The NBA Dress Code:Do clothes make the man behave?
What the well-dressed Celtics Beagle wears if David Stern has his way. 
The NBA is on the verge of instituting--or,more accurately, re-instituting--a dress code for it's players.  Supposedly, part of the idea is marketing, to have the NBA pretend that it's players aren't occasionally involved in felonious assaults, drug charges, or other types of assorted mayhem by presenting them as if they were in the MBA instead of the NBA.

The other part of this ploy is to try to get the players to behave as if they were  professional businessmen instead of, say, professional athletes.  The idea is that better apparel leads to better behavior.

This is wrong on several fronts, so let's get to the reasons why.

First, there's a presumption that a person's wardrobe is somehow a determining factor in how well or poorly they behave.  There's plenty of people who used to have money stashed in Enron's retirement fund who don't buy that, since Ken Lay always looked dapper.  We've had several former Presidents of the United States that engaged in what could charitably be called inappropriate behavior.  There have even been some people in military uniforms--surely an honorable garb under most circumstances--conducting themselves in a manner unbecoming a person, never mind a soldier.

So much for the well-dressed felon.

Now we look at the relatively underdressed examples.  Mark Cuban, so far as I can tell, always wears a sports jersey to games and he owns the Dallas Mavericks.  Mark may be occasionally bombastic, but I don't know offhand that he's ever done anything untoward, though a few people in the NBA referee corps might disagree :) .  Charles Schulz, whom even his few detractors always cited for his courtly behavior, didn't even own a suit, by his own description.  He had one tuxedo for formal occasions, but that was it.

So, we've established that dressing a certain way does not in and of itself make a person more or less likely to commit a crime.

What really bothers some people is that players choose to go against the social tradition of what people consider well-dressed.  In all my life, no one has yet managed to explain why anyone needs a tie, unless there was a sudden explosion in the need for tourniquets in the distant past.

I honestly don't see why someone wearing a clean t-shirt and jeans is somehow considered less professional, less reliable, less hardworking or less trustworthy than someone dressed in a suit.  It's utter foolishness to me.  I've worked in places that had similar dress codes, and I considered it foolishness then, too.

Certainly, some players take advantage of a relaxed dress code.  But it makes more sense to me to have a private chat with the extremists and ask them to tone it down a bit.  And it's not like the old days were short on individualism.  Bill Russell played in the days of the old dress code and he sometimes wore--I kid you not--a cape.  Red Auerbach thought Russell looked great.

But overall, I'd be less concerned with what the guys wear than with what they do.  We've had some players involved in all sorts of problems--sadly, no better or worse than some athletes in other sports for the most part.  We have people with drinking problems, drug problems, and some even involved in situations ranging from domestic violence to shootings.  Why not put the effort into addressing and remedying those problems instead of worrying that the guys aren't, heaven forfend, wearing a sport coat or a tie?

Now, there are those who will say, correctly, that the NBA--and, for that matter, individual teams--can tell players what to wear.  But for all the money they make, they're making a living playing a game.  Let's not get too involved in playing dress-up.  If people want to eliminate the more outrageous stuff, that's one thing.  But there's no need to start a sartorial stamping mold that only one way of dress can represent a person, a company, or a team in a positive manner.

Because we know that's not true.  Clothes, despite the saying, do NOT make the man--they just keep him from getting arrested for public lewdness. :)