NBA Bans 'Hip-Hop Dress', Players, Coaches React

With the blessing

of the NBA Players Association, the NBA has set forth a "minimum" dress

code that will be implemented starting with the 2005-2006 season.

Players will also now be required to wear a sport coat on the

bench when they are not in uniform.

In addition, players will no longer be able to wear sleeveless

shirts, shorts, T-shirts, chains, pendants, or medallions worn over the player's


Sunglasses while indoors, and headphones (other than on the

team bus or plane, or in the team locker room) have also been banned.

The dress code is a decisive shift away from the hip-hop culture

that has become a fabric of the NBA during the past years.

While some players wear suits or sport coats to all team functions,

a growing number often dress in casual sportswear.

NBA Commissioner David Stern said he was certain that the new

dress code would be complied with.

The new dress code has sparked a fierce debate, with many players

and coaches weighing in on the subject.


think it should have been done behind closed doors and not made so public,"

Indiana Pacers' Ron Artest told "Our business should not

be for the world to know about."

"The players have been dressing in prison garb the last

five or six years,” Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson told the San Gabriel

Valley Tribune earlier this week. “All the stuff that goes on, it's like

gangster, thuggery stuff. It's time.”

Pacers swingman Stephen Jackson told the Indianapolis Star the dress code was

implemented out of racial bias.

“Almost 100 percent of the guys in the league who are

young and black wear big chains. So I definitely don't agree with that at all,"

Jackson said referring to the ban on excessive jewelry.

To protest the leagues ban on chains worn over clothing, Jackson

wore every long, diamond-studded chain in his collection Tuesday night.

Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce agreed with Jackson’s

assessment, but said the he would stick to the new dress code.

"When I saw the part about chains, hip hop and throwback

jerseys, I think that's part of our culture," Pierce told the Associated

Press. “I love my job. I love playing basketball more than I love getting

fined and getting suspended."

Despite strong opposition, players will be expected to wear business casual

attire whenever they participate in team or league activities, including arriving

at games, leaving games, conducting interviews and making promotional or other


The dress code

however makes no provisions or requirements for hair, tattoos, earrings or piercing.