NBA Dress Code – Response to reader comments

I wanted to address some of the comments. I just think its necessary.

First. There is no question, that even at the minimum salary,NBA rookies and 1st yearplayers are blessed to be earning that much money. However, realize that about 55 pct comes off the top for taxes (they have to pay taxes in ever state we play in), agent and union dues, and NBA Escrow. But more importantly, we bang on them to save, save save. For most of the NBA minimum Free Agents in their first or 2nd year, these will be the ONLY years they play in the NBA.

Its a darwinian business. Chances are this is their only year or two in the NBA. If they are cut, they probably go play in the minor leagues, or possibly in Europe, but in either case, there is a 95pct chance that they arent going to be in this business, the one they have dreamed of and prepared for their entire lives for more than 4 years.

Which in turn means they have to find a new profession. Thats not cheap, thats not easy.

So while it may seem likea rookie free agent has plenty of money to buy custom tailored suits or sport coats for up to 2 grand a pop, its a big investment that could impact their future. In the big picture, that rookie and everyone who knows this business, knows thats money that should be saved for the future and its a huge hit for them.

2nd. Issue. The “Thug” Issue.
If you look at NBA players. White, black, brown, yellow, whatever color or nationality, regardless of how they dress, and think thug. You are an idiot. I have said it before, and I will say it again. I have run companies with a predominantly young work force. My personnel issues were far worse in those companies than anything at the Mavs, or what I have seen across the NBA. Young kids makes stupid mistakes. Thats what 21 year olds do.

If I had cameras following me when I was in my 20s……Or go to any hot nightclub and watch 20 somethings partying. Then ask them where they work.

Im willing to bet that you could take the workforce of any major corporation, segment out all their employees 35 and under and without question, you would find far more problems and issues in their workforce on, in absolute numbers or on a percentage basis than you would in the NBA.

I bet that any person over the age of 25 reading this post knows more screwups personally than there are playing in the NBA.

The reality for the NBA however is that we have let the media coverage of our game be personality based. The NFL has someone on trial or in jail every single week. Sure hasnt affected their ratings at all. Why ? Because media coverage is of the team, game strategy and in game matchups. Most of us couldnt identify 90 pct of the players on our favorite football team in a lineup. You might know their name and number, but you have no idea what they look like.

Randy Moss gets high. No one says they wont watch the NFL because of it. So and so gets accused of beating such and such. Its reported. Its documented. No one turns off the NFL as a result. We arent talking about the NFL having an image problem, we talk about how the price for Super Bowl ads continue to go up. How many advertisers walk away from the NFL and claim its because of the NFL image ? Heck, the NFL turns away ads for a movie about sports gambling. Talk about hypocritical…No one cares.

Watch the pregame of NFL games. They have talked to coaches about plays. They talk about plays. They talk about defensive strategy. They talk about what will be run in which situations. Fans do the same. It makes watching the games a lot more fun.

What do we talk about before an NBA game ? Sure we talk about individual matchups. We might even talk about individual skills. But how many in the media even know that there is a play run and a defense called , with options, bailouts and audibles on almost every single possession ? And how many write or talk about them ?

Instead we get stupid ramblings like “so and so has got to step up and earn his money”. “This is where so and so has got to prove he is worth the money”. Watching the ESPN crew with Stephen A, Greg Anthony and Tim Legler is painful. They are a cliche a second. Same soundbites every single game, just the player names are changed.TNT isnt much better. At least Barkley is entertaining at saying nothing.

I was watching the Mavs vs Detroit preseason game last night. Cliche after Cliche. Not a single bit of new information. They spent half the game talking about a dunk that Darko had. Not to pick on these guys, its the same for every team, including from our guys.

Has anyone ever heard after a basket; “I expect the Mavs to run a thumbs down or horns sidein this situation. Detroit is probably expecting them to push the ball, so watch for the Pistons to use a send 4 to the Offensive boards and everyone else gets back when the ball goes up into a man to man, gold on the post, come on first dribble on an entry pass”.

Or the Pistons always seem to run a 42 in out of bounds situations. They have run it 64 pct of their inbounds possessions under their own basket. Here is how it works …

Never. Instead we get mindless drivel about players. I know the game is fast and doesnt have the breaks that football has, but there is still time to discuss these things during stoppages and free throws

Im just as guilty of letting it happen at the Mavs in our media. Its something I have to find a way to cure.

I said it in the previous post, the Dress Code is a response to symptoms of bigger problems. The simplistic views people have of our players, is in response to our own stupidity in how we cover and report our games. On a macro level.

On an individual level. If you think NBA players, or any professional athlete that you never have had any interaction with is a thug. Then the problem is yours. You are an idiot.

86 thoughts on “NBA Dress Code – Response to reader comments

  1. I guess the best solution to this situation would be to allow league minimum players to suit up in their B-ball uniforms so they don’t have to spend $10,000 buying custom made suits.

    Comment by Scott -

  2. Totally disagree with you on this one, Mark. No one says the players making minimum first or second year NBA salaries have to wear $2,000 suits. They can get a perfectly good suit for $500, seriously. Hey if I was making say $350,000 a year, sorry I’d be able to afford a ward drobe of 10 decent suits. As far as these guys getting cut after 2 years or so, sorry I don’t have any empathy at all. They can try to get their college degrees like everyone else so they have something to fall back on. If these guys want to put all their chips on a pro athlete career fine, but don’t go crying to me if it doesn’t work out. I wanted to make a career as a record producer. It didn’t work out but I had my regular financial job and MBA to fall back on. Sorry I don’t feel sorry for these guys one bit.

    Comment by Phil Hershon -

  3. Somebody agrees with you anyway Mark:

    http://www.nj.com/columns/ledger/dalessandro/index.ssf?/base/columns-0/1129786423261970.xml&coll=1

    Comment by J. Dougherty -

  4. Mr. Cuban, I think you comments regarding the NFL are very general, and not well thought out. It seems like you are trying to find an easy way out, without actually providing any facts. Yes, Randy Moss has admitted to smoking weed, but there was a lash-back towards Moss, the Vikings, and the NFL in general. What do you mean no one says they won’t watch the NFL? Every single player on the Portlan Trailblazers has gotten in trouble for smoking weed, have you seen people stop watching the NBA because of this? Kobe Bryant was accused of raping a woman, and he admitedly cheated on his wife, did sales really go down on Kobe Bryant jerseys? Did he not just get back his shoe deal with Nike? I don’t know where the arguement towards the NFL came from. I also don’t understand where this woe-is-me attitude towards the NBA and its players comes from. Going back to the original topic at hand here, is it such a big deal to ask an employee to wear a suit to work? I’m a 22-year-old student at Northeastern University in Boston, and I had a 6 month job as a reporter at a local newspaper last semester. I was REQUIRED to wear dress slacks, a dress shirt, and a tie to work. They were my employers, there are rules, you abide by them. They pay you for what you do, and in return, you should follow the rules. Is it really that much to ask for NBA players to wear a suit for 2 hours of their day? Really, once the game is over, you can put on whatever gear you want. I just don’t get what the big deal is over this issue. Thanks for the time..

    Nate

    Comment by Nate Costa -

  5. Great points about the commentators, Mark. The only ones I’ve ever heard point out very specifically the plays being run are: Hubie Brown, John Thompson, Mike Fratello and Doug Collins. I love that stuff. I remember on one occasion back in the day when the Bulls were playing the Jazz, Collins called the Jazz’s inbounds play before it happened, knew they were going to run that play and knew what defense the Bulls were going to run against it. Brilliant. We need more Doug Collins, more Czar, less Kevin Harlan.

    Comment by Joel -

  6. Marc,

    What’s the big deal with business casual while on the bench? Custom shirts are maybe $100-150 each, custom slacks maybe 250-400 each, and custom sportsjackets maybe 600-800 each. You could outfit yourself for less than 5K.

    I do agree with players complaining about needing to wear certain clothes on the team plane. If guys are going to be driving to an airport, boarding a plane, and sitting there for a few hours I see no reason why they shouldn’t wear the most comfortable clothes they have. So in my view once you are done with the game you should be able to wear what you want leaving the Arena.

