Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Why my freshmen are better than NBA players.

One of the things that struck me most in my high school Sociology class during my Junior year was the impact that perception had on people. A person that dressed in a matter that showed pride and dignity would have the respect of their peers, strangers, and in basketball, opponents. Since my sophomore year in high school, I had to wear a collared shirt, a tie, and slacks. For the first two years, I thought it was the most miserable and idiotic thing on the planet. In fact, during my Junior year, I was so pissed that my coach pulled me out of the game (for reasons I can't remember), that I got on the bus, loosened my tie, and pulled my UNLV Runnin Rebels hat out of my bag and placed it atop my head. My coach's look is still ingrained in my brain, one of a half-second of irritation, then that dead look that makes you realize that you are in serious trouble. In the end, I apologized, and he said, "I know that wasn't your style, and I don't hold grudges. But never do that again." By my Senior year, I realized that teams looked at us with total seriousness when we were dressed nice and arriving at their gym. We looked like we knew what we were doing, then we played like we knew what we were doing.

I still believe that to be true today. I enforce a strict dress code with my team; slacks (no jeans), shirt and tie, no hats, no sagging. Players are always irritated at this age, as they seem to think that other schools don't think they are "hard" for dressing so formally. In actuality, other teams notice our entrance, and immediately know that there will be a serious game tonight. There is already an advantage to us, and the game is 45 minutes away. On top of that, other coaches, parents (from both teams), officials, and media have noticed that the teams looks and plays like a real basketball team. Finally, there is the issue of being one of the best basketball players in the school (at the Frosh level, one of the best freshmen), and dressing like you have pride in the program. A dress code is an essential step in creating a professional and competitive program. I firmly believe that.

Which brings us to the NBA, and the idiots that are playing in the league. Recently, league commissioner David Stern instituted a dress code for all members of the team that are conducting team business; ie sitting on the bench or on the injured list on the sideline. You would figure that the players, knowing full well that the world and kids are watching, would embrace this logical step in helping the league. A league, by the way, that is losing core viewers year after year.

Enter Stephen Jackson. You know, one of the idiots that ran into the stands to thump on spectators during the Indiana/Detroit basketball game. According to this Indiana Pacer, the dress code is racially motivated. Apparently, Jackson thinks that the league is too afraid to become too hip-hop. "When I saw the part about chains, hip hop and throwback jerseys, I think that's part of our culture.." Really? Is part of your culture running into the stands and assaulting spectators as well?

But the creme de la creme came from Allen Iverson, who makes a cool $15 million a year.

"I feel like if they want us to dress a certain way, they should pay for our clothes," he said. "It's just tough, man, knowing that all of a sudden you have to have a dress code out of nowhere. I don't think that's still going to help the image of the league at all."

Oh yeah, and a multi-millionaire asking for a dress stipend gives the league a GREAT image. Mix a little Tim Duncan in, who threatened to not leave the dressing room if he wasn't playing on game night, and you have the problem with the league. They aren't professional enough. Unlike my players, some NBA players need to mix in a little dignity.

By the way, not all the players disagree with the NBA dress code. Grant Hill has no problem with it. You know, Grant Hill from Duke. You know Duke don't you? Where they dress for every game in a shirt and tie, where their coach runs a professional team, and where the team has won a half dozen NCAA championships in the last two decades.

Thanks to A.P. and ESPN.com for the quotes.
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