The NBA Dress Code

Im sure most people think I would be against a dress code of any kind in the NBA. Im not. I think every team should
have the option of having one , or not. Every team has an image that it wants to present to its community and
its customers, and that image should be cultivated on a proactive, rather than a reactive basis.

I also understand completely why Commish Stern felt the need to establish a dress code. Contrary to popular
belief, the dress code wasnt in response to a problem with any players, it was in response to problems with
owners.

Unfortunately we have gotten to the point where some, but not all, owners, or which ever executive is
in charge of the team, have lost the ability to communicate with their players. In a nutshell, they dont talk
to their players. Communication is a slap on the back if they see them after the game or at a team
function. Communication might be a message via the General Manager asking him to sign something for a son or
daughter of a friend. Its sad, but true.

Its awful hard to get to know a player if you have never spent any time with them. Thats not to say that every
owner has to be best friends with the players, or the President of the team has to go out to dinner with them every
week. But what does have to happen is that someone who represents the business side of the team has to be able
to sit and talk to players and do their best to get to know the player at least a little bit. Only then canthey
come to an understanding of whats expected or needed from the player and by the player from the team.

Its amazing to me that this is really only a problem in professional sports. In “regular” business, even on the
business side of the Mavs, I am very confident that I can trust my managers to maintain relationships with all of our
employees. When there is a corporate initiative, we know how to work through any trouble spots and to learn as an
organization how to overcome problems, whether internal or external.

Those skills dont exist everywhere inthe NBA. For many teams, I dont even want to say most teams, if the
team wants to try something different , they are truly afraid of how their players, particularly their stars might
respond. Its the teams that are afraid of their players that forced David Stern into creating a Dress Code for
players.

Its funny how the media likes to talk about the fundamentals of the players on the court being lacking, the real
lack of fundamentals is in the teams’ executive suites. When a team is unable or afraid to communicate their
message or iniative to their front office or players, or when they know they have a problem they are afraid or unable
to deal with, they ask the Commissioner to create a league wide edict. This is a convenient out for the teams.
Its not their fault that the players have to do this, its the league’s fault. To the Commissioners credit, he knows
he can easily take the hit for something so simple in concept.

Unfortunately there isnt much the league can do to legislate against lousy team management. Its there and
its not going anywhere. But as in any business, the business is only as strong as it weakest link.

Which takes us back to the dress code.

The league requires each team to do a business of basketball presentation. They give us a nice little powerpoint
to work from. Its pretty good, but I prefer to have as open a discussion about the business of the Mavs and the
league as I can.

For our meeting last week, I went over the basic economics of the team. All the way down to money we make from the
arena, money I get from other sources and the tax benefit i get from the operating loss the Mavs show. I
offered to sit down and go through the books in detail with any of them. As I have in the past with some of them.

I went through the economics of the amnesty from the luxury tax and why we did what we did with Fin.

Then we had the important discussion. We talked about how critical the relationship each of them has with our fans
and our advertisers. That their financial success was directly related to our ability to connect to the people who
pay our bills, the fans and our corporate customers.

We then discussed how that led to the upcoming dress code. I explained thata couplecorporate customers
of the league (this isnt a problem with our Mavs corporate customers) were uncomfortable with theappearance of
some players. That unfortunately, in those cities, they didnt feel comfortable having a discussion like this and that
their ownership didnt feel comfortable asking those players to work with the teams for the best of the league. Since
the teamscouldnt deal with it, they had asked the league to step in and deal with it.

At that pointseveral players asked questions about what I thought the dress code would be. I told them that
I was pretty sure that the league would prevent any jewelry being worn on the outside of clothing, but
thatbeyond that it would be business casual attire. But not suits or sportcoats. I asked everyone if they were
ok with that.To a man, every single one shook their head ok.

Then Josh Howard spoke up with a great idea. Why not go to a fashion designer that specializes in nicer clothes
and ask them to work with us. Kind of give us a designer look that the team could adopt. We do it with sneakers,
uniforms and workout gear, why not for this. Everyone would be watching, so it woudl be a great marketing opportunity
for everyone. He threw out some names and all the guys were voicing their approval. So they put me on a mission.
HopefullyI can come through. (Feel free to email me if you are a designer in case the current deal falls
through🙂

Then I asked the guys if they would be willing to spend an extra few minutes before every game, home and on the
road signing some autographs. Jason Terry was all over the idea. He wanted specially made JET wristbands
to hand out. Some guys wanted to be able to sign pictures in advance and hand them out right when they went out
to shootaround so they could stay as close to their normal routine as possible. I was cool with that. Again, to
a man, with Dirk and Stack and JET being the impetus they all got behind it

We discussed that the more we did as a team to establisha Dallas Mavericks identity, not
only would it be better business for them and the team, but it also meant that the we could control our own destiny.
That as the team that set the example, we could do things that we liked, rather than waiting for the league to tell
us what to do.

