So, Does the NBA Still Have a Dress Code?

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Tue, Jun 16 - 12:47 am EDT | 3 years ago by
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When NBA players dressed too “hip hop” in the Allen Iverson era circa 2005, then league commissioner David Stern ordered players to comply with a strict dress code in order to improve the NBA’s image, which had been damaged by numerous incidents including the Malice in the Palace. According to the rule book: “Players are required to wear Business Casual attire whenever they are engaged in team or league business.” This dress code specifically outlaws t-shirts, headgear of any kind, chains, shorts and more.

For a while, the policy was strictly enforced. But like most NBA points of emphasis (see the sporadic focus on traveling violations, for example), it looks like enforcement of the rule has eroded over time.

LeBron James  - 2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

After Game 5 of the NBA Finals, LeBron showed up in a shiny high school jacket with a white undershirt and a leather Cavaliers hat. Tristan Thompson wore a Savannah hat with a blue t-shirt.

Similarly, James Harden showed up to a playoff game in skinny jeans and a long shirt that looked like a dress. The Cavs players and Harden failed to live up to the Business Casual look David Stern demanded a decade ago, however it doesn’t appear as if anything is being done about it.

Does the NBA not care anymore?

Did the business attire rule retire along with David Stern?

Is the NBA embracing the current fashion culture?

The NBA rarely announces when its policies are no longer enforced so there probably won’t be an official retraction but it looks like players will have freedom again to dress as they wish.

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