December 8 - The Long and Shorts Of It
The National Basketball Association isn't satisfied with cleaning up their image
by instituting a player dress code. Now, as ESPN Insider Chris Sheridan
reported today, the league is getting downright snippy with players who wear
Looks like 13 players have recently been tagged $10,000 each for long shorts,
and each of these fellas' teams had to pony up $50K on top for aiding and
No doubt David Stern plans to use that $780,000 to endow a scholarship for
up-and-coming fashion police.
While most commentators seem to agree that the dress code is a good business practice, just as
they've poo-pooed its racist implications, I'm interested to hear why the commissioner's office thinks
limiting players' uniform shorts to .1 inch above the knee will help white fans feel more at ease with
the league's predominantly black players.
Is the move meant to humble these players by inching everyone back to John Stockton-style
An interesting question: If you were Allen Iverson or Stephon Marbury, making $13,356,250 this year
and more next year (as both are and will) to lead your team, do you say, "What the hell -- I always
wanted to be John Stockton!"?
I'm not sure there's anyone under 50 in the NBA who thinks it's hip to be square -- let alone THAT
Calling the league's sudden interest in fining players for long shorts "puritanical" and "draconian," the
players' union has filed a grievance.
As of December, the NBA has cited twice as many shorts violations as it did last year.
At some point, David Stern is going to come face to face with a phenomenon parents of teenagers
everywhere are only too familiar with -- you push too much, and the kids not only dig their heels in,
they start pushing right back.
The league has already demanded players dress up for official league and team functions, refrain
from wearing hip-hop culture's de rigeuer bling like gold chains, and to eschew wearing the
earphones of iPods for pregame warmups. That's pretty harsh right there.
As for shortening shorts around the league, maybe someone needs to download Supertramp and
plug some speakers into their mp3 player. Stern and his enforcers could use a little blast from the
"You gotta give a little bit...."