The funny thing about the signing is that for our first 3 preseason games on the road, our guys signed pictures at
the hotel, took pictures and sharpees in hand and went out on the court to hand them out. (yes, we want to do
this on the road and at home). Unfortunately there was hardly anyone atthosegames 75 to 90
minutes before tipoff, so there were some lucky fans who got lots of signed pictures. We still have some fine tuning
of the program to do, and there will never be enough time to make every fan happy, but I think its going to work out
great.

Butnow I am here in Dallas and the guys are in Detroit.Im sure im going to hear about the sports coat
thing. Hopefully the designers we are talking to have a line of sports coats.Or better yet, I will be able to
show the league the Mavs dress code, and they will be fine with it. Thats going to be my job.

The reality is that sports coats on the benchsounds good, but its not a good idea. The league knows i feel
this way. A minimum salary rookie makes more money thanmost ofAmerica, and we all have to buy our
own clothes for work, but not many of us have to have specially tailored clothes because we are 6’8. Those arent
cheap.

Not many of us have to work in an environment where what we where to work every day is going to be shown on
TV, and now because of this dress code, commented on and discussed. Its going to be awful expensivefor minimum
contract players. And what are they going to do about the NBDL ? Sports coats there as well ?

While the lack of management skills may be the underlying problem that led to the dress code, its the inevitable
discussion of the dress code by the mediathat makes it a wrong place, wrong time mistake.

Will the media in their “Lets talk about the easiest thing to talk about” approach, talk about anything other than
the dress code for theforseeable future ?

I have already gotten more interview requests about this than i have about players, teams, games ,
entertainment or anything related to the product we put on the floor. This is ALL we are going to hear about
for months.

How many cameras are going to be pointed to the bench area and not the floor when regular season games start
? how many plays are going to be missed in game as commentary goes on about what a player is wearing. And then as
players get hurt durnig the year, every time its the first time out of uniform for a player, there is going to be a
fashion watch.

Think it will be over by April ? Not a chance. Some reporter will be there with this question “A.I. , I know its
April and the playoffs start in 2 weeks, but this is your first trip to our fair city. What do you think about the
dress code”. Lets all hope that A.I. gives us a “Dress Code…. Dress Code.. its the playoffs around the corner and all
you can talk about is a Dress Code ..” Hurt ’em Answer.

But wait , there is more.

To compound the problem, when they probably thought they were going to mitigate it, the crack marketing team at
the NBA puts out the release for what is unquestionably the best program the NBA has EVER introduced on the same day
as the dress code is released.

The NBA CARES global out reach initiative.
$100 Million Dollars to charity. 1 MILLION HOURS of hands on service by players for charitable causes.
Its absolutely , positively brilliant.
The first thing the NBA has done where I sat there and asked myself
why I hadnt thought of it first and suggested it. Its an amazing program that had it been released without all this
dress code nonsense, would have gotten loads of great coverage. Coverage that would have gone a long way towards
helping those few sponsors who dont understand, that the NBA has great guys who really do care.

So why in the world release it today ? What is going to be written about tomorrow, the dress code or NBA Cares
?

In the questions I have gotten today, it was asked as a single … and oh yeah, what do you think about NBA
CARES..by ONE reporter. Thats it. And what is talk radio talking about.. The Dress Code with all the speculation
about whether racism or some other nefarious logic is behind it. Just what we dont need.

We have the worlds greatest game. The worlds best athletes. The most entertaining product in person and on TV. We
are 2 weeks before the start of the season. What is everyone talking about ?

And finally, Im sure people will ask what Im going to wear to our games. Well I would consider wearing a sports
coat, but i dont own one. So i guess the only way I would buy one would be ifI could cover itwith
logo ads from sponsors. A lot of logo ads from sponsors. Think the 1
million dollar homepage
covered. Feel free to post any and all bids in the comments section

Or maybe Ill just wear a speedo.. With a Mavs logo and an MFFL
shirt
of course

70 thoughts on “The NBA Dress Code

  1. If there is one reason why I love college football more than pro-sports, that has to be it.

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  5. believe in the dress code is useless it is a basketball game and a game is a game it should be common sense that where they sell nachos
    you should be comfortable

    Comment by der Tierfreund -

  6. Do not need to mention that NBA coaches wear suits. we want to have a look at MLB adopt a dress code for their people. To see the old men dressed up like baseball players is just funny!

