Wednesday, October 19, 2005

NBA Lists Fashion Do's and Don'ts: Or, "NBA Lists FASCISM Do's and Don'ts!"



The freakin' NBA, my fave league in the world, is cracking down on the image that sells it best, hip hop, because they're afraid of scaring white people.

C'mon: don't white people BUY a tonne of hip hop?

(I sure as hell hope so... ;)

Rasheed Wallace got some crazy flak a while back for saying NBA players are "slaves" (I'm paraphrasing - as I'm sure the media did), especially since he was making millions of dollars.

But - at what price freedom?

Of-course of-course of-course I'd take millions to play basketball if it simply meant wearing a golf-shirt when I'm not. Hell, I'd even take millions to EAT basketballs AND golf-shirts while wearing a mumu made of maggots'n'Melba Toast.

But - that's not the point.


"Can't we all, be lookin', at each other,
With a crooked-smile?
'Cause the 'hood, and the 'burbs,
Already swapped-styles?"

- Black Krishna, from DOL and Black Krishna, "Nothing But Lies"

[Ed note: we just performed this last nite, it was wikkid! :]


The last group of folks who wanted us to all dress and act the same of any success or significance were the Nazi's, and they're back, and they're bad, and they'll give you something that you never had...

...a dress code.

Am I reaching or teaching?

Hell if I know.

It's your call.


In my opinion "hip hop" is a culture created by disenfranchised and stolen AFRICAN-Americans who's own history and heritage was domestically destroyed, so to kick 'em in the saggin' pants AGAIN is just plain EVIL.

Just like FASCISM is just plain EVIL.

Just like NORMAL is just plain EVIL.

(Hint: there're clues as to what perpetuates EVIL in the world.)

Why am I defending selfish-millionaire-college-dropout-ballers with TV's in their Denali head-rests and rampant weed'n'X-Box addictions?


First, weed'n'X-Box's are fun.

Second, if they can get touched, so can we.


"The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."

- Baudelaire, French poet
- Kevin Spacey as Roger 'Verbal' Kint (Keyzer Soze), "The Usual Suspects"


In fact, I'm getting Brownsville to help hold it down for hip hop in an article from way back in the day that got me mainstream street-cred when it was published in a major paper, it's called "Kicking it in a Kurtha" and is reprinted here, g'wan check it if you feel yaar...


I ain't trippin' though, the L.A. Times ain't bad at cuttin' the shit, and these cats'll just flex anyway - seeing 7-foot 350-lb. Shaquille O'Neal in a big-ass powder-blue suit makes me smile... ;P


Miami Heat's Shaquille O'Neal sits on the bench during a time out as the Heat played the Indiana Pacers in the first quarter in Indianapolis. in this Feb. 23, 2005 file photo. On Monday, Oct. 17, 2005 the NBA announced in a memo to teams that a dress code will go into effect at the start of the season which requires players on the bench who are not in uniform to wear sports jackets, shoes and socks. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

NBA Lists Fashion Do's and Don'ts

By Jerry Crowe and Valli Herman Times Staff Writers Wed Oct 19, 7:55 AM ET

Still smarting from image problems nearly a year after players and fans attacked one another during a game at Auburn Hills, Mich., the National Basketball Assn. has cracked down on … apparel.

The NBA says it will require players to wear "business casual attire" when they are on league or team business and not in uniform — apparently the first attempt by a major U.S. pro league to regulate how its millionaire athletes dress when not competing.

Deemed "quite liberal and easygoing" by NBA Commissioner David Stern, the code bans sunglasses worn indoors, sleeveless shirts, shorts, T-shirts, chains and do-rags, while requiring players on the bench and not in uniform to wear sport coats.

No longer will Kobe Bryant of the Lakers be seen arriving at Staples Center wearing a vintage jersey. Nor will Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers be allowed to wear caps cocked sideways during team functions or Rasheed Wallace of the Detroit Pistons to don headphones during news conferences.

