It was 10 years ago this year that David Stern sent out the dress code memo. NBA players were dressing like everyone into the hip-hop culture — baggy jeans, sports clothing, gold chains, etc. This didn’t play well with the old, rich, white guys that buy luxury boxes and expensive seats (not to mention the league sponsors). Stern stepped in and made his call.
Players called it the AI rule, after Allen Iverson (who was at the forefront of ushering hip-hop culture into the NBA). Iverson, as you would expect, hated it.
Andre Iguodala didn’t like it either but he complied — and bought suits for Iverson so he would comply as well, Iguodala told Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports (hat tip Eye on Basketball).
Former Sixers forward Andrew Iguodala said Iverson bought several oversized suits to adhere to the dress code.
“Allen wasn’t a fan of it,” said Iguodala, now with the Warriors. “Allen just wanted to be comfortable. He wasn’t trying to just be a rebel without a cause. He was like, ‘I just want to be comfortable. I just want to go to the game and play basketball.’ He didn’t want to be uptight or feel restricted.
“You watched him play and his style was to be able to freelance and move carefree, just be comfortable in his own world. He said, ‘When I do that, I don’t want to be restricted with a tie or collar on my neck.’ “
The pendulum has swung the other way now — many players pride themselves on how they dress. A few guys even have their own clothing or accessory lines. The league relaxed the rule some — players used to have wear sport coats, now they can wear dress jeans and a button up shirt — but a lot of players go above and beyond anyway.
Then there is whatever Russell Westbrook is doing.
With the NBA season going to start in a week, Thunder coach decided to run his first team out for something closer to regulation minutes. The Thunder reminded everyone just how good they are.
Russell Westbrook scored 21 points (on 14 shots), plus had 10 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Thunder past the Jazz 113-102. As you can see above, he looks to be in mid-season form.
So did Kevin Durant, who dropped 29 and is back to being an unstoppable scoring machine this preseason. And remember, they did all this on a Jazz team that is built around its defense and who also played their starters heavy minutes.
Jerry Colangelo — the USA Basketball chairman and ultimate decision maker on who replaces Mike Krzyzewski as the Team USA coach — was on SiriusXM NBA Radio Tuesday and said this about who will land that job:
“Odds are that it will be a professional coach.”
The smart money has long been on the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich to be the man. While any decision on the next USA basketball coach is a year away (at least), the feeling is Popovich will get the job, reports Ken Berger at CBSSports.com.
The Spurs’ five-time champion coach is “clearly, unquestionably the No. 1 choice,” according to a person involved in the coaching business. “There really is no second place.” Not only is he the most accomplished and respected current NBA coach, but Pop also checks several other boxes that Krzyzewski and Colangelo will no doubt consider in identifying possible successors. (Yes, both men will have most, if not all the say in who gets this gig.)
For example, Krzyzewski told ESPN that he believes it would be a plus for his successor to have international coaching experience. Popovich does that one better; he has international espionage experience as a former Air Force intelligence officer! He also has served as a Team USA assistant and has international experience as a player.
There are only a handful of guys who can be considered for that job because that coach needs to be someone elite players are willing to play for during their off-season. Also, he needs to be able to rise above the petty politics of agents and shoe companies lobbying for certain players. Popovich certainly qualifies (John Calipari, not so much).
Around the NBA, there is a sense that they would like to see an NBA coach in that seat. If it’s not Popovich, Doc Rivers is a name I have heard mentioned, but in this report Berger says his star has faded a little with USA Basketball. It is possible someone like Billy Donovan or Brad Stevens could rise to that position, but they are not there yet.
This should be Popovich’s job, there isn’t another choice nearly as good.
It’s been too long since we ran a Greek Freak highlight, so it was handy of him to provide one Tuesday night.
The Bucks are taking on the Timberwolves and nobody put a body on Giannis Antetokounmpo as he slid baseline after Chris Copeland took a three, allowing him to go up and slam down the putback jam.
Antetokounmpo has turned a lot of heads his first couple seasons in the league, but his game has been a bit raw and all about his freakish athleticism. I think he makes a leap this season and maybe even picks up the Most Improved Player award.
One of the questions about the Pacers this season: Does Paul George have his bounce back?
He answered that with this dunk Tuesday night against the Bulls.
Damn. That is some old school PG.
If he’s playing like this — at the four — the chances the Pacers’ playoff dreams come true go up.