Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Q - What do you call an NBA player in a suit?

A - Defendant

All right, that was a cheap shot, I know. However, there are rumors running around that the Commissioner of the NBA, David Stern, is considering implenting a dress code on the players. He believes that it will help improve the image of the NBA by having the players wear sports coats, collared shirts, and trousers (technically, men's pants are trousers, women's pants are slacks) to and from the stadium. I picked this up from Mitch Albom's column in the Detroit Free Press. The NBA players are upset about this, of course. Rip Hamilton of the Detroit Pistons said "You dress the way you want to dress." Allen Iverson was quoted in the Philadelphia Daily News: "Just because you wear a suit and tie, it doesn't mean you're a good guy. It sends a bad message to kids. If you don't have a suit on when you go to school, is the teacher going to think you're a bad kid?" Allen Iverson talks about sending bad messages to kids. Allen Iverson, who released an obsenity-filled rap album some years back, is now worried about the message wearing a suit sends to kids.

I tend to agree with Mitch Albom on his take on this: "A dress code may do several things. Sending a bad message to kids is not one of them. I've never heard of akid going astray and years later, in a prison cell, moaning, "If only my sports heroes hadn't worn those ties."

When I was in Jr. High and High School, way back in the old days, there was talk here and there of implementing a dress code at the school. Not surprisingly, the students were all up in arms about the idea. "They're taking away our individuality. What about freedom of expression? We know how to dress." Of course, we missed the larger point, that a dress code is not always a bad thing. If everyone wears the same types of outfit to school, then fashion doesn't interfere with education - and there are already too many things that interfere with education. Taking away one distraction is a good thing. I also remember, when I was in Kindergarten and first through third grades, everyone wearing school clothes (nice clothes) and after school clothes (the grubbies). That sounds a bit like a uniform, albeit without the same mandate...

Things are a little different in the NBA. First, these are grown men. They don't want to be ordered around by some guy who tells them what to wear. Second, they're grown men. They don't need to work in the NBA if they don't agree with the policies. They are free to quit their jobs once their contract expires and test the free market. Oh, that won't happen though. You see, nobody in the NBA has the skills necessary to perform anything that doesn't involve sweating, dribbling, and dunking. That's a sweeping generalization, I know. They won't be able to ply their trade in other fashions. There's not really a better game in town than the NBA. They could play for the CBA, or the European League, or whatever, but they would not get paid the 3 million dollar average salary that they get in the NBA. So, rather than accept the rules doled out by their boss for the copious gobs of money they receive, they will bitch and moan about it. Because even though they've reached the age of majority, they really aren't grown men. After all, they play a game for a living.

Now, that doesn't mean that a dress code is a good idea for the NBA. Consider your target audience. They buy the jerseys and clothes of their favorite players, and emulate the players' styles. If you switch from Nike/Adidas/And1 to Armani/Jones New York/Ralph Lauren, you lose all the revenue dollars they bring in. Next, you have the corporations (see Nike, et al. infra) who pay millions to billions of dollars in advertising and marketing on these players. Are they really going to be happy if the 90 million dollars they gave LeBron is wasted because he's not allowed to wear his Nike Sneakers off the court? You lose your marketing base, and then you are stuck with a large hole of revenue that needs to be found somewhere else.

Now that you've read all that above, and see a couple of the pros and cons (not the players' names, silly, the good and bad arguments), bear in mind that these are just rumours, there is nothing on paper anywhere. Still, what do you think? Should basketball players be subject to a dress code?

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Personally, i think it's a crock! Pro footballers here always dress in suits etc before and after the game, as do our pro cricket players. Both codes of sport are always embroilled in criminal activity. Last year and this year some guys were up on rape charges. It doesn't matter what you wear, clothes do not make the criminal.
Just look at white collar crime!