    Comment by Litfaßsäule -

  7. Do not need to mention that NBA coaches wear suits. we want to have a look at MLB adopt a dress code for their people. To see the old men dressed up like baseball players is just funny!

    Comment by Litfaßsäule -

  8. Do not need to mention that NBA coaches wear suits. we want to have a look at MLB adopt a dress code for their people. To see the old men dressed up like baseball players is just funny!

    Comment by Litfaßsäule -

  9. If there is one reason why I love college football more than pro-sports, that has to be it. When you go to the Colliseum to see the Trojans play (the hottest ticket in LA right now, BTW), mostly, you get the band, and most of the fans there complain about the new reliance on recorded music blasting from the turnstyle end.

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  15. Mr. Cuban,

    I think you were spot on with your rant. Especially how a great cause like NBA CARES is going to be pushed to the back burner when I feel it’s front page material. Anytime athletes give back to society I think is a good thing.

    I’m going to miss the MAVS, it’s not easy to find them on a television in Louisville, KY.

    It’s going to be a lonely basketball season this year for me and my fellow transplants that were all Maverick fans and relocated here.

    P.S. The only cool thing about being here is because they don’t have two license plates, I can buy a MAVS plate to dispay on my front bumper, just need to find one now.

    Comment by Melissa -

  16. So everybody’s talking about the dress code, and you’re not addressing the issues that created the impetus to declare one? What were the reasons that made the commish declare a dress code?

    Your point of view says that owners don’t talk to players, so we need a dress code. Hell, I’d say you should buy them walkie talkies.

    Mark, could you post a followup addressing the *real* reasons you understand the dress code, in theory, as a good idea? When I think if modern basketball, I think “Thug Factor,” which is why I stopped watching it years ago. Nobody is a sportsman, everybody is an athlete with an attitude.

    Why practice or work with a team when you can slam dunk, get tattoos, punch fans, or work the shock value for media and endorsement cash greater than your salary?

    I could be totally wrong, but that’s honestly how I feel. Show me the light, then show me how putting a wolf in sheep’s clothing is going to change things.

    I totally hear your ideas on changing the attitudes, but I haven’t seen how you’ve tried to change the attitudes of your players yet. Maybe you could share that, too?

    Comment by Kevin Glennon -

  17. Mark, I agree that if a dress code is being mandated — run with it and make it a good thing. Business casual doesn’t have to mean Khakis and a double knit sports polo shirt. My only qualm is that since you are such a personal visible aspect of this team, you should show the same team unity and go along with the general spirit of the code. If you were up in a stuffy owners box, that would be one thing — you are behind the bench, always on camera, and even peer in on huddles on occasion. I know it kills you — but I think you should join in as well.

    Comment by rob -

  18. Funny cuz on ESPN Radio while I was driving around today, that was the big subject. I get in my truck after a 5 hour break, and the first 2 words I hear are “dress code.” I mean come on. Where is the team by team breakdowns? We’re 2 weeks away and we should be hearing a story (or 3) a day about the prospect of teams and their outlooks. Instead, I get to hear about players playing the race card, and bets on Allen Iverson abiding by the dress rules.

    It’s a bunch of crap. I do believe we need a dress code. Why not? Time to grow up boys. Put on something decent. Being the big Pacers fan I am, I always wondered why when Jamal Tinsley was injured he would be on the bench in a t-shirt, jeans, and chain. But when Reggie Miller was injured, suit. I don’t think it has anything to do with race. I think it has to do with this: a lot of newly rich youngsters think it’s OK to where whatever to wherever. That’s not the case. You can where your chains to the club, on cribs, to the mall, but I think it would show how deserving you are of a multimillion dollar contract if you show well you present yourself.

    I think we should lock the race card in a glass box and only break the glass when it applies. Acts of violence, political disenfranchisement, and things that matter! Stephen Jackson is suffering racism because he has to take the chain off? You’re not off to a good start filling Reggie Miller’s shoes.

    Comment by Mark Goodchild -

  19. The next time your in New York City i’ll let you stay in my box of a dorm room if you wear an NYU speedo…

    Comment by Brad -

  20. I was wondering when you were going to tackle the dress code.

    Do:
    Look west for designers. L.A. Fashion Week is coming up. Maybe find an up-and-coming designer or two.

    Don’t:
    don the speedo. that is so 1984. Just say no.

    Comment by Amy -

  21. Yep, PR geniuses.

    What’s the timeframe of the goal, though?

