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Dress For Success

Aug 18, 2007
As we grow up we all learn the adage, "Don't judge a book by its cover." However, we also learned through life experience that a book with a cover that is tattered and torn smudged with dirt and in poor condition is not something you just bought in the store.

For good or for bad our idealistic understanding must combine with life experience and teach us that more often than not, things really are as they appear. The tension between these two understandings has come to a head in the NBA in 2005-2006 when they initiated their new dress code.

Critics claim the dress code is aimed at suppressing the hip-hop culture that has become prominent in basketball, and others say it keeps the players from expressing their true identities. However an increasing number understand that the dress code the NBA initiated is good for many reasons.

Refocus on the sport

While the NBA dress code prohibited things that are definitely identified with hip-hop culture, it sometimes can represent their main defense that they want to continue to draw attention to the good things about the sport and its athleticism. The NBA requires players to dress in business casual attire when off the court representing the NBA at events and to not wear sunglasses indoors, throwback jerseys, baggy shorts or anything that seems unseemly or unprofessional. The purpose of this new dress code is look at NBA stars as well-trained, disciplined athletes. This refocusing on the sport of basketball hopes to reduce both violence and increase respect.

Reinvent heroes

Every sport and professional team has players they would like to lift up as role models. They want their player to be someone a child or adult can look to for inspiration to do better in their life and become more successful. Every sport also has people that they wish would not be lifted up as examples in any way, shape or form. Basketball is no exception. However, basketball has a chance with its high-profile games to lift up heroes who show a disciplined approach to life. Basketball is a difficult sport requiring not only strength, but agility, skill and planning. By showing athletes who are professionals, they reveal their prowess and their ability to listen, take direction and learn.

Cultivate a culture of class

The NBA of the last few years has been plagued with a culture of violence and disrespect. Even video games representing NBA players feature options which include trash talking as part of the game player's experience. In helping to win back both audiences and respect to this national sport, the NBA must re-create their culture to be one of class, focused and respectful behavior. By encouraging their players to dress appropriately both on and off the court they can reduce the level of violence in each arena and allow people to see the athletes and the sport in a better light.

Most businesses, large or small have the right to tell their employees how to dress to make that business appear to function efficiently, professionally and smoothly. The NBA is a sport and a business. Hopefully this move will return fans to the center of the game.
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