No bling bling?

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first_imgOK, so NBA players can’t wear baseball caps or sunglasses while on the team’s dime anymore. The baggy jeans are gone, and so are the sneakers that bring the big money for the bling-bling. Wait, cover up the bling-bling, too? Just what is David Stern up to anyway? AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Soon this may really be your father’s NBA. In case you missed it, Stern on Monday did with just one memo what parents across the country have wanted to do every time they saw Allen Iverson sitting on the bench with a retro jersey from another team, a matching hat perched sideways in his head and chains dangling from his neck. Stern finally declared to the hip-hop culture that helped sell the league that its time has passed: He instituted a dress code. Nelly, Jay-Z and Usher may own parts of teams, but their players better not be dressing like the music stars. Among the rules are this: The bling bling (oversized jewelry for those of you who remember the two-handed jumper) can’t be worn on the outside of a shirt. Jeans must be dress jeans. Business casual is the rule of the day. And this one’s for you, AI. Next time you’re injured and sitting on the bench, you’ll be sitting there with a sport coat on. “It sends a bad message to kids,” Iverson told the Philadelphia Inquirer last week, secure in the knowledge that perhaps only he understood his convoluted logic. Iverson is right in a way. It does send a message. It sends it to a corporate America apprehensive of being involved with a league whose players brawl on one kind of court and are often dragged into another. It sends it to parents who might be a put off by Carmelo Anthony appearing in a video where a man warns that people who snitch to police about drug deals “get a hole in their head.” Even Stern conceded that the reputation of the league’s players is such that it is “not as good as our players are.” A dress code isn’t going to change all of that. Players can get in trouble dressed nicely in slacks and a preppy turtleneck almost as easily as they can loaded down with heavy metal around their necks and cockeyed ball caps. But the style of dress is more than just an affront to the fashion police. It’s a symbol of the whole gangsta scene, one the NBA in the past embraced _ or at least tolerated _ to win more fans. It took Stern and his minions awhile, but finally they’re getting the message. That kind of culture may sell $100 sneakers, but it’s one more deterrent to the family of four that already has to shell out a couple hundred dollars to sit in the upper deck of most league arenas to see a game. The way some players reacted, though, you’d think Stern was trying to take away their Escalades. “I don’t see it happening unless every NBA player is given a stipend to buy clothes,” Denver center Marcus Camby said when word of the proposed dress code surfaced last week. I’m not sure where Camby shops, but last year he signed a six-year contract with the Nuggets that pays him some $45 million, more if you include incentives. In most places that should be enough for a couple of decent shirts, some shoes and even few pair of dress jeans for the road. Then again, Latrell Sprewell had trouble feeding his family on $14.6 million a year so perhaps times are tougher in the NBA than first realized. “Maybe if you earn less than eight million dollars you’ll get a scholarship from the commissioner,” Stern joked Tuesday. Other players, though, seemed to understand what Stern is trying to do. “If they’re trying to change the image of league, that’s cool,” Suns forward Shawn Marion said. Stern isn’t just doing it with clothes. He announced a new program Tuesday called “NBA Cares” that promises to raise $100 million for charity, donate 1 million hours of service and build 100 places for kids to learn and play over the next five years. Give the commissioner some credit. He seems to realize now that the hip-hop crowd isn’t big enough to pay the bills and that the league’s thug image is in bad need of repair. So, beginning Nov. 1, the NBA will have a new look, at least off the court. It’s the first move to keep the league in the mainstream of sports. Who knows, some day they may even begin enforcing the traveling violation again. Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!center_img Why not bring back the two-handed set shot and short shorts while you’re at it? Better yet, start calling players for traveling. last_img

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