    One million hours divided amongst 450 players comes out to more than 2200 hours a head. (For comparison, the typical FTE job demands roughly that many hours from an employee in a year, and these guys already have full time jobs, yes?)

    So surely the timeframe is three or four years …?

    Either that, or these guys wanted a nice juicy number, so they pulled one out of the hat.

    …So I went to nba.com just now and NBA CARES got less than 2% of the onload screen area above the fold at 800×600.

    ‘Course, the instant the Flash headlines load, the dress code is all splashed out front-center, even though it’s already been covered in a metric boatload of newspapers today.

    Whatever.

    I’m glad that the league is finally stepping in and accounting for the fact that too many of its stars are too easily implied to be moneywhoring thugs (I’m a Blazers fan, well, sorta these past few years) but for once I wish Stern would give up the damn ghost and concede that he’s the executive of a business, not a head of state.

    ‘Cause if I want to see political spin, I hardly need to go to the sports pages for it, these days.

    Comment by ben -

  22. I wonder how much of the disconnect between players and executives stems from free agency. That is, when players move around from team to team every year, how much incentive is there for either the players or the executives to cultivate a relationship? It would seem that executives would start to view the players as just pawns or interchangeable pieces, with players viewing upper management as just the guys that sign the check. Why should an executive put a lot of time and energy into really getting to know a player, when there’s a good chance that player will be elsewhere in another year or two?

    The obvious exceptions would be the biggest stars. The incentive for upper management to develop a relationship with them is obvious: it gives them a better chance to retain their services. Indeed, we already see that to an extent, as the biggest names are often consulted in pending trades and team policy changes. But for the other 95% (or more) of professional athletes, the teams aren’t excessively interested in retaining their services. Those players tend to be (at the risk of oversimplifying) interchangeable. After all, in every sport, there are far more “journeymen” than there are players who stick with the same team for their entire careers.

    I’m not sure what the “solution” to this is, since it’d obviously be good to have better relations between executives and players, but it’s equally obvious that free agency isn’t going away. Mr. Cuban, I’d like to know your thoughts on this.

    Also, Mr. Cuban, please note that I’m not making any assumptions or statements directly about your club. I’m just speaking broadly, from an outsider’s view of the overall professional sports universe. For all I know, the Mavs may be the exception (and if so, congratulations, and more power to you).

    Comment by Scott -

  23. A minimum salary rookie makes more money than most of America, and we all have to buy our own clothes for work, but not many of us have to have specially tailored clothes because we are 6’8. Those arent cheap.

    As someone who is 6’8 tall, I agree about clothes not being cheap, but I think there’s a little understatement about the minimum rookie salary being more than what most Americans make. It doesn’t help when players making $16+ million are the ones complaining about the dress code.

    Some of these players have been on MTV’s Cribs and love to show off their mansions, 5 cars (all Benz’s, Bentley’s, Hummers, etc) while walking around with a $20,000 gold chain on. When these players complain about having to ‘buy clothes’ then it’s an insult to the fans of the game.

    Sure workers at McDonalds and Dairy Queen (wink wink) are given uniforms to wear while at work. When they are at work they are required to dress a certain way. If you are not being paid to work, you can go hang out at McDonalds in your street clothes. Last time I checked, NBA players ARE BEING PAID when they sit on the bench. Sounds like being at work to me.

    Comment by monkeyinabox -

  24. No mention that NBA coaches wear suits. I’d like to see MLB adopt a dress code for managers. Seeing old men dressed up like baseball players is just silly!

    Comment by Phil -

  25. Mark,

    I just emailed you but I’m going to say it again. You should definitely get with a designer and make a team outfit with matching suits, shirts and ties. It’ll show unity and it’ll show the country that we’re a top notch classy organization. Soccer teams in Europe like Real Madrid wear Italian designed suits with matching shirts and ties, and it simply gives off a vibe of unity and eliteness.

    And think about the business side. Think about how many Dallas Mavericks ties you’ll be able to sell to Mavs fans. As long as you don’t splatter the Mavs logo all over it, it’ll sell like hotcakes.

    Think about how good you’ll feel when you look in the paper and see Dirk, Josh, and Marquis looking sharp while they’re walking in the parking lot to the arena.

    Make em hot!

    David

    Comment by David -

  26. Personally, I am in favor of a dress code in sports, though not for purpose of conformity per se but rather for the sake of professionalism.

    I am not entirely sure that mandating such is the right answer however, as this generally has the effect of creating widespread and harmful dissent on all levels that can create greater problems in the end.

