Thursday, April 06, 2006

The poor guys just can’t win.

Last summer, the NBA’s dresstapo came down with a ruling saying that all players would be required to wear suits to the arena on gameday. It seems commissioner David Stern got tired of watching ESPN and TNT’s favorite 5 second five pre-game clip of the team’s star player walking through the tunnels of the arena to the lockerroom, and seeing those players dressed in less than business casual attire. There were players in t-shirts and jeans, players wearing throwback jerseys of basketball legends, and in hilarious instance that will now have to only live on in legend, Rasheed Wallace wearing his own jersey to the game. It was all just a little too thuggish for Stern’s liking, so he made the rule.

It wasn’t a popular decision. There was a lot of grumbling from the players, and a lot of disappointment for the makers of Sean John clothing. The league decided to appeal to the players’ competitiveness by deciding to out a “Best Dressed” award on their website every week this season. In the end, the players gave in and the suits are here to stay.

They even decided to one-up the commish. Not only did they stop wearing their gangsta-wear to the arena, they took things an extra step further by wearing the absolutely least gangsta thing you could possibly wear: tights.

If you’ve happened to watch an NBA game this year, you may have noticed star players like Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, and Allen Iverson all enjoying the comfort and breathability of spandex.

The players say the tights provide support and compression which helps their muscles work more efficiently, especially when they are injured, and it helps keep their muscles loose and warm during the game. There’s also the Robert Traylor-model, featuring a tummy-tucking control top.

Sure the players may have looked like they were a pair of white ice skates away from being figure skaters, but when you’re Dwyane Wade and you have a posse of 20 people waiting for the opportunity to earn their pay by beating down anyone who tries to point that out, you don’t really care.

But apparently that wasn’t the look that David Stern was going for either. The NBA reportedly wanted to ban the tights after the All-Star break, but decided to wait until the end of the season to avoid another controversy like the pre-game suit scandal.

So enjoy seeing your favorite NBA star in spandex while you can, since it looks like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I have a hard time imagining Allen Iverson starting a “Fight for Right to Wear Tights” campaign, though a catchy rhyme like that would be perfect for his next rap album.

The bigger question is where do the NBA players go from here? They tried going gangsta and that didn’t work. They tried going girlie and that didn’t work. I can’t imagine what we’ll be seeing our favorite NBAers wearing next season, but I can guarantee it will be weird, and I can guarantee that David Stern won’t like it.


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