    Comment by jsho12 -

  7. Refco….apparently was hiding a bunch of naked shorts….maybe those guys bitching earlier in the year were on to something…naked shorting is a gigantic scam where the big guys are making out…

    Comment by eric -

  8. NBA players aren’t thugs. A few individual NBA players would like to come across as thugs and a few individual NBA players are actually thugs. I presume we can agree on those statements going in.

    The NFL too has real thugs and players posing as thugs in its ranks too. But that does not seem to affect viewership or attendance or revenues for the NFL.

    For some reason, the NBA revenue picture is different; the NBA TV viewership and revenues are not growing at the same rate as the NFL – unless you count in revenues the NBA generates from distant overseas markets. And if those revenues are really sufficient to waive off suggestions of problems any and/or all measures of decline in popularity here in the US, then you surely would not mind taking the majority of your franchises overseas – right? WRONG!! If the league does that and maintains its salary structure, it will be bankrupt in less than a decade.

    The real issue here is WHY is the NFL more immune to scandalous – and even criminal – behavior on the part of its players comapred to the NBA. If you were running the NBA as a real business, you’d identify the root causes of that thinking and preference in your customer base very quickly because it is the lifeblood of your business. That’s Marketing 101. But the league – and the individual owners as the entities that make up the league – have not done that yet. So, tell me why?

    Is it that you can’t do it?

    Or is it that you have already done it and you don’t want the answer to get out?

    Or is it something else?

    The NBA dress code is a dumb idea – not because it is racist or discriminatory or “ageist” or culturally insensitive or any of those things. It is a dumb idea because it is not going to cure the image problems associated with the league.

    Here are some free consulting services. The image problems are based on boorish and anti-social behaviors exhibited mainly by a small minority cadre of the players. [And there is an even smaller population of chronic “offenders” whose names are so obvious that they don’t need enumeration here.] People don’t care if these players participate in those behaviors wearing a shirt with a collar and a jacket or if they participate in the bahaviors while adorned with baggy jeans and gold chains.

    To paraphrase James Carville in his role managing the 1992 Clinton Presidential Campaign: It’s the Anti-Social Behaviors, Stupid!

    Comment by The Sports Curmudgeon -

  9. Mark,

    You’re only right about one part of this. More announcers need to be as well versed in basketball as Hubie. Sorry to say, it ain’t gonna happen, because even you don’t know as much about basketball as the Hube-Man.

    As for the rest of the points, you’re so far wrong it’s sad. If The Providential Hand of God had not seen fit to bless you financially, nobody would listen to your idiotic diatribe.

    Most of the time, I believe you yak just to hear yourself yak.

    Most of the buying public will tell you the image of the NBA is whiny, thug wannabees. Not that they are thugs, they just wanna have people think they are. The NBA is letting the inmates run the asylum.

    I’d say not only are your loser-ass Mav’s some of the worst dressed in the league, but you are the biggest idiots out of all the owners for pampering them and promoting to them your whiny, loser-ass ways.

    Good riddance to your RSS feed from my reader. You have whined your last off-base, wrong side of the equation, idiotic post to me.

    Comment by Mike -

  10. I don’t think these players have to spend hundreds of dollars for suits to wear.
    If I am looking for a job I come up with the money for a suit so get real. Dress code go for it

    Comment by Scott -

  11. Sounds like an education issue, but it’s a long term project to get the press to go deeper into the mechanics of the plays. It’s going to take people a lot sharper and faster than most of the current announcing crew to recognize and articulate that information in real time.

    Re: $2000 suits–while some here say go to Ross or Men’s Wearhouse, we both know that the average NBA body can’t find anything to fit there. If the league insists on the clothes, they should setup some sort of program with a moderately priced manufacturer to get the suits made. It’s a win-win, if you use the players in the ads. Men’s Wearhouse might be a good place to start, as they have Extra Long sizing in the 42-54 range already.

    One thing I haven’t heard much of is that wearing the business clothes may help them in the after-sports life. Although neither you nor I may wear such clothing as entreprenuers, in many situations it’s necessary to fit in.

    Comment by Bruce Ewert -

  12. Mark,

    I always took you for a “glass is half full” kinda guy. Sports is about marketing and todays demograpics show an aging population that probably has a harder time relating to the bulk of the NBA players. While I think it’s a bit much to tell a grown man what to wear, just maybe, Stern/league is trying appeal to the demograpic that has more money, makes more decisions(ad dollars), and is a little alienated from the NBA. NBA players are more associated with thugery because of the whole posse hip-hop thing. While it may not be reality it is perceived. I have no problem with these guys making as much as the market will bear. They’re entertainers, and as such could find their careers over before they planned. Where’s Wierd Al?

    Come on Mark, you decked out their locker-room. Swing a deal with a local clothier; have a couple of players do some plugs and I’ll bet your guys will have all the threads they’ll need. Wasn’t it you saying something about preparing them for life outside the NBA.

    By the way, Trump’s got nothin’ on you.

    Comment by thom -

  13. I think that it is downright impossible to logically argue with the points that Cheo Hurley makes in his reader comments. Not only does his points hit home, but even by his own admission he fits the profile/demographics that seems to buy into the image and lifestyle that is so predominant nowadays. If he gets it (and can explain it as well as he does), why can’t others???

    Comment by Mike -

  14. Mark – Don’t agree with the minimum salaried players and the cash issue. Everyday corporate America is not limited to 5’10’’ individuals. Our downtown corporate office is a suit and tie environment. You’re talking about thousands of people, most of which are NOT making a six figure salary, somehow scrapping enough together to buy their clothes. It’s called a budget. You buy within your means. If this means you don’t wear an Armani suit, then you don’t wear one.

    Also, what happens if these players don’t make it in the NBA and have to go into the business world? Do companies make exceptions on the dress code for their employees because they are too tall?

    In short, most of working America has to abide by a company dress code – either a suit or tie, business casual, or even a fast food uniform. As many athletes love to tell us: “Sports is business.” Well, this is how most businessmen and women have to dress.

    Comment by Eddie -

  15. Great job on PTI Mark and I loved the blog, especially this entry. You’re totally right about the quality of announcers and their tendency of talking about the players and not what’s going on in the game. I don’t tune into NBA games or any other sport to hear the announcers talk about having dinner with the players the night before. I care about analysis of the game and what is happening.

    About Stephen A and the gang on ESPN, you couldn’t have nailed that any better. I’m pretty sure they just have pre-programed bits and they work them into the highlights like how they do announcing in video games.

    The dress code issue is just stupid. Granted I think athletes should try to look professional whenever applicable. I don’t think two weeks before the season is the time to start changing the way things are. They’ve had from the middle of June to start implicating these policies. Allthough the truth of the matter is when you see some players wearing chains around their neck that cost the same as my entire college tuition, they have no reason to say they can’t buy a suit. It’s really a slipper slope issue when it comes to those players that don’t have much of a career and need to worry about saving before their career comes to an end due to injury or other causes. The main point being, couldn’t we have had this issue brought up in July not mid-October. David Stern strikes again.

    Either way, I love the blog and look forward to the new NBA season. And I wish your team the best of luck this season and Godsend was a very underrated movie. I’m out.

    -Brent Strassburg

    Comment by Brent Strassburg -

  16. Hey Mark:

    Will the owners of teams be responsible to follow the dress code as well? Because you sir, dress like crap!

    Go Lakers!

    Comment by Scott -

  17. The sad thing about the dress code is the NBA has ignored many other serious problems to address the most superficial and pointless one. I honestly have no problem with a dress code but don’t we have more serious issues to adresss in the NBA right now?

    We have a new rule for dress codes but we don’t have any new rules to help call a fair and consistent game? Stern says the refs will call palming/traveling/etc this year. Suuuure. Don’t they say that every year? By December we’ll be back to the same old NBA refs. The NBA is quickly becoming a joke. Even the most casual fan can turn on a game and see dozens of rule violations in a game. That’s just wrong and it hurts the sport.