    However, when contemplating upon the fact that sport figures are role models for kids, I think that this role must project a high level of professionalims. And if that means mandating a dress code then so be it.

    It is regrettable that upper management has such difficulty in speaking with their players; predisposing the players to an unwritten rule that separates ranks and effectively builds internal barriers. But then I suppose no business is immune from this problem ~ not even high priced sport teams.

    Christopher

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  30. If you were up in a stuffy owners box, that would be one thing — you are behind the bench, always on camera, and even peer in on huddles on occasion. I know it kills you — but I think you should join in as well.

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  31. If there is one reason why I love college football more than pro-sports, that has to be it. When you go to the Colliseum to see the Trojans play (the hottest ticket in LA right now, BTW), mostly, you get the band, and most of the fans there complain about the new reliance on recorded music blasting from the turnstyle end.

    Comment by wow powerleveling -

  32. Do not need to mention that NBA coaches wear suits. we want to have a look at MLB adopt a dress code for their people. To see the old men dressed up like baseball players is just funny!

    Comment by wood shelf -

  33. Do not need to mention that NBA coaches wear suits. we want to have a look at MLB adopt a dress code for their people. To see the old men dressed up like baseball players is just funny!

    Comment by wood shelf -

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  36. i personally think that the dress code is bad, why cant you wear whats comfortable, you have the right to wear whatever you want, you cant make the african american players dress differently, or the white players, let your clothes be what you want them to be, so it has to not go under effect. no way,,,,,GO HEAT!!!!!!
    -Cameron Lynch/ Dutch Harbor, Alaska

    Comment by Cameron Lynch -

  37. The dress code is a must in my opinion.

    Comment by dress -

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  40. Hello Mark

    I am a debater in MA, and our current topic is the NBA dress code. I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind giving me any really good quotes about the dress code…. and how its:

    furthers racism/stereotypes
    attention suck from other sports
    NBA is a player’s league

    Thank you, I appreciate your time

    Ross

    Comment by Ross -

  41. I believe in the dress code is useless it is a basketball game and a game is a game it should be common sense that where they sell nachos
    you should be comfortable. I agree that it is nice to see basketball
    players dressed up but is thier job to play basket ball and not run a
    fashion show. Each team should be able to deside wiether or not their team choses to represent classy, comfortable, casual, or with spirit. Remember its a game not a fashion show.

    Comment by Tracy Jessica, Addonay -

  42. I believe in the dress code it is a basketball game and a game is a game it should be common sense that where they sell nachos you should be comfortable. I agree that it is nice to see basketball players dressed up but is thier job to play basket ball and not run a fashion show. Remember its a game not a fashion show.

    Comment by Tracy Jessica, Addonay -

  43. I personally think that the dress code is a bad idea. The way that each player dresses adds to their individual personality and also adds to the interest of the fans. Doesn’t the NBA have better things to deal with other than policing the players closets? I really feel that the comissioner wants to draw a little attention to himself by sparking controversy. Mr. Stern should focus on things that are more important.

    Comment by T. Cohen -

  44. I am in favor of a dress code in sports, for the purpose of professionalism.

    I think every team should have the option of having one. Every team should have a professional image to present to its community and its customers.

    Comment by puddy -

  45. Before I started my own business many years ago I worked for employers who required a certain dress code. Specifcally dark suit, white shirt and prep tie. “Casual day” was a shirt, tie and sport coat! This still happens in many businesses today and employees comply as they like getting a paycheck. Nowdays in my own business I dress the way I want to.

    True, NBA players can’t start their own basketball business but the other truth is that as long as they, or anyone is on anyone elses payroll, you gotta do what you gotta do if you want to eat and pay your bills.

    ‘nough said!

    Comment by Scott G. -

  46. America is a free country, but that doesn’t mean private industries have to abide by the rules put in place to maintain a government free of tyranny.

    The ultimate defenders of freedom, the men and women of the U.S. military, must adhere to a painfully strict dress code while getting paid much, much less than the NBA players we are discussing. Dress codes are present in many corporations. It’s a fact of life, presenting yourself in a professional manner gives the appeal any good company wants and in the NBA’s case needs for more revenue.

    Comment by Jeff -

  47. If merchandise sales start falling, I guarantee you that the dress code will be killed. I can understand a dress code in corporate situation in where players are meeting with sponsors for example. But in other situations such as when they are on the plane, on the bench, in the arena….it makes no sense.

    Comment by Sudipta Mallik -

  48. I’m disgusted by the dress code. Isn’t America a “FREE” country? If you show up and play in uniform, are you not free to dress how you feel in your free time???

