The National Basketball Association like many other professional sports leagues has done a lot to change their image in recent years. I’ve been a basketball fan since the mid 90’s. Players like Michael Jordan and Penny Hardaway got me attached to the game at a very early age. I’ve seen all of the trends and fads that came along with the game. One thing that I clearly remember was back in 2005 when NBA commissioner David Stern announced a new dress code policy that was effective immediately. This new dress code was assigned to all NBA and NBA DL players. This was huge for the time because it was the first time that a major professional sports league created a dress code.


(Allen Iverson (left) is seen wearing a typical pregame outfit prior to the dress code. Kevin Garnett (right) is seen wearing what now typical after the dress code was established)

The details of this rule were simple, players were required to wear a jacket and tie to all games and during the press conference. So now that we get into that the question is, why did David Stern do this? From what I saw as a fan looking from the outside in was the league at the time was getting a bad reputation for being closely associated with the hip-hop culture. This involved bagging clothes and du-rags. This was not a professional look and hip-hop was not seen in a portrayal of professionalism and often held somewhat of a bad reputation. I can remember players like Allen Iverson and Paul Pierce standing up to the NBA front office by directing criticizing their decision to implement a dress code.

Iverson and Pierce criticized the NBA for attempting to take away from their character while the league was simply trying to protect their image. Today the dress code is still intact but is not as strict as it was back in 2005. Players do not have to wear a coat and tie but they must dress in a manner that is presentable and must be approved by the coaches. I personally don’t think that the dress code is a bad idea. I can understand guys like Allen Iverson who feels that clothes are a part of their identity but it’s important to remember that everyone’s “identity” is not was is always presentable. At the end of the day, the NBA is a business. I like to wear a t-shirt and athletic shorts but does that give me the right so show up to work in that like?