    There are a lot of serious concerns (ticket prices, fan/player safety, etc) that are being ignored just so some white business men can feel more comfortable when they’re watching the game in their sky box. I just don’t get that at all. Why not embrace the hip hop culture and try to appeal to young people?

    Shouldn’t a basketball game be fun? I don’t know anyone who wears suits for fun.

    Comment by Jeff Szarka -

  18. Regarding Mark’s comment:

    Has anyone ever heard after a basket; ” I expect the Mavs to run a thumbs down or horns side in this situation. Detroit is probably expecting them to push the ball, so watch for the Pistons to use a send 4 to the Offensive boards and everyone else gets back when the ball goes up into a man to man, gold on the post, come on first dribble on an entry pass”.

    Broadcast outlets are trying to do you and themselves a favor by appealing to a broad audience. How many viewers would understand what all that analysis even means?

    Comment by Tom M -

  19. Mark,

    First let me say that I am glad to know you actually read the reader responses to your posts, as most people in your position do not. So it is nice to know that you care enough to validate your reader’s by taking the time to review our input.

    I do not presume to believe that sport figures get a free ride merely because they are in the lime light of the publics eye and make a great deal of money. To the contrary. However, I also do not presume to believe that these aspects automatically create a right to evade their business and social responsibilities either.

    Right or wrong, sport figures and individuals such as you are role models for kids and because of this there is a duty per se to represent that postiion in the best ways possible.

    Regrettably there are many (not all) sport figures who dress like thugs both on and off the court/field/rink and their behavior reflects a thug like mentality. This does not mean that all sport figures are thugs nor should they be judged to be so simply because of their association with the sport.

    However, when deciding to take a career that is in the public eye, one must give effect to the fact that perception is reality [right or wrong] and if one does not want to be misjudged then they have the responsibility to communicate the right image.

    If that means choosing better styles of dress then so be it ~ it is a business expense they should expect and work into their budget or get a creative CPA to write if off on taxes as a business expense.

    As a business owner, you have both the right and the responsibility to demand that your team reflect the image you believe is best for the team and for the business. If that means mandating a dress code for the sake of having a successful business then so be it and if one of your players or employees cannot or will not accept that business comes before play time. Then maybe they are not right for the team and the overall success of the business.

    Every day I see kids who dress like thugs but in reality are some of the best kids you will ever meet. Yet, their opportunities in life are greatly limited because of the image they choose to reflect by the clothes they wear. And they dress this way because they are taught to belive that it is “Kool” to look like a thug and if they do not then they will not be accpeted by their peers.

    Maybe if they had better role modles in their lives, they in turn would have more opportunities in life.

    Comment by Lost In America Org -

  20. ” I expect the Mavs to run a thumbs down or horns side in this situation. Detroit is probably expecting them to push the ball, so watch for the Pistons to use a send 4 to the Offensive boards and everyone else gets back when the ball goes up into a man to man, gold on the post, come on first dribble on an entry pass”.

    I’m sorry. What the f**k did you just say?:) Point taken. It would be nice if more announcers were like Hubie Brown. He seems to share more basketball wisdom than the other NBA talking heads combined.

    ESPN commentators may talk crap, but even they have a dress code to follow.

    Comment by Josh -

  21. Most of you Guys DO NOT GET IT!!!!!!!

    Don’t you understand where these basketball players are coming from. Being a college student and highschool basketball player I have had the chance to play against many players that are in the NBA right now and I think all of you guys are missing the point.

    It comes down to a few points that not only athletes but music artists have to deal with. The most important is that they have to keep their “realness and credibility”. To turn the tables around it would be like a young professional going into an investment banking firm and having to wear hip hop style clothes and chains in front of your family and friends. Wouldn’t you be a litte embarressed? Well for them to suddenly change their whole style would be very uncomfortable for them. Most the these guys do not know the lifestyle of a business man or what to wear because they were not born into that society like other fortunate people in this world. If you have a chance to read the most recent article in FORTUNE about Jay-z it depicts the transition he is going through from the fast lifestyle of rapping about “Big Pimpin and Moving Cocaine” to dealing with some of the top CEO’s in the world. He is having to do an amazing balance act because he can’t just sell out because then he loses the credibility that put him in that position in the first place.

    If you look at Jordan back in the 80’s he was wearing baggy shorts and a more hip hop attire. But as he evolved into the biggest athlete of the century, he gradually became the business suit type without losing respect from any part of society. If you are going to do this, it must be a gradual thing where the “perception” of ALL parts of society accept that NBA basketball players where suits and furthermore conduct themselves on a professional manner.

    Its not as difficult as everyone is making it seem. Look at it from their perspective first and then start with “branding” and whatever you need to do to fill seats and make that green.

    Thanks

    Comment by Jon Birdsong -

  22. So defensive yet so wrong. Since everyone else seems to have a different view, isnt it possible that you, Mark, are the idiot?

    Besides its the Iverson’s and big money players that are complaining not the new guys. And sorry, but the 2 yr guys still have enough money to dress ‘business casual’. People making $30k-$40k a year can do it so I think its in their budget. Good grief Mark, you’re way off on this one.

    And yeah, if you dress like a thug and act like a thug… hmm maybe people are going to think you’re a thug. You know the saying… If it quacks like a duck…

    Time for some over-paid babies to grow up and shut up.

    Comment by Richard -

  23. Responding to the response above that NBA announcers do break down plays during time outs and free throws: they do, but not in nearly the detail that NFL announcers do. I think what I’ve learned over the years from NBA announcers is how a basic pick-and-roll works and … well, that’s pretty much it.

    They’ll use the telestrator to circle the guy setting the pick, they’ll draw a little arrow for where the guy with the ball is supposed to go, and then that’s it, we’re done, back to the game, because that’s all there is to it, right? Of course not – it’s far more complicated than the announcers make it seem.

    Defensive analysis is even worse: they circle the guy who was supposed to rotate over because of a double-team, and that’s the end of the story.

    Comment by Jason Wojciechowski -

  24. I’ve met many NBA players off court and agree; labeling them all as “thugs” is ridiculous. However, it’s a small number of people in any sports league – NBA, NFL, whatever – and a few a******es are going to ruin it for a lot of people. (See the current Minnesota “love boat” fiasco. Plenty of great people who wouldn’t have gone near that mess are being tagged with it.

    As the team owner, it’s up to you and others in the NBA to combat this. How? Maybe a dress code. Maybe actually punishing people who pull criminal stuff rather than just trading them (which in some cases is hardly a punishment). Let’s face it, if you can hit/dunk/catch passes better than anyone, you can be a rapist/murderer/child molester and some team will still sign you.

    Yes, a dress code is cosmetic. But it’s a first step. When we see players dressing like the rap gangbangers, we assume they’re like them. Like it or not.

    Comment by Ray Barrington -

  25. Thanks for clarifying those points, Mark. I appreciate your taking the time to do so.

    You’re totally missing the point about people, though. Brand and imagery for your team — your investment — is *your* responsibility to control. If you want the Mavs to look professional, and not be perceived as thugs, then you need to do something about it.

    If you don’t, the brand and imagery will be controlled by someone else. So many companies make that mistake — they presume that quality will control brand. That’s not the case. Somebody else will take over the image of your team if you don’t. And right now, the image of the NBA is that of a bunch of people cashing in on the thug factor.

    I don’t think there really are that many thugs in the NBA, but it sure seems like that behavior is rewarded (and capitalized during television commercials, billboards, and other junk).

    And you’re really gotta admit that you’re not going to help that image any by telling people they’re idiots. They’re seeing something that you’re not, and they’re controlling your brand. You need to now go back, take control of that image, change it, and convince people to buy into it. The first thing you could do is ask why people feel that way, and learn the causes of those perceptions.

    But they’re probably not going to be helpful if you’re calling them dumb for seeing something you don’t.

    Comment by Kevin Glennon -

  26. I love the NBA and I hate the fact that lots of basketball fans at the college and high school level dislike the NBA because of their misguided perceptions of NBA players.