    How can anyone even watcht the NBA anymore???? Isn’t the officiating nausiating to everyone??? Good players have rules, bad players have different rules. It’s as bad as professional wrestling, and I’m sure it comes down from the top, as in Mr Stern. Good for marketing to have stars get away with more, and hard low paid workers coming off the bench get paid less. Dress code, it’s just a distraction from the real problem with the NBA.

    Comment by The Deeder -

  49. See if most people agree with the NBA dress code? http://vizu.com/vote_poll/Sports/NFL/NBA/dress/code/.jsp?n=2680&cId=31 Interesting results.

    Comment by Enzo Radondi -

  50. Its about time NBA players were required to dress appropriately for team functions. As a highschool basketball player I was not allowed to play until I showed up in a suit and tie!! For the whole day at school not just the game. I had to get a job to pay for that suit and it makes me sick to hear grown men in the NBA, making more money in one minute of playing time than I did in a whole week of washing dishes, complain about the cost. Suck it up you can write it off your taxes!!

    Comment by chris jackson -

  51. Tell these millionaire babies to quit basketball if they don’t like the dress code and find a corpoarte job that will let them dress however they want. Fuck AI!

    Comment by joe -

  52. I’m not a big fan of this NBA dress code. I think Stern is trying to address the image problem of the league and the characters issues. This is the wrong approach though. Just because someone is well neatly dressed doesnt make him a good guy. I don’t think this will make any difference. I just dont see the point. These guys aren’t running Board meetings. Do people in the stands really use their binoculars to see what players on bench are wearing…..who really cares…

    I think Stern & crew are trying to bring down the hip hop influence which has taken effect this generation. This league makes a ton of money off its marketing to hip hop generation. But the league wants to have it both ways….gotta take the good with the bad of hip hip generation. The attire is part of the package. Its a mixed message the league is sending.

    Comment by Sudipta Mallik -

  53. NBA Cares? Maybe the reason it got little coverage is because despite its “ambition” the press release offers few concrete initiatives other than listinig the accomplishments of charitable initiatives that they’ve provided relatively limited support to in the past.

    It brings into question the whole question of how effective “celebrity as charitable spokesperson” actually is, especially when that celebrity is a sports figure. There are a handful of ex pro-athletes that have taken their charitable initiatives as seriously as their business investments but they are few and far between.

    I applaud any groups’ stated commitment to charitable initiatives, I really do. But as my Grandfather said when my father told him of his undying love for my mother, “Time Will Tell.” As it happened, my parents divorced. Time Will Tell.

    Comment by Tom Williams -

  54. It is a shame to think that grown a** men would rather pay fines (that could feed hungry people) than put on a suit for a couple of hours of the day.

    Newsflash: you are not rappers and it is embarrassing that you can’t switch up your game.

    Like Mike Wilbon wrote, the legends of the game: Jordan, Majic etc, made the covers of GQ magazine during their heydays.

    Get it together brothers and stop making young black males think that they can go to work wearing anything!
    (where ya’ll mamas @)

    Comment by Neledi Tafari -

  55. Whether this is ageism, control or a way to calm down sponsors, advertisers and older fans, I believe that there is a bigger issue at hand, morals in America.

    Remember last year when there was a outcry over the T.O./Nicole Sheridan opening for Monday night football? While I had no issue with it, even though my then 14 year old was watching with me, I found the events of the following week truly outrageous.

    There use to be a show on NBC called LAX starring Blair Underwood and Heather Locklear. Tuesday night, one week after the MNF “incident”, roughly 8:10pm EST, Locklear is featured in a dream sequence that featured a sexual fantasy with Underwood. She is wearing a thin negligee, though you saw no skin, it was a riveting and highly suggestive. Here too I had no problem with it per se, but I found it curious that a towel dropping on the opening of MNF at 9pm EST draws a firestorm and LAX’s sexually oriented dream sequence draws no ire.

    So yes the NBA bosses are worried about corporate advertisers and image perception, the NBA also realizes that America is in the middle of a morals based crisis and as the NBA is part of America, they are trying to run back time. Whether they should or shouldn’t do this is of course fodder for debate.

    There is a public high school in my area that does not have enough books, enough seats in the lunch room or on the school busses, yet somehow, someway they have found all kinds of money to upgrade the football complex and I understand that they will probably spend a ton of money on putting in artificial turf throughout the entire complex despite the fact that they put new sod in 2 years ago or so!

    Point of all this being simple. If it involves a ball and a whistle, its sacrilege and don’t mess with it.

