Why Do NBA Players Dress Up? (3 Reasons)

Back then, NBA players dressed like back-alley thugs. Now, some of them are even considered fashion icons.

But why exactly do NBA players dress up when entering games and during interviews?

Because of the league dress code, NBA players have to dress up whenever they attend games and interviews. It states that players must wear a sports coat and dress shoes. They also prohibit chains and specific headgear.

Let’s take a look at how fashion in the NBA has changed over the years and who are the best-dressed players of today.

Why Do NBA Players Dress Up?

The players outside the court always dress nicely when you watch NBA games. But it wasn’t always like this.

Back then, players used to sport baggy clothing and excessive accessories. So, what changed?

Here are the three reasons why NBA players dress up nowadays:

1. Because the NBA has a dress code

Firstly, even if players want to dress however they want, there’s a dress code.

In 2005, then-commissioned David Stern issued a dress code that forced players to don “business casual attire” when attending games and any media-related event.

This was to prevent the epidemic that was spreading, especially among the black players in the league. So, the league doesn’t want players to wear the following:

  • Chains, pendants, medallions over clothes
  • Sunglasses inside buildings
  • Headgears
  • Unapproved jerseys

Instead, players are required to wear these:

  • Sports coat
  • Dress shoes
  • Boots
  • Socks

As such, when you see players dressing up during games, it means that they have no choice but to do so.

2. Because they’re in the spotlight all the time

One reason there even is a dress code is because athletes are influential figures. Although hip-hop culture is still prominent in the NBA, the league has a global audience.

So, to appeal to fans worldwide, players must look more professional. They’re always in the spotlight, such as during games, interviews, commercials, and even on the internet.

So, many players today would still dress up even without a dress code.

3. So they can have a career outside of basketball

NBA players are some of the highest-paid athletes in the world, with an average salary of around $7.5 million.

But even if they have a lot of money, most will blow through it within a few years. On average, 60% of NBA players become broke five years after they retire.

So, the dress code was implemented to help players find work even after they retire. With a professional background, they can venture into coaching and even regular work.

What do NBA Players Usually Wear?

We see NBA players dressing up when entering the building, on the bench, and during interviews.

Over the years, the dress code has been relaxed a bit. Now, players can be more expressive with their fashion style. However, they still can’t wear baggy clothing or excessive jewelry.

But what do they wear now?

When you see modern NBA players, they usually wear jackets, sports coats, and long-sleeve shirts.

You may also see them wear pants or shorts on occasion.

Best Dressed NBA Players

It might be because of the dress code or not, but NBA players today are more into fashion. Mostly, they’ve parted away with baggy clothing and hired stylists to dress them up.

Because of this change, we see a lot of iconic looks from players every season. Here are the best-dressed NBA players:

1. Kyle Kuzma

Kyle Kuzma’s drip has been on fire since he entered the league. He dated supermodel Winnie Harlow who might have had some influence on his fashion sense.

Nevertheless, his style is off the court and is praised by many fashionistas for he’s not afraid of experimenting.

2. Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons might not hit that three, but that doesn’t mean he’ll also miss with clothes. His fashion sense is on point, with clean and classic fits all the time.

He’s a good-looking guy, too, and with a big body and a tall build, he’s perfectly rocking some nice outfits.

3. D’Angelo Russell

Russel plays for Minnesota but previously played for big city teams such as LA. He dresses most of the time nicely and has a good fashion sense.

You’ll mostly see him don classic clothes and dress shoes in some sweaters to go with the Minnesota weather.

4. LeBron James

Being one of the oldest and still one of the best players in the league, LeBron does it everywhere. He went from one of the baggiest suits in the draft night to the iconic drips of today.

You’ll see him with classic suits on the bench when he’s not playing games. He’s also not afraid of showing his personality with the colors he chooses. But overall, he sticks with what works, and it shows.

5. Kelly Oubre Jr.

Kelly Oubre is an iconic player primarily for his fashion sense. He bravely wears what he wants, and because of his good looks, he can pull mostly all of them.

Overall, he can be the best-dressed player on any given night.

Is the Dress Code in the NBA Discriminatory?

The NBA dress code was created to make the league more professional-looking. In today’s world, players have become more fashionable.

But during the early days of the dress code, many players complained about it being discriminatory.

They didn’t understand how wearing chains could be so harmful.

But over the years, they understood that being an NBA player is a job and it’s a respected one.

Millions of people watch and follow players worldwide, so it makes sense that they should look professional.

Thankfully, players now embrace the importance of maintaining their image and brand. They now don professional-looking clothes while showing off their personality through different colors and styles.

Final Thoughts

NBA players are influential figures worldwide. That’s why they must dress up anytime they’ll attend games and interviews.

It’s also because of the NBA dress code established in 2005.

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