    I fear that with actions like this dress code, David Stern just reinforces this misguided perception rather than combats it. It is as if he is saying that NBA players are thugs and we need to dress them up in pretty clothes to trick people into thinking otherwise. That attitude in my opinion is condescending to both NBA players and to fans in general. And I think it is counterproductive because it will inevitably lead to players challenging these limits which will serve to reinforce the very perceptions this action is attempting to eradicate.

    Instead I wish that David Stern would use his bully pulpit to defend NBA players from these misguided perceptions – much like what Mark Cuban is doing here. The players need someone to in the league office to consistently and vigorously stand up and defend them against these baseless accusations. On this issue the silence of the league office is deafening.

    Comment by Dan T. Rosenbaum -

  27. Mark uses generalities to refute generalities. Better yet, Mark oversimplifies people’s comments about “thugs” (looking like, not being), while contradictorily railing against oversimplification in his post. Great job, Mark. At least you live up to your track record of having a faster mouth than brain.

    I enjoy reading Mark’s comments. It is like watching a monkey bashing on a keyboard and being impressed when it actually spells a word.

    Comment by john -

  28. Mark, great point about the NFL coverage and analysis vs. the typical NBA breakdown (or lack thereof) of strategy and play calling. Sure basketball is a fast paced game, but free throw situations would be the perfect time to toss out a little bit of this type of information in a typical broadcast. I’d love to see a weekly show specifically about NBA strategy and play calling rather than the ususal NBA Inside-fluff.

    Comment by Jason Gilman -

  29. Mark, I just read your comments concerning the NBA dress code. I am glad you gave a better understanding of some of the details behind the new edict sent forth by Commissioner David Stern. Though I agree with some of your comments I have to say that I am glad that the new dress code has been imposed.
    I am a 31 year old African American man from Baltimore (City) MD. The majority of the players in the NBA are my peers or a little younger and I certainly understand the struggle many of them have endured to make it to the league. Their struggle is quite similar to any young black man or woman who comes out of the inner city or poor rural America to achieve any sort of success. However, in order to achieve success we usually have to do it within the confines of our chosen profession. Within the professions that we choose there are rules and regulations that we all must live by.
    I love hip hop music, fashion and culture but I understand when I go to my corporate job every day or go to a business meeting I must act and dress appropriately if I want to continue to earn a living for myself and my family. Let’s not lose sight that the NBA is a corporation with employees. And for the CEO of a company to ask employees (Players) to follow certain rules and regulations is not a ridiculous request. I am sure in the many business ventures you have been involved in you have set certain guidelines for employees, and after reading about you and watching your interview on 60 minutes I doubt very seriously if you would tolerate an insubordinate employee who constantly disobeyed your policies and hurt your financial bottom line.
    Your argument about the rookies not making as much as veterans and all the fee’s and taxes they pay is well taken. However, if you check the wardrobe or jewelry collection of a lot of professional athletes I am sure that they spend twice as much on hip hop gear and jewelry than they would on business appropriate clothing. Outside of clothing and jewelry let’s look at the vehicles they drive as well. Many players’ purchase or lease $80,000+ vehicles. Couldn’t some of that money go to buying a few pair of slacks and a dress coat? I watched NBA Rookies on Spike TV earlier this year and I saw Devin Harris (one of your players) driving a very expensive Mercedes Benz. After seeing the car he drives and his other expenses would you be willing to give him an additional stipend for clothing based on that knowledge? As a business owner does that make any sense to you?
    The final point that is being missed in all this but strikes a very sensitive chord among my friends and I is that on a larger scale the problem with the hip hop/thug look is that entertainers are trying to make jail culture into something cool. This jail culture includes cornrows, baggy clothes, no belts etc etc. All these are fashions that inmates had to adhere too for safety precautions in jail. I know this based on my mothers 15+ years as an educator for the Maryland Department of Corrections and the countless young black men I have known who have been incarcerated. Hip hop artists-several of who have been incarcerated and many who have not been incarcerated- incorporated this look into the music industry in order to sell records and to be as authentic to “street” culture as possible. When hip hop became a cultural phenomenon that crossed racial and socio economic boundaries, it became cool to look like a prisoner or thug. The funny thing is most prisoners if they had their way would be free and adhering to the rules and dress code of an employer if they were fortunate enough to find work. Now NBA players want to look like hip hop artists and in turn end up looking like pseudo prisoners and thugs. What makes this even more ridiculous is that since the late 80’s and early 90’s most correctional facilities have instituted stricter dress codes i.e. the orange jumpers etc., so are players next going to wear orange jump suits on the sidelines? Would you approve of that as a business owner?
    What many African American players in all professional sports forget is that they are influencing a generation of children, White and Black and Asian and Hispanic, who want to be like them and look like them. Unfortunately there are only about 620 spots in the NBA so you have millions of kids who will never make it to the college let alone the League. Will they will fail to be gainfully employed if they fail to make the transition from hip hop to mainstream because they want to look and act like their NBA heroes? When do owners and players start taking personal responsibility for their actions? I pray that players realize that had they not made it to the League they would be wearing a uniform to work. And based on SAT scores, grades and the horrid graduation rates among college basketball and football players, those uniforms probably would have UPS, DHL, or maybe McDonalds on them and they would have to wear those uniforms or they would be fired.
    Maybe along with this new dress code program David Stern needs to take each player to the sky suite section of their respective stadiums so they can see who really supports the NBA. I guarantee there won’t be many people wearing doo-rags, sunglasses indoors, or long chains with medallions, for them to look at. Besides if Sean “Diddy” Combs and Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter can wear fine tailored suits there is no excuse for a NBA player not to throw on a pair of slacks and a sport coat. Thanks for your time.

    Comment by Cheo Hurley -

  30. A new player to the league can’t afford to “buy custom tailored suits or sport coats for up to 2 grand a pop”???

    Understandable they are a different size to many of us, and I might conceed that they need to be “custom fitted” (although I don’t see that specified in the NBA dress code). But I don’t see the reason why they must wear designer clothes versus business casual attire that other business-men and women wear (that don’t cost $2k)?

    Again, I think that the $ impact argument is unrealistic. No doubt a professional athlete is a risky adventure and we generally only profile the 5% who make extraordinary incomes from the sport. But the league minimum more than compensates for a modest closet. If $’s are an issue after updating their clothing needs, then perhaps they only need two sets of clothes and the Mav’s can pick up the tab for the washing while they are on the road.

    Could the NBA ask for a better (yet trivial) interuption to the NFL and NHL season, just to remind us that the basketball season is coming soon!!

    Comment by brett -

  31. I don’t think the NBA’s dress code says that the players’ suits have to cost $2,000. For those who can afford expensive suits, fine. Let the lower-paid rookies go to Mens Wearhouse. I have a dress code at work and nobody pays me a clothing stipend.

    Comment by Wirthy -

  32. Mark,

    You make a terrific point about how the league is presented on TV and I think it all goes back to the decision made in the mid 80’s to market the NBA based on personalities instead of on teams.

    What we see now had it’s genesis back then and I think if you could go back to focusing on TEAM instead of Kobie, Shaq, KG etc, you would do a better job with the over-30 middle class.

    And you also need almost a total overhaul with announcers from the network level on down to the individual markets. However, one way teams can start the ball rolling is with their local TV color analysts.

    Insist that they don’t be lazy. Get them to got to practice, sit in on the film sessions, look at the scouting reports and see what exactly the coaches are trying to do…WHY they’re trying to do it (meaning you better know the strengths and weaknesses of all the players)…and then get on the air and explain it to the viewers. It’s not rocket science.

    Like anything else, all you need is someone willing to do a little work to earn his paycheck. Then you might begin to educate your fans a little more about what this game is all about. I’m not saying stop marketing the stars but there’s a balance out there that needs to be discovered and it hasn’t been found yet.

    If I hear the phrase “step up” one more time, I think I’m going to puke.