    Comment by Scott G. -

  56. It’s not the dress code that’s the problem, it’s the reason why. How can someone wearing a gold chain or baggy jeans make someone uncomfortable, especially when this person is travelling on a team bus? That’s the true problem. The league is clearly reacting to a certain group’s tendency to feeling threatened by anything that is different. We need to examine why this was brought about…not the actual clothing.

    Comment by Angel -

  57. The players who have a problem with this are not against wearing sports jackets, or buying new clothes, ( we know for sure they don’t have a problem with that) They are responding negatively to the sudden mandating of cultural value from above. The problem, as you point out, is bad management, specifically a lack of communication and respect between the court and the front office.

    Comment by Carvell -

  58. To comment on Josh Howard’s idea, I think that not only could you go to a designer to get a “Mav’s Look”, I think that designers will stand in line to come to you and all NBA players with sponsorship deals. I’ve even created a blog just to cover what player’s will be wearing this season because of the new league dress code.

    http://www.nbadresscode.com

    Comment by Robb -

  59. Overall, I think the dress code is a very good idea. These gentlemen are making a LOT of money and they are really at work. I don’t even make a fraction of what these people do, and I have to subscribe to the dress code of my employer. Almost everyone that has a job has to work within a dress code. The arguement that getting a custom sport coat might be an economic challenge to rookie players, is unacceptable. Several commentors already pointed out how ridiculous that sounds, no need to repeat it.

    From what I’ve seen, I think the dress code is fairly liberal and very easy to work with. The guys can still wear jeans…geez! So what if you can’t wear a big-azz chain outside of your shirt? And what’s this Stephen Jackson said about this being an attack on young black men? Please. Like all young black men walk around practically dripping bling. It’s fine if Mr. Jackson wants to be a walking, talking stereotype, but please, he should leave everyone else out of it. Really.

    Now, all that said, I was a little skeptical about the dress code. The first thing I wanted to know was what, if anything, they would say about how the players could wear their hair. To date, I haven’t seen anything about that. If there is, I’d appreciate it if someone could let me know. In this quest to look “professional,” I was concerned that there would be restrictions on how players could wear their hair. I’d have a problem if players couldn’t wear cornrows, afros, etc. as long as the styles are neat.

    And finally…you vs. speedos. Dude, that’s, like, so five minutes ago. I suggest you peruse International Male. Their styles are far more “fashion forward,” if you will.

    Comment by Shasta MacNasty -

  60. imagine…your employer paid you guaranteed money over several years before even placing a foot in the office, and if you got fired or retired you still got paid, if you got hurt and could not perform at work you still got paid, but there is a catch…there will be a mandated dress code, would you have a problem???…hey most people would wear a MFFL tee shirt and speedos if thats was the mandated uniform to be an NBA star and get millions of dollars…

    http://www.dallaspartyrental.com

    Comment by Luis -

  61. Mark,
    Many arenas do not open the doors until 60 min. before tipoff. Normal fans who don’t have side-door access cannot be there for the shootaround or autographs.
    Paul

    Comment by Paul -

  62. Mark,

    Your moves re the dress code are spot on. As a semi-government employer (in Australia), we are required to implement a dress code for employees. However, I’ve always said to my staff – be above and beyond reproach and let’s make this something that can bind us together. It can become fun and uniforms (eeek!) aren’t always bad.

    That said, “casual day” at work is always fun, where staff contribute $1 or so to a charity. I wonder if this would take off in the NBA, if players could wear anything one day per week, and contribute to the NBA’s new charity?!

    Now, there’s an idea!

    PS. If you’ve got any jobs going, I’d be more than happy to be interviewed. I’d solve this dress code issue for your organisation, no problems at all ….. and it wouldn’t involve red pin-stripe suits like Jalen Rose wore to draft night (cringe – they’ll be back, you watch).

    Comment by James Smith -

  63. I didn’t see any bids for ads on your clothing. So I’ll bid $10 per game to have a short URL centered, just below your collar, just large enough to see on TV. I’ll sign a season-long contract.

    Also, the headphone ban is ridiculous. iPods aren’t thug-wear. Oh, and if the music is the problem, maybe we can get rid of the overplayed 10 second clips of “we will rock you” and all those other brain-dead clips they play over and over again. That has to be demeaning to anyone with an IQ over about 103. If there is one reason why I love college football more than pro-sports, that has to be it. When you go to the Colliseum to see the Trojans play (the hottest ticket in LA right now, BTW), mostly, you get the band, and most of the fans there complain about the new reliance on recorded music blasting from the turnstyle end.

