver Nuggets' Marcus Camby, "I don't see it happening unless every NBA player is given a stipend to buy clothes. Guys who haven't been wearing suits and don't own suits, it will be really hard to get them in time for the season (needing to be specially made for tall players)."
Stipend? Care to guess the average NBA salary? How about four-and-a-half million dollars per year, with a league minimum of $385,000.
Never mind that the disgruntled Iverson, while playing in college for Georgetown under no-nonsense coach John Thompson, wore a jacket and tie. Said Thompson, "Allen wore a coat and tie, and didn't rebel against wearing it."