    Comment by Scotbo -

  33. Sports athletes have to personify toughness on the field/court. They have a ‘game face’ that unfortunately follows them around. How should an average fan who’s never met these players outside of the game know what they are really like? First impressions last, and I do see how the commissioner wants players to be seen, not as gangsta rappers (or thugs), but rather as businessmen. However how many businessman do you see what multiple tattoos covering their body, or shaved heads for that matter?

    Comment by monkeyinabox -

  34. Uh, I hate to ask a stupid question with regard to your first point, but if the NBA is going to require free agent rookies to be dressed in fancy attire on the sideline, shouldn’t the owners be picking up the tab, too? The players don’t pay for their own game uniforms currently, do they? I don’t really see any difference between a jersey you’re required to put on to get on the court and a suit you’re required to put on to get on the team plane.

    Time to pony up, Mr. Cuban, and get these guys some nice threads!

    Comment by Mr. Moody -

  35. Sorry — this is about one thing.

    Perception.

    And the “perception” of the NBA, the players who make it up, and it’s image are at a all time low.

    As an owner, you may not like it, but the FURTHER AWAY you allow your “image and employees (read players), to distance itself from YOUR CUSTOMERS…is a problem.”:

    Sorry Mark, as a NJ NET season ticket holder I have to tell you – your are 100% wrong on this issue.

    Maybe if you were not a owner you would see it differently. But your bias, and viewpoint, (just as mine) is clouded by our vantage points.

    Perception is the key. And the 2 issues that the NBA avoids are Perception and Perception.

    Andy

    Comment by Andy -

  36. For myself, I said they look like thugs, not that they are. I live with two guys (white) who look like thugs too. They aren’t thugs (I’m actually incredibly happy their living with me), but that is the ethos they give off. It is an “image” problem, not a personality problem, of that I am sure.

    I too wish the coverage was more focused on the game. I grew up playing basketball, played it in school, and still play once a week in an organized game. I can’t stand to watch the NBA, for much the same reason I can’t stand to listen to Tim McCarver broadcast baseball games (muting the TV and turning on the radio is standard operating procedure).

    Comment by JohnO -

  37. I still say that they are thugs. Take a look at how they look and act. We all know how it works. If I am drafted in the first round, then there is a huge chance I will hold out or raise a stink about my salary being too small. Once I pout and get things that I want, I will then go out and buy the biggest piece of “bling bling” I can, several houses, for me and my relatives.

    Look at the increase in tattoos, piercings and other displays over the years in baseketball. Can anyone picture Micheal Jordan or Magic with arms covered in tattoos? You argue they are proffessionals, but I hardly see anyone who looks, let alone, acts proffessional?

    Now I agree that 99% of the commentary in NBA games is pure drivel, the biggest abuser being the great communicator Bill Walton. I would much rather here about the plays they are running, I think it would help people learn basektball better.

    Watch a NASCAR race, they take time to explain what is happening with thier “cut-away” cars, showing what a spring rubber is, etc. I have learned a lot about racing as being a fan.

    Comment by Jonathan -

  38. In regards to how the game is called

    1. The game is fast. By the time an announcer would say something like, “I expect the Mavs to run a thumbs down or horns side in this situation. Detroit is probably expecting them to push the ball, so watch for the Pistons to use a send 4 to the Offensive boards and everyone else gets back when the ball goes up into a man to man, gold on the post, come on first dribble on an entry pass.” The play is over. In football there is time between each play to speculate … not so in the NBA. Where there *is* time, in many end game situations where the score is close for instance, you *do* see exactly this kind of play call analysis.

    2. The NBA has chosen to market its players as opposed to its team. This strategic direction of the league itself has translated into the media as well. The media will cover the most recognizable facets of a given sport. In the NBA that’s the players. In the NFL it’s the team.

    Comment by Todd S -

  39. The dress code issue is just stupid. Granted I think athletes should try to look professional whenever applicable. I don’t think two weeks before the season is the time to start changing the way things are. They’ve had from the middle of June to start implicating these policies.

    Comment by runescape money -

  40. For some reason, the NBA revenue picture is different; the NBA TV viewership and revenues are not growing at the same rate as the NFL – unless you count in revenues the NBA generates from distant overseas markets. And if those revenues are really sufficient to waive off suggestions of problems any and/or all measures of decline in popularity here in the US, then you surely would not mind taking the majority of your franchises overseas – right?

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    Comment by aboutd -

  42. This is definitely an overkill, every player should be able to express their own individuality, just like having a profile in webdatedotcom

    Comment by thynoe -

  43. The athletes rake in billions of dollars for these franchises. If I represented these athletes I’d advise them NOT to endorse, promote these NBA franchises for a year. No media events, no dinners, no mall openings, nothing, NADA, ZILTCH. Once the players unite they can SHUT the NBA down. The NBA needs them or there is no NBA (at least not worth watching). Let’s keep it real, white America is terrified (once again) knowing that their fair haired kids idolize strong dominate RICH black men. I’m old enough to remember when MTV banned rap music too. All in due time. What’s the difference between a baseball cap, golf visor, tennis headband and a doorag? We are nearing the end of 2006, and it seems racism, culturally biased discrimination and ignorance are still alive in well in the good ‘ol US of A’s. I say shut ’em down for a few months, and those NBA boardroom knuckleheads will be scrambling to pay players (superstars) even more money to wear whatever makes their talented hearts happy.

    Comment by tadalafil -

  44. I always took you for a “glass is half full” kinda guy. Sports is about marketing and todays demograpics show an aging population that probably has a harder time relating to the bulk of the NBA players. While I think it’s a bit much to tell a grown man what to wear, just maybe, Stern/league is trying appeal to the demograpic that has more money, makes more decisions(ad dollars), and is a little alienated from the NBA. NBA players are more associated with thugery because of the whole posse hip-hop thing. While it may not be reality it is perceived. I have no problem with these guys making as much as the market will bear. They’re entertainers, and as such could find their careers over before they planned. Where’s Wierd Al?

    Comment by grosse bite -

  45. “Let’s also be fair – the mandate is to dress in business casual, not wear $2,000 custom tailored suits.

    Last I checked, we’re business casual at work and I haven’t worn a suit in ages.

    And even a “cheap” suit would be sufficient.”

    Oh Yess

    Comment by comprar proscar -

  46. I think that it is downright impossible to logically argue with the points that Cheo Hurley makes in his reader comments

    Comment by partitions musique -

  47. i think the nba dress code is so stupid.. is the nba commisioner racsist?!?~!?! i mean come on, the black culture has “hip-hop” type clothing in it!!

    Comment by Luke Kryt -

  48. very good!!

    Comment by 11nong -

  49. Well the Lions have not been winning.
    Can the Pistons win 70 games this season? If so, should they try to win 70 games?

    I posted this here:
    http://sports.crimsonlight.com/2006/01/can-detroit-pistons-win-70-games/

    Comment by JLTX -

  50. Personally, I don’t like the fact America can say, “Freedom of expression!”, when there is no freedom about it at all. Why does hip hop clothing have to be thuggish and suits are classified as professional? I can say that wearing suits could be viewed as being mobbish/thuggish, right? Suits are what the mob wears, right? Sometimes, it seems like a lot of people get a big kick out of seeing those grown men change how they want to express their style of clothing. Trust me, it is not a big deal when a player want to wear a nice throwback and stylish jeans on the court. Take Enron and other big corporate companies for instance, when those big corporate people were going to jail and commiting suicide, there was no one saying, “These people need to change out of their business suits into casual wear so they won’t be perceived as thugs and bullies!” Clothing had nothing to do with it. Yes, you can compare the two. They are both professional and what many children and adults have looked up to. There are also billions of dollars put into both professions. Being “thuggish” is just that DUMB stereotype that will continue to follow black men as long as America will be called America. Just my opinion.

