Friday , Nov , 11 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

The Issues: NBA Dress Code, Age Limit, Larry Brown, and more…

What’s good, basketball fans?

There are two sides to every debate, and when it comes to basketball, those sides more than often not end up warring with one another. Some folks can debate the finer points of politics for days without once raising their voice, and accept a barrage of personal criticism without so much as batting an eyelid. The moment the topic turns to hoops, however, they’ll sharpen their elbows and start swinging at the first suggestion that someone holds a contrary viewpoint.

In recognition of the divisive nature of basketball discussion, we’ll be taking a look at some of the biggest points of contention in the league today, balancing the pros and cons as best we can.

Let’s get right into it.

The Issues: NBA Dress Code, Age Limit, Larry Brown, and more...

The NBA Dress Code
For: The NBA’s employees are paid millions to play basketball, something most of us would happily do for free. Considering their earnings, why shouldn’t they dress nicely?
For: The majority of high-paying organisations have certain dress stipulations, and the NBA should be no different.
For: Professionalism is paramount in a business designed to sell to families, and a decent outfit doesn’t hurt to that end.
Against: First and foremost, these men are basketball players, and accordingly their uniform is a vest and shorts. What they wear off-court is their own business.
Against: The players have a basic right to dress and express themselves as they wish, and it’s not the league’s place to restrict them in that.
Against: By attempting to kick the hip-hop out of the NBA’s image, the league is seeking to break the link between hoops and urban culture, ignoring the background and interests of a sizeable portion of its players.
The Age Limit
For: In a league in which the talent has already been diluted by unnecessary expansion, the last thing the NBA needs is a dozen or more goofy teens drafted each year, most of whom are destined for failure.
For: Assessing a player’s talent over the course of a year or two in college lessens the likelihood of a General Manager selecting a bust.
For: Although some will take their game to Europe, most will opt to attend university. For those whose careers are cut short, a degree (or the beginnings of one) will be invaluable in their post-basketball lives.
Against: While sensible in many respects, this rule would delay certain players from being able to help their families financially by cashing in on their abilities. For those who suffer major injuries in NCAA play, it may deny them the chance entirely.
Against: Remember J.R. Rider? He went to college.
Against: Remember LeBron James? He didn’t.
Larry Brown
For: He took Detroit from contention to a chip, and quick.
For: Showing he can adapt to different styles of play, L.B. has led teams to championships in both the NCAA and the NBA.
For: The eight teams Larry coached prior to the Knicks have averaged an improvement of 8.9 wins in the season following his arrival.
Against: He has had a history of difficulty with certain players, most notably Allen Iverson, and now (allegedly) Stephon Marbury.
Against: He is one of a select number of coaches to have been on the sidelines for a Team U.S.A. loss since professionals were permitted to play in the Olympics.
Against: Brown pulled the biggest snake move in basketball since Carlos Boozer’s departure from Cleveland in negotiating a new job in the midst of a playoff run with the Pistons.
David Stern
For: An undeniably astute businessman, Dave has implemented changes that have led to a drastic increase in the league’s turnover.
For: Despite contrary public perception, one of Stern’s greatest successes has been in raising the profile of black athletes in the media, leading to marketing opportunities which may have been previously unavailable.
For: Due in large part to Dave’s efforts, the NBA has gone from an American interest to a global fascination, with countless new foreign fans warming to the game each year.
Against: Certain of his policies haven’t sat well with the players, the dress code being a prime example.
Against: With the introduction of certain rules geared towards facilitating highlights, some have accused Stern of compromising the game in order to make for more fan-friendly basketball.
Against: His strict censoring policies and harsh fines have been met with criticism by many.
Which topic is guaranteed to get you animated? Whose name is enough to make you gush with praise or boil over with anger? Let me know the contentious issues in basketball that you see as relevant via email ( or the comment box at the bottom of the page. Until tomorrow, take it easy.