of course the nba dress code is racist

April 2, 2006 at 3:17 pm | Posted in basketball, brian | 5 Comments

it’s hard to talk with people about sports when you think espn is bullshit.

i went to this new year’s eve party where i knew less than 20% of the people present. since i get anxiety in social situations like these, i usually try too hard to impress people by being funny. unfortunately, i’m not that funny. since it was new year’s eve, my brother and i repeatedly made jokes about calling the new year 2k6–in conversations, when dating checks, and so on. this spurred an argument about whether to use 2k6 or, as the espn videogamers do, 2k06. i argued that 2k6 should be the standard: if k means 1000, adding 06 rather than 6 seems redundant. plus, i added, you shouldn’t cite espn as an authority on anything since espn is ruining sports. to my surprise, nearly everyone involved in the conversation thought espn was not only the best sports-themed television network (emphasis on themed), but possibly the best thing on television. please. c-span is the best thing on television followed distantly by mythbusters and iron chef (japan). espn is worse that mtv; it’s worse than foxnews (however, their politics are eerily similar).

i thought espn’s problems–further merging sports and advertising, consistently undermining player’s unions, promoting superstar mentality and idiolization at the expense of the concept of team and a bias towards large sports markets–were obvious. the people at the party wanted proof.

me: here’s how you know espn is bullshit: not a single commentator acknowledged that the nba dress code is racist.

everyone else at the party: it’s not racist or you’re/that’s stupid.

i’m used to people critizing my intelligence, and usually with good cause; however, in this instance, i didn’t feel that my inability to process rational thought hindered my point. so i proceeded to make my case.

the nba is becoming less and less a basketball game and more and more an extended commercial. what the nba deems successful isn’t athletics and competition but marketability. athletics and competition are being narrowly redefined in terms of marketability. the nba succeeds not if it provides the best basketball on the planet, but if it continues to gain investors and advertisers. if the nba is primarily a product, image is everything.

with the continued popularity decline of the nba (which means, more importantly, a decrease in marketability) david stern realizes something must be done. stern looks over the nba product and places the blame squarely on the hip-hopification of the league. many people, especially those people responsible for investing in the nba, associate hip-hop styled dress with thugs and crime even though no such link exists. stern realizes that if he wants to increase the marketability of the nba he needs to tone down the hip-hop image. (it’s much simpler and more profitable than changing cultural attitudes about race.)

so now there’s an nba dress code.

looking closely (or at all) at the dress code reveals that it targets a specific look. i mean, if you just had people wearing t-shirts and jeans (like greg ostertag), you wouldn’t have a dress code. the hip-hop look many nba players employed, generally characterized, consisted of a doo-rag with a crooked baseball cap, a large chain, a throwback jersey, baggy jeans and timberlands; the dress code bans headgear (doo-rags/baseball caps), necklaces (chains), non-collared shirts (throwback jerseys), jeans (baggy jeans) and workboots (timberlands). how is this not racially motivated?

i guess if you’re going to have young black men making millions of dollars, they better look like they’re making millions of dollars. (in other words, they better dress like white millionaires.)

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5 Comments »

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  1. Welcome to the society of the spectacle. If you haven’t read Guy Debord’s novel then I think you need to, or at least “revisiting the society of the spectacle”, which is about 150 pages shorter and does the same thing.–>

  2. […] going to encourage refs to call more technical fouls.  This, along with other rules like the  possibly-racist dress code, is part of an attempt to clean up the league’s perceived ‘thug image.’  They […]

  3. I think the dress code is decades overdue. And hot. And not even strict enough. And I LOVE black people. I went through a phase wear I only even dated black girls. Most of them hip-hopped they asses off too.

    I actualy wish they’d include a mandatory ‘no tattoos’ policy that required all current players to have theirs removed. It would save lives, and, more importantly, my eyes. T-shirts instead of tank-tops would be great too. I’m better than most players in the NBA, even wearing a corduroy jacket, and it’s just dumb that I have to be imposed on by armpit hair.

  4. Wear. Conscious pun I swear.

  5. dear david m,
    tattoos on basketball players make so much sense since they’re wearing tank-tops. my favorite tatto in the nba? probably iverson’s neck spider-web.

    and corduroy jackets should be illegal.


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