    Comment by bb -

  51. Let’s address this so called “article we have here.” First let’s look at the expense issue you proclaim is a large reason for not having the dress code. You say that 2000 dollars is a large investment for a player who will only be in the NBA for 1 to 2 years. What you must realize is that a suite does not need to cost 2000 dollars. I myself am a 4th year debater at liberty high school and have been through 2 suites both of which I paid for. The first was 100 dollars that lasted 2 years but I outgrew. The second cost 200, which is a reasonable price and a very nice looking new suite. So as you must realize by now a 2000 dollar suite for a major league player, who as you make sound is pressed for money does seem like a big step. But if they are so pressed for cash then I believe a 200 dollar substitute will be easily affordable, seeing as how they last up to 5 years. Now that we have the price issue of this problem nipped lets move onto the issue of what the players have to wear. No where does the resolution of their contract to the dress code every say they must wear a suite. They may wear dress pants-50 dollars, and a nice shirt such as a dress shirt or collared shirt with a tie. As I hope everyone can see that the petty attempt you tried to make the dress code sound harsh is nothing but a farce. You your self are the true idiot. A pity attempt on a simple issue of dress pants and a nice shirt into something larger than it is completely ridiculous. Please for the sake of everyone never write a piece for a website, paper or even to yourself until you are ready to view it from all aspects.
    Please feel free to email me if you have any comments.
    Speakuphobo@yahoo.com

    Comment by Justin -

  52. The NBA dress code in my personal opinion is compleately unfair to the players and I say that because they are not paid to dress the are payed on how well they perform on the basketball court. the rule not only is not fair to them it’s unfair to others who like seeing them in their favorite jerseys and things!
    Anthony Age:15

    Comment by Anthony Perez -

  53. I don’t give a crap what anyone says. Mark Cuban is sweet! My brother and i (25 and 18) hope to some day command an empire in the same fashion as he has done. The ONLY reason i watch the Mavs play is because I want to see what Mark will do. I wish he had a Jersey! I’d buy one today! You’re the man MARK CUBAN!!!

    Comment by Nic Cruz -

  54. Maybe I don’t know what’s in the dress code policy, but it I would assume it doesn’t say anything about what brand of suits and sports coats are required. Players wouldn’t be violating the dress code by wearing a suit or sport coat from The Mens Warehouse would they?

    Comment by Brad Back -

  55. One of the unfair aspects of the dress code is the requirement that that players dress in “business casual” attire on the way to and from the arena. I am a biker and a telecom professional. I wear my leathers while riding to and from work. I change in the bathroom into appropriate office attire and change again when going home. Regulating attire on the bench in camera view is one thing, as that is “while at work”. Regulating attire on personal time is overreaching. Stop showeing them in the hallway on the way to the locker room. Show them on the court and on the bench only. This is about control and trying to sell a ticket to a predominantly white upper class consumer base that is afraid of and feels a desperate need to control the young, strong black men in our society that they view as “out of control” and that they fear. David Stern needs to step off, his is focusing on the wrong things. I see no efforet to curtail Steve Nash and his spiked hair or Scott Pollard and his piercings. No concern about the punk look, hmmmm………

    Comment by Geoff Johnosn -

  56. I do not make nearly as much as these pro’s who, quite frankly, do not pay for much of what they do while on a pro team. Well, I have a dress code at where i work and is it considered racist because i am white and have to conform to dress code rules in order to work here. I remember maxing out my credit cards in order to have suits and ties to wear to work, and i dont even make nba leauge min.
    BooHOOO

    Comment by dress this -

  57. Quote: “Watching the ESPN crew with Stephen A, Greg Anthony and Tim Legler is painful. They are a cliche a second. Same soundbites every single game, just the player names are changed.”

    The NBA dresscode debate will die down sooner or later, but this quote….PRICELESS.

    BTW, have they cancelled Quite Frankly yet?
    Now that is painful to watch.

    Comment by Aaron -

  58. From now on all N.B.A. team owners must wear nothing but speedos. Now if the “players” were MANDATED to wear ice on their ears, and the capitalized alphabet around their necks they would complaine about it. This isnt about the clothes people wear its about being TOLD what to do. Im young,rich and elite and NOBODY is gonna tell ME how to dress even tho Im representing their company.I heard the argument that school children have to comply to dress codes.The counter argument was that those are school children, N.B.A. EMPLOYES are grown men.I beg to differ.Grown men dont complaine about having to dress to standards now and then. One would think that the players would want a distinction between “street ball” and the league they play in.

    Comment by EJones -

  59. One quick thought on the state of NBA commentary: Why can’t we have audio options for the games? Run one channel on the NBA season ticket where the audio has no play-by-play man. What about an internet simulcast that is in sync with the TV broadcast? The players wear numbers and any other pertinent info is already captured in graphics. Give me a scout and an assistant coach and let’s hear them discuss the game. One does strategy, the other discusses individual players. Sure, it’s a niche market, but it appeals to your hardest-core demographic, right? This should happen!

    Comment by Cjwarsing -

  60. Right on the money, Mark. Everything is more interesting when we dig deeper into the workings. I would love to know what plays are being run during a game.

    Comment by tlanier -

  61. It’s good to see that someone has finally addressed this after about ten years. Now I am hoping that the NBA is leading the way and it will be addressed in schools, night clubs and on other television genres. I have personally criticized this for years and though I don’t have any problem with allowing people to chose their apparel, when it comes to public appearance I have always felt that we had a greater responsibility to present ourselves in a respectable and, where it applies, a professional fashion.
    Considering what the NBA is and the salaries that the players earn it is not too much to expect that the people represent the professional organization they belong to rather than copy the criminal element of street thugs, drugs dealers, uneducated bums and what ever else that have become teen pop culture icons. There is not enough of this kind of demand in the business world, on school campus’s and in general public where it is relevant to respect people other than yourself. I have to applaud the NBA, and the should be rewarded for taking lead.

    Comment by David -

  62. #1: All athletes are thugs. It’s tautological. All the people in rap are thugs too, as are most of the guests on the H Stern show. The H Stern persona known through the radio show is also a thug. It’s not really a matter of nuance – they’re easy to spot. The archtype is clearly becoming more and more acceptable, to the detriment of our culture.

    #2: There was always a dress code, it’s just different now. It applies to everyone, so clearly isn’t racist. It also improves the image of the sport, so how could anybody think it’s racist? I like the new dress code.

    Comment by BrilloPad -

  63. Let’s also be fair – the mandate is to dress in business casual, not wear $2,000 custom tailored suits.

    Last I checked, we’re business casual at work and I haven’t worn a suit in ages.

    And even a “cheap” suit would be sufficient.

    Comment by Tim Marman -

  64. Gifted, talented athletes are scouted, recruited and paid to WIN. End of story. Nobody sitting in these corporate boardrooms are doing these athletes any F-N favors. The athletes rake in billions of dollars for these franchises. If I represented these athletes I’d advise them NOT to endorse, promote these NBA franchises for a year. No media events, no dinners, no mall openings, nothing, NADA, ZILTCH. Once the players unite they can SHUT the NBA down. The NBA needs them or there is no NBA (at least not worth watching). Let’s keep it real, white America is terrified (once again) knowing that their fair haired kids idolize strong dominate RICH black men. I’m old enough to remember when MTV banned rap music too. All in due time. What’s the difference between a baseball cap, golf visor, tennis headband and a doorag? We are nearing the end of 2006, and it seems racism, culturally biased discrimination and ignorance are still alive in well in the good ‘ol US of A’s. I say shut ’em down for a few months, and those NBA boardroom knuckleheads will be scrambling to pay players (superstars) even more money to wear whatever makes their talented hearts happy.

    Comment by Foi -

  65. Mark,

    Could digital broadcasting of the game open up an opportunity for multicasting the games? I’m not a big fan of multicasting eating up bandwidth, but if you think about it, why not have a few different versions of the play by play? You could have the traditional flavor, the “And-1” streetball flavor, or the highly “technical” flavor you describe in this post.

    Instead of multi-casting, could you offer, thru the Mav’s site, a digital stream of play-by-play with technical analysis in real time, so that I could sync with the video of the game in my home?

    Do you think there is a market for this? I’ve been playing and/or coaching basketball for 26 of my 31 years, and I’m in the market for just what you described. I’m not sure (yet) that I’d pay a premium for it, but you bet your ass that I would deal with some advertising (highly targeted ad’s) to get this much more technical analysis.