Players who violate the code could be fined. Repeat violators could be kicked out of the league, Stern suggested Tuesday.

"I don't think there will be a problem unless somebody wants to make a problem," he told reporters in New York. "If they really want to make a problem, they're going to have to make a decision about how they want to spend their adult life in terms of playing in the NBA or not."

The rules go into effect Nov. 1, opening night of the season.

"We obviously have an image problem, and the commissioner is trying to make it better by doing this, but who knows if it's going to work," Clipper center Chris Kaman said Tuesday. "You have guys wearing do-rags and chains and stuff like that, which was probably a little too much."

Other players declared their opposition on various grounds.

Marcus Camby of the Denver Nuggets, whose contract will pay him nearly $50 million over the next five years, told an interviewer before the code was imposed, "I don't see it happening unless every NBA player is given a stipend to buy clothes."

Iverson, at a party marking the launch of his new Reebok shoe Monday night, suggested that the policy put too much emphasis on appearance.

"I think it's wrong," he told reporters shortly after the dress code was announced. "You shouldn't judge a person from what they wear."

Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns, the league's most valuable player last season, who favors jeans and rumpled T-shirts, said last week he thought the league would be overstepping its bounds.

"I'll do it, I'll go with the majority," he said. "But my personal view is that I completely understand governing the attire of players around the bench. But other than that, I think it's kind of up to the individual."

Some teams already have dress codes in place. The New York Knicks, for instance, require players to wear jackets and ties. And the league already required its coaches to wear dress shirts, slacks and dress shoes on the bench.

"The players have been dressing in prison garb for the last five or six years," Laker Coach Phil Jackson said. "All the stuff that goes on, it's like gangsta, thuggery stuff. It's time. It's a good time to do that. But one must remember where one came from. I was wearing bib overalls when I was a player."

Stern said he consulted with the NBA players union before implementing the new rules. Billy Hunter, executive director of the National Basketball Players Assn., did not return calls for comment, but union President Antonio Davis has said recently that he supports a dress code.

The NBA, which more than any other U.S. sports league has embraced hip-hop culture in trying to market itself to young fans as edgy and hip, wants to burnish its image. Business-savvy superstars in expensive suits, led by Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Michael Jordan, were the faces of the league in the 1980s and 1990s.

But shifts in American culture have played into concerns about a growing disconnect between the NBA and a portion of its audience. In recent years, players have begun to sport diamonds, gold, tattoos and street-inspired fashion such as vintage jerseys, while arenas have played beat-heavy rap music at games.

Robert Hutcherson, the head of a grass-roots fan group, told the Los Angeles Times last year that in the minds of some middle-aged ticket buyers, the music had helped perpetuate the notion of a "thug league."

The NBA's image took its worst hit Nov. 19, when players charged into the stands and attacked fans, some of whom had pelted them with drinks and other objects, during a game between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons.

The incident, replayed frequently for days on national television, resulted in suspensions and misdemeanor charges against several players.

ESPN personality and Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Stephen A. Smith, who is African American, wrote recently in support of the dress code, while suggesting that it was in part racially motivated.

"When you are selling a sport overwhelmingly populated by young black males to an older white audience, the reality is that impressions, first or otherwise, often determine your product's success," Smith wrote.

" … Indeed, there's a racial element here. But since there are 60-year-old black parents and grandparents just as appalled by some players' attire, there is a generational element too," he added.

Peter Roby, director of Northeastern University's Center for the Study of Sport in Society, cautioned the NBA to tread lightly.

"There are plenty of well-dressed people now going to prison for defrauding their shareholders," Roby said. "We have to be careful about making assumptions about folks simply on the way they look. That's a dangerous thing to do because it's how we start to create stereotypes."

But Todd Boyd, a USC professor of critical studies and author of "Young, Black, Rich and Famous: The Rise of the NBA, the Hip-Hop Invasion and the Transformation of American Culture," said fans would not be alienated.