    Comment by Brad Hutchings -

  64. Here’s a random thought — NBA players should also set up a non-profit group to outfit needy people with business attire so they can have something to wear to job interviews and for the first few weeks after getting a job.

    If buying business attire is a hardship for NBA players, imagine how tough it is to get something professional to wear when seeking a job, and, tougher yet, after landing one.

    I personally like the idea of the dress code . . . I hope it works out well for the NBA. As for the Mavs, there should be some designers in the Dallas area able to outfit the team. In addition to a fashion-forward ensemble, I think there should be an old-fashioned navy blaser with crest on pocket, white shirt, striped tie, gray slacks. Like the Dallas Mavericks prep school!

    Comment by Ken Carpenter -

  65. Great post! I love the NBA-centric postings. And you are right. This is a image issue. NBA wants to deliver a more professional and unified image to advertisers. This is a good first step and not that big of a deal.

    And players complaining about having to buy a jacket make me want to throw up.

    Comment by Scott Griffith -

  66. Mark,
    I have news for you. The arguement about rookies making rookie wages (and making sport coats an economic factor for the players) is completely ridiculous. In his second year out of college, on a “minimal rookie wage” Devin Harris drives a Bentley with a custom paint job and rims. Does that appear to be someone with a cash flow problem? I didn’t think so either. How much do the throwback jerseys cost? Upwards to 400 dollars? Players pretending to be concerned about the costs of sports coats is pretty much the most absurd arguement I’ve heard.

    Beyond that though, I commend you for your plan for the Mavericks to reach out to the community more. I understand that it’s not necessary, and what you plan on doing is great. Trust me when I say if it doesn’t go through, nobody will be too upset. Asking players to sign autographs pre-game and take pictures is undoubtedly a hassle, and will be highly appreciated by the fans.

    Comment by Trot -

  67. hey mark! glad you addressed this on your blog because i have been waiting to hear your thoughts.

    JOSH’S IDEA IS AWESOME!!!! i am totally for it and maybe yall can take some ideas from the p.diddy jersey thing.

    cant wait to see you in a speedo =) saw you a few weeks ago and you are lookin buff & tan!

    Comment by cali -

  68. ” A minimum salary rookie makes more money than most of America, and we all have to buy our own clothes for work, but not many of us have to have specially tailored clothes because we are 6’8. Those arent cheap.”

    Your argument of affordability in the case of these celebrities is unfortunately out of touch with reality (but perhaps reflective of your position). Their cost of living is much lower than most as sponsorships, favors and deals cover off many necessities. I am sure you (the Mavs) feed them while they are working, training, playing or traveling. When they eat out, many restaurants will foot the bill. Other household items are purchased at discounts, as a barter for something else or as part of a deal etc. You get the point.

    You have many solid arguments as to how this branding situation could have been handled more appropriately and what impact this has on your employyes. But arguing on the $$ factor is not your best lead point.

    Comment by brett -

  69. I read this column, and then saw this over @ MSNBC:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9730334/ – Mark, Stern is giving you some press there as well🙂

    I don’t think it is racist to say you can’t wear chains over your clothes. #1 When you go to the game, you’re going to the office. #2 The players complain that the owners are missing the marketing opportunity. For clarification the largest marketed basketball player (even today?) is Michael Jordan. He wore a suit and tie (or at least a jacket) to every game. He denied locker room interviews. He treated the game as business. Yet he is the most marketed and accepted athelete in all time. He revolutionized the whole concept. So I think Jackson’s point there is wrong. Even more so, it’s not like they can’t live their life and wear their gear in the thier private life, and still do all the promotional deals they desire. Go and get thugged out on your own time, not the NBA’s time.

    Comment by JohnO -

  70. As usual Mark, your blog makes for some interesting reading on the subject. And your point of view is certainly one that I’ve heard nowhere else. If true — and I’m sure it is — it just boggles my mind how anyone successful enough to be able to own an NBA franchise could drop the ball so much with a basic fundamental of owning a business.

    How can you not get to know your highly skilled employees, especially when you’re responsible for them getting paid?

    That being said, I think Stern’s gone over the top a little bit. Business casual would have been fine and I bet that’s the way it ultimately goes.

    I think the NBA does have a problem with the public perception of its players because the suburban middle class is uncomfortable with the inner city culture. Some of the attitudes of certain players — at least as reported by the media — don’t help any. And remember the media is the way most of America knows these guys.

    Compare it to NASCAR where the everyday guy can relate to all the star drivers because appearance wise — they look alike and act alike — and most of these guys stay out of trouble away from the race track.

    I just find this a fascinating story and I’m real curious to see how it all plays out.

    Comment by Scotbo -

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