NBA Will Be Sporting New Threads

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Orlando Magic forward Grant Hill thinks NBA Commissioner David Stern went too far with the minimum dress code the league plans to enforce beginning Nov. 1. Is it because he has to wear shirts with collars instead of throwback jerseys? Nah, that's cool. Is it having to wear dress slacks or khakis instead of sweat pants? Nah, that's okay, too. The problem is that Hill has no idea how to accessorize now.

"I got to get rid of my 'do-rags now," Hill said yesterday, shaking his head. "I had an assortment of 'em, different colors to match my outfits."

Hill was speaking in jest. But the league is no longer kidding around with players who have extended the limits of casual dress in recent years. In a memo sent to NBA teams Monday, the league outlawed T-shirts, jerseys, headgear (hats and 'do-rags) and non-"presentable shoes," such as sneakers, sandals and flip-flops whenever they are involved in team or league activities.

Players will have to adhere to "business casual" attire -- collared shirts or sweaters, dress slacks, khakis or dress jeans and dress shoes or dress boots -- when they are arriving at games, leaving games, attending games, when not in uniform, conducting media interviews and making promotional or other appearances. They are also not allowed to wear chains, pendants or medallions over their clothes, sunglasses while indoors or headphones except when they are on the bus, in the plane or in the locker room. "I thought it was funny they can't wear any of the jewelry and stuff like that. That's stricter than the dress code in a lot of office buildings," Miami Heat Coach Stan Van Gundy said.

Stern is expected to announce penalties for not adhering to the dress code, but it is likely to included fines for violators -- and possibly, suspensions for repeat offenders. And, seriously, Hill has no problem with it. "Personally, I like it. I like to dress up," he said. "I kind of came in [the league] when it was . . . sort of an unwritten code or law or whatever, that you look nice. It even got to the extreme, with guys [who] would go all out with the designer clothes and so forth. It was a little weird, the NBA turned into a fashion show. But I think it's good."

-- Michael Lee

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