    Also, I just got HDNET – very sweet. Will I get Mav’s games on HDNET?

    Comment by Joe S -

  66. You say that many of the league’s younger players, or those making the minimum, can’t afford to buy sutis or sports coats for “2 grand a pop,”. I agree, but I don’t think anyone is making them by $2,000 suits. I agree that these youngers guys may not make as much as people think, but it is an insult to our intelligence to suggest that even the lowest paid players in the NBA can’t afford business casual attire.

    Comment by Mark Mashaw -

  67. There are plays in the NBA? Seriously, this is why I don’t watch: I cannot discern any organization to the game.

    As a cacual viewer, the games look like this to me: dribble, dribble, travel, dunk. dribble, dribble, travel, missed jump shot. dribble, pass, travel, 3 second violation, layup. Repeat. Then, in the last hour of the game (you know, the last 5 minutes on the clock) there are 40 free throws.

    I know, you’ll think I’m just stupid. I get the other sports (even a bunch that are not shown on US TV often), but basketball is a mystery to me. Since Jordan retired the last time, I just haven’t found a reason to watch.

    Comment by Byron -

  68. What’s ironic is that in the NFL, coaches can’t wear suits on the sidelines even if they wanted to!! They must wear Reebok(tm) athletic wear, the ‘official’ sideline clothing line of the NFL.

    Sounds like Reebok or Nike should get into the suit business – soon you’ll see little Nike “swooshes” on everyone’s lapels…

    Comment by Bob -

  69. I don’t think the clothes has anything to do with the game. When the guys are sitting during the game and can’t play for whatever reason, they should atleast be able to be comfortable. Whether it be hoodies, a hat, or the long t’s, they do buy thier own clothes. I think they should be able to wear them whenever they want. If thier not influencing young adults or children, someone else will anyway. Also, if these guys were to stop dressing like this, these young people aren’t going to stop. If there is something they like, they are going to get it. My opinion is, if you want to talk about bad influences look at 50 cents, or let’s try to focus on the cheerleaders with everything but thier nipples showing. What does that say to little girls and young “ladies” coming up with parents trying to instill good “lady-like” values in these girls. These professionals may be the only role-models some children may have, and as long as they are not shaking thier almost bare behinds or giving every family that comes to watch a game a clue of what thier breasts look, or is shaped like, or guess whether they are real or fake when there are supposed to be paying attention to the game, I don’t see anything wrong with them dressing the way they want. Besides, they have to wear uniforms when they’re playing, they shouldn’t have to wear uniforms when they’re not.

    Comment by vonne -

  70. d’oh, I meant to put the Todd Bertuzzi parentheses after “perpetrators,” and not “injured players.”

    Comment by csr -

  71. Anyone who thinks race is not an issue in this dress code nonsense is oblivious, naive or ignorant. A black male wearing baggy clothes, a chain and braids is labeled a “thug.” When NASCAR drivers punch each other after a crash, they’re not called “thugs,” and no one says they’re ruining the sport. No one said that John Daly is ruining golf when he was having all his alcohol problems, nor says he’s unprofessional when he walks around smoking cigarettes on the golf courses. There have been numerous hockey players injured by cheap shots (such as Todd Bertuzzi), and the perpetrators are never labeled thugs. Hmmm…what seems to be the common denominator here??

    Not that I blame Stern for capitulating…white folks buy most of the tickets, luxury boxes and advertising. They tell him to get the black kids in line, of course he’ll say yes. He knows where his bread is buttered. He is not a stupid man.

    As for corporate America…very poor choice for a counter-example. Enron? WorldCom? Arthur Andersen? KMart? Adelphia? My God, I could go on for days about corporate frauds that cost every single one of billions in tax money. Company going bankrupt? No worries, the PBGC (aka you and me) will pick up the tab. And a Goldman Sachs Ibanker might not be throwing a chair at a client (which none of the players did in the brawl, btw), but I’d bet a fair number of them are bilking clients out of money by frontrunning trades, sharing insider info, or good ol’ fashioned overcharging for services. At least they’re dressed nice while they’re fleecing me!

    Criticizing the overall quality of play is legit; it definitely has suffered. Criticizing illegal behavior is also legit; there should be punishments built into contracts if someone is found guilty of a crime. Criticizing how someone dresses and then basing your opinion of that person based on how they dress is absurd, and those feelings are usually based on jealousy. A jealous person will almost always use the money argument to try and back their point (i.e. “player X makes $Y million/year, they should be doing/dressing…”).

    Finally, stop comparing what you do to a professional athlete. It’s an apples and oranges comparison and just as bad as if a player tried to compare themself to a team owner.

    Comment by csr -

  72. Rightly or wrongly, there’s a perception that the NBA is tilted towards thuggery, rather than the class of the Magic, Bird, Jordan era. The facts may not support it. But it’s still there. It’s not racial, it has to do with performance. Ratings are down, games are sloppier, the NBA got embarrassed in the Olympics, there’s a perception of a “me attitude”. How many role models are there right now for young kids vs the number of role models in the Magic-Bird-Jordan era?

    You said you could take the workplace of any major corporation and the workers under 35 would have more problems as a whole than NBA players. That’s probably true. But those workers aren’t as a visible as NBA players.

    There’s only 600 players in the league, and one percent of those got suspensions in the huge Pistons-Pacers brawl last year. There’s no billion dollar corporation in America with that kind of problem. Goldman Sachs investment bankers aren’t throwing chairs at their clients.

    The dress code was long overdo. I can’t think of another company in America that would let their employees represent their company in an unprofessional way.

    Comment by John -

  73. Mark,

    A quick comment that’s hopefully not beating a dead horse. Ever watch Sky Sports News from England? All the soccer teams are required to dress in suits when they travel. Period. The David Beckhams, the Ronaldos, the Luis Figos all wear suits on the road, which is potentially as much as a travelling NBA team. Many times they are (the team) all wearing the same thing: a suit with a white shirt and a tie styled in team colors. It looks professional and leaves the bizarre stylings of some of the players to time outside of the sport.

    The NBA is not the first professional sport to ask their athletes to look professional when representing the sport’s organization. Perhaps, at the least, it will send a better message to the youth, that tip-top appearance is sometimes a necessity even when you make millions playing basketball.

    Comment by Greg Norz -

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    Comment by mel -

  75. I personaly think that this is rediculous. I can see that the managers and NBA staff want the NBA to be a good influence on younger kids and adults but does that mean because of there clothes all people that dress like that are a “gangsta”. No i think that this is a little racist and i also think that it is a stereo type. That is the way that ball players dress. Thats how the people that play ball on the streets dress. Its just the way it is and if I was getting payed Millions of dollars i wouldnt want to be told how to dress because the players are the one thing that keeps the fans comming and and the money rolling!! So without the players there is no sport and without the sport there is no game and NO ONE will get paid. I just think the whole thing is a little radical and will be changed soon. If anyone wants to get back at me on this write me an email at nolimitt23@hotmail.com!

    Comment by Chase AKA Lego -

  76. please please find a way to fix the terrible announcing!!! you hit it right on with that. Im SO SICK of the cliches and repetitive banter and lack of depth of discussion.

    Comment by Brian -

  77. Mark,

    I respect your opinions and enjoy the blog and communication, but I think you’re a little off base here.
    I do agree with the you that the media does enjoy focusing on the “image” of NBA players. However, these players are doing nothing in this outlet to curtail this image. Rather they are personifying it. It’s not that the media exploiting the players and painting bad images of them is the problem, the players themselves want that image.
    In regards to your point about more “play by play” or strategy from commentators during the game. I don’t think it will ever be able to be compared to the NFL. I enjoy watching NBA games as much as the next guy. But the #1 play in the NBA for some teams is: Clear out, let(insert almost any star name here) work on his defender and get a good look. Maybe through strategy a big guy comes out top and sets a pick. The only set play that JohnQ public knows being ran in the NBA is the Pick and Roll.
    The sad point is the NBA has decided to market its players and not their teams. And now they have public image problems with their main advertising vehicle.
    Thanks Mark, keep up the good work.

