There’s been a doctrine of abnormality around the NBA since it suspended its season in mid-March due to the coronavirus. A small part of that has been the relegation of league insiders to creating breaking news notifications that... don’t seem to qualify as big news.
For those of you with your Woj notifications still turned on from the trade deadline, only to get daily updates about what Disney employees can eat or drink from July to September, you know what I’m talking about.
Well, chalk one more not-so-news update into a bin that’s quickly overflowing. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported tonight that the NBA has truly followed through with their promise of leaving no stone left unturned during their season prep, changing their dress code rules for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.
Sources: The NBA has modified its dress code for 2019-20 restart:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 25, 2020
- Players not required to wear sport coat on bench
- Can wear short/long-sleeve polos for team/league business
- Male and female coaches: short/long-sleeve NBA polo shirts
That’s right, it’s time to get excited my male fashionistas.
The dress code is Summer League-adjacent for the NBA players and coaches risking their well-being as they head into one of the world’s hotbeds of COVID-19. Polo shirts? In. Rugby tops? In. Whatever flies at your local municipal golf course is a-ok for the NBA family — and as someone who’s spent three months in sweat shorts, it’s reassuring that players and coaches can also be comfortable in a time of perpetual anxiety.
What does this mean for the Toronto Raptors?
Well, with a roster leading professional sports in self-branding, the possibilities are endless. Fred VanVleet can utilize some chunky stitching to put “Bet on Yourself” on a polo breast pocket (hello Hollister in the mid-2000s). Pascal Siakam can put aside the jewelry and adorn all kinds of 100% cotton with his new logo. Nick Nurse can create some branding variants on his NN hats, perhaps spelling out the words to avoid the continued Nine Inch Nails confusion (or maybe that’s just me).
That excitement aside, it’s clear that Adam Silver and league administration want to ease the stiffness and formality around this bubble experience. Can polo shirts really fool an NBA player or coach into believing they’re competing for a championship on summer vacation, while only commuting between Orlando arenas and hotel rooms? Maybe not, but the effort is smart.
You see, if you’re worried about the NBA reviving its season amidst a long-dreaded second wave of coronavirus cases, in one of the hardest-hit regions of the country — you’re just focusing on the wrong things. The dress code is loosening after years of putting players in a box, one that was full of cuff links and stiff collars, suit jackets and armadillo loafers. This isn’t a distraction. It’s news!