"In the last two years, hip-hop itself has become increasingly fashionable," he said, noting that rapper Jay-Z, a part owner of the New Jersey Nets, included lyrics on his 2003 CD, "The Black Album," commanding listeners to dress better.

Anyone wearing a vintage jersey now, Boyd said, is out of style.

Indeed, to fashion insiders, the league needn't have issued a dictum.

Fashion already had. Hip-hop and urban fashion have largely moved beyond the baggy jeans, jerseys and flashy medallions that seem central to the NBA's complaints.

"I think most of the lines now are a lot more dressed up," said Ron Finley, a Los Angeles custom tailor whose Drop Dead Collecxion has been a favorite of several Lakers in recent years, including Shaquille O'Neal, now with the Miami Heat.

"It's not like it was … when the gangsta rap look was in. Now a lot of people are showing a lot of trimmed-up blazers," he said.

Neither the Lakers nor Clippers has a formal dress code.

Bryant wore a string of retro jerseys during the Lakers' march to the 2002 NBA title, paying tribute to such sports legends as Hank Aaron, Joe Montana, Joe Namath, Jackie Robinson, Jerry West, Wayne Gretzky and, on the night the Lakers' clinched the title, Jordan.

But he seemed unmoved last week as word leaked of a coming code.

"They're just clothes," he said.

But Artemisia Apostolopoulou, assistant professor in the sports-management program at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, suggested that the NBA's image problems go beyond what players choose to wear.

"You can be dressed in suits and still go and fight in the stands," she said. "Or go to a club and do things you're not supposed to be doing.

"That in itself is not a big change, unless it's part of a more integrated strategy to reshape the image."

Still, some players saw the NBA's move as a logical step.

"The NBA is the best job in the world," Clipper forward Elton Brand said, "and you have to look good in business."


Times staff writers Jonathan Abrams, Mike Bresnahan, Greg Johnson, Robyn Norwood and Jason Reid contributed to this report.



The NBA image: From Cousy to Nash

Each NBA era has had its own look, and now the league is mandating a dress code for players. Some NBA cover boys over the years:


Bob Cousy

The league's first flamboyant superstar, Cousy introduced basketball to the no-look, behind-the-back and between-the-legs passes. Off the court, however, the Celtic hall-of-famer was a conventional dresser.



Wilt Chamberlain

Bigger than life, and even bigger in his own mind, Chamberlain remains the only NBA player to have scored 100 points in a single game. Beyond that, Wilt--also a hall of famer--lived large, sporting clothes that showed off his physique and claimed in his 1991 autobiography to have had sex with 20,000 women.



Walt Frazier

Nicknamed Clyde for his cool demeanor on the court, Frazier was super cool off the court. He drove a Rolls Royce and wore knee-length fur coats and Fedora hats. This hall of fame member was the Huggy Bear (think "Starsky and Hutch") of the NBA.



Earvin "Magic" Johnson

A bigger, faster and more personable version of Cousy, Johnson captured the attention and the hearts of basketball fans everywhere. The first, and best, of the new breed of 6-foot-9 point guards, Magic re-defined basketball with his mastery of all aspects of the game. Magic, elected to the Hall of Fame in 2002, dressed like the businessman he would become.



Dennis Rodman

The only NBA player known to have worn a wedding dress in public, Rodman was a walking color palate, with his multi-colored hair, his numerous tattoos and rings and his cartoonish, unpredictable behavior. On the basketball court, Rodman was one of the all-time great rebounders.



Steve Nash

The league's most valuable player is one example of the off-the-court image that NBA Commissioner David Stern is trying to change. The long-haired Nash, of the Phoenix Suns, is fond of wearing rumpled T-shirts and jeans.


Sources: National Basketball Assn.; Graphics reporting by Joel Greenberg

Los Angeles Times

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