    Comment by Steve -

  78. I am a 19-year-old White male and I dress like the very people Comrad Stern is interested in “targeting.” Thanks for speaking up for our generation, Mark dawg. Long time Mav fan and always will be.

    Btw, that link Ben posted has some interesting points.

    But it quotes–get this–Rockets fans! And it even calls them the most informed fans in the world. OMG, it their IQ was on display that last time we played them, they certainly didn’t show it. Bawahahahahahahaha.

    Comment by Fanty Dingo -

  79. Mark,

    I thoroughly enjoy your blog as both an investor and an avid NBA fan. While I think you make some valid points in oppositive to the Dress Code, I found one particular point difficult to digest.

    The notion that young players playing for the league minimum and only having two or three years of NBA level income are somehow disadvantaged by the financial requirements of the new dress code is laughable.

    Three points of consideration:

    1) The dress code calls for “business casual”…ergo, they don’t have to run out and buy a closetful of $2,000 suits as you postulate. A few pair of nice slacks and some moderately priced dress shirts and ties would be fine.

    2) That income level is MORE than sufficient to support the purchase of a business ensemble. When I graduated college making $30,000 as an entry level trainee at an investment bank, they didn’t sympathize with me, I still had to build a wardrobe and wear suits six days a week. I managed, as do hundreds of thousands of young professionals each year.

    3) You’re a hands on owner, moreso than many of your peers. You HAVE to know that, in reality, even the young players you cite concern for are spending a LOT of money on their attire. Do you think those Phat Farm and Sean John sweat suits are cheap? Are those S.Carter shoes (the limited editions) a bargain? Does the bling from Jacob come at a discount?

    If you want to cite reasons for why the Code is unnecessary or unfair, so be it. But financial considerations need not be one of them.

    Comment by Jason Wood -

  80. A basketball player’s job is on the hardwood not in a boardroom. I never understood why a coach, let alone a player, had to wear a suit while located on the sideline. Suits and sweat don’t mix unless you’re Nelly. For an example of this, watch Gary Williams coach the Maryland Terrapins. Bad enough Sternbot wants to mandate a dress code for game days and team events, but why is a dress code necessary for traveling to and from games. I understand that the NBA is a business, but so is Wal-Mart.

    Commentators definitely need to upgrade their skills. I’m tired of hearing them critique a player’s every decisions, like every shot supposed to go in and the world is doom if every play not perfect. Fellas just stick to the basic play-by-play and stop trying to make a name for yourself.

    Comment by Nicole -

  81. You make an interesting point about the hypocrisy of the NFL not accepting an advertisement about a movie that involves sports gambling. Gambling and fantasy sports are clearly part of the reason for the more analytical approach to football coverage. I mean, they’re picking *against the spread* on Sunday morning ESPN!! Bill Simmons relays his gambling picks every weekend. ‘Fantasy Football Preview’ is an actual television show. If basketball had more of a gambling and fantasy culture, would the television coverage be better? At least more analytical?

    One last point: if a *major* portion of your income came from endorsements that related to your ‘image,’ would you not have a right to be phenomenally upset about Stern, et al making it difficult for you to display that ‘image’ you have cultivated?

    Comment by Sam O -

  82. I don’t mind how they dress at a game.
    It doesn’t matter to me what they wear at a post-game news conference.
    The NBA pre-game ritual of showing “Shaquille O’Neal has arrived at the Staples Center….!” is a bit silly. We never see a football team rollin’ up the the stadium in the team bus. I have no idea what a basebal player wears before the game – and it’s stupid if anyone DOES care.

    I am white, 27 years old.
    I don’t care AT ALL what any of those guys wears before or after the game. If some guy is injured and he’s sitting on the team bench, I don’t care one bit whether he’s wearing a suit or a Spongebob t-shirt… though, that would be a little strange.

    I think the dress code edict is an un-necessary distraction from the league’s other issues – they could even be called “issues related to the game of basketball”. The quality of play is much lower than it used to be. Trust me, I’ve watched the league long enough to see the quality slip. Oh yes.

    I hate when a “person or group in power” distracts from the real issues and brings up something useless – aka congress investigating baseball and steroids when we have a war going on, 2000 of our men and women have died, and whoops – there weren’t any WMD’s at all.

    why am I even wasting more words on this issue.
    the dress code doesn’t matter.

    Comment by Tom Ford -

  83. First off:

    “If you look at NBA players. White, black, brown, yellow, whatever color or nationality, regardless of how they dress, and think thug. You are an idiot.”

    Whether or not you’re right or wrong doesn’t change the fact that you’re wrong. See, the consumer has already decided that the hip hop look is “thuggish” and they don’t like it. They want a more professional, respectable appearance. And, frankly, showing up to your business in business attire is a good thing.

    Oh, and save the “these guys are rookies who need tailored suits” stuff. There are a LOT of people out there who never even get that first NBA paycheck who are 6-8 and have to fork out the cash for clothes to work in. A lot more people than those who “only” get one or two years worth of NBA pay.

    I do agree on the basketball analysis part, though. Obviously, the game is paced too quickly to do that at every play, but coming out of time outs, at half time, during the pregame, and during free throws is the perfect opportunity to discuss sets in depth.

    Comment by Brian F. -

  84. First off:

    “If you look at NBA players. White, black, brown, yellow, whatever color or nationality, regardless of how they dress, and think thug. You are an idiot.”

    Whether or not you’re right or wrong doesn’t change the fact that you’re wrong. See, the consumer has already decided that the hip hop look is “thuggish” and they don’t like it. They want a more professional, respectable appearance. And, frankly, showing up to your business in business attire is a good thing.

    Oh, and save the “these guys are rookies who need tailored suits” stuff. There are a LOT of people out there who never even get that first NBA paycheck who are 6-8 and have to fork out the cash for clothes to work in. A lot more people than those who “only” get one or two years worth of NBA pay.

    I do agree on the basketball analysis part, though. Obviously, the game is paced too quickly to do that at every play, but coming out of time outs, at half time, during the pregame, and during free throws is the perfect opportunity to discuss sets in depth.

    Comment by Brian F. -

  85. First off:

    “If you look at NBA players. White, black, brown, yellow, whatever color or nationality, regardless of how they dress, and think thug. You are an idiot.”

    Whether or not you’re right or wrong doesn’t change the fact that you’re wrong. See, the consumer has already decided that the hip hop look is “thuggish” and they don’t like it. They want a more professional, respectable appearance. And, frankly, showing up to your business in business attire is a good thing.

    Oh, and save the “these guys are rookies who need tailored suits” stuff. There are a LOT of people out there who never even get that first NBA paycheck who are 6-8 and have to fork out the cash for clothes to work in. A lot more people than those who “only” get one or two years worth of NBA pay.

    I do agree on the basketball analysis part, though. Obviously, the game is paced too quickly to do that at every play, but coming out of time outs, at half time, during the pregame, and during free throws is the perfect opportunity to discuss sets in depth.

    Comment by Brian F. -

  86. Mark,

    As a hardcore fan, I definitely would appreciate a more technical and knowledgeable coverage of the NBA. Having said that, the personality-based coverage has its benefits.

    I could not, for the life of me, get my girlfriend into football. She’s just not into the dense terminology and the complicated rules. She responds to the personal stories, the faces, the drama.

    That’s why the NBA (especially the Mavs, of course) is so attractive to her. Basketball is one sport we could watch together because she watches it like a sope opera (which, by the way, this whole dress code thing is contributing to).

    However, I do agree with your general points, especially what you said about people looking at their own “twenties” and probably not liking what they see. I don’t always agree with your points, but I admire your chutzpah.

    Having said that, are you going to put your money where your mouth is? Given your past record, I’m guessing you are. A Canadian sports betting company has vouched to pay for the fines of all players:

    http://www.killeraces.com/articles/sports/bodog_sports_pays_allen_iversons_dress_code_fines.php

    I’m guessing the Commish won’t like this. A gambling company paying money to players? Not right. But what if owners paid the fines?

    Comment by Ben E. -

Comments are closed.