Dwyane Wade credits David Stern’s dress code for improving his style

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Few things have been mocked quite like the NBA dress code for players put in by former commissioner David Stern.

Stern had hired a Republican consultant to help make the NBA “more red state friendly.” Which sounded a lot like code for making the game less hip-hop, less urban, and less black. It’s a perception in some quarters that the league has tried to battle since the 1970s but mostly rose above because of the transcendent stardom of Magic Johnson/Larry Bird then Michael Jordan. But with those stars gone and the league transitioning a little, Stern leaned on his new consultant. (If you think that has changed in the league, go read Bruce Levenson’s email again.)

One thing to come out of it: A dress code for players as they showed up for games. Players now had to stick with what you’d call a “business casual” attire: no more baggy jeans and T-shirts. No more hip-hop look. That code is still in place.

Dwyane Wade — now a fashion plate and a guy with his own line of ties — credits the dress code for changing and improving his personal style, something he said in an interview with the Associated Press.

“It was like, `OK, now we got to really dress up and we can’t just throw on a sweat suit,”‘ he said. “Then it became a competition amongst guys and now you really got into it more and you started to really understand the clothes you put on your body, the materials you’re starting to wear, so then you become even more of a fan of it….

“Obviously sometimes we push the envelope, and I think it’s because we’re athletes,” he said in an interview Tuesday. “We’re not looked at as guys who should wear certain things. Being flamboyant is being OK.”

I don’t think you can overestimate the competition part here — professional athletes are competitive at everything. On the court, playing cards on the plane, driving cars, you name it and they try to best each other. Clothing became part of that — “we have to dress up more, so now I’m going to look better than any of you.” Not everyone plays the game (Chris Kaman, we’re looking at you) but plenty do.

That leads to some… let’s say interesting fashion choices at times. But it kind of works for them, in part because they are young and rich. Like a lot of aspects of life, if you wear (or have) something that seems ridiculous on the surface but it was expensive and made by a famed designer then worn by the athletic and attractive, somehow it becomes okay. Even trendy. At least that’s my explanation for what Russell Westbrook or Nick Young pull out fashion wise sometimes — if I wore some of those shirts I’d be up for understandable derision. But on them it kind of works. Same with glasses without glass.

Wade’s style is a little more classic than that, and he’s one of the league’s clothing stars. He’s talked fashion in GQ.

And I guess we can thank Stern for that.

(Hat tip to Mr. Fashion Eric Freeman of Yahoo Sports’ Ball Don’t Lie)

Arizona State leading scoring Remy Martin declares for 2020 NBA Draft

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Arizona State junior Remy Martin has declared for the 2020 NBA Draft:

The six-foot point guard took on more of scoring role in his third season with the Sun Devils than he had in his first two seasons. Martin averaged 19.1 points per game on 43.2% shooting from the field. Martin also dished out 4.1 assists per game, after averaging 5.0 assists as a sophomore.

Arizona State’s leading scoring may just be testing the waters, as he’s expected to go undrafted. NBA scouts have concerns over Martin’s size at the NBA level. One concern is his ability to hold up defensively, as NBA point guards are trending bigger and bigger in recent years.

As a smaller guard, Martin was one of the players who could have benefited from the traditional pre-draft process. With in-person workouts on hold, and potentially cancelled entirely, players have limited opportunities to improve their draft stock. Teams may be drafting off previous in-person scouting and off of tape.

NBA players reportedly to take part in televised NBA 2K tournament Friday

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If we can’t watch NBA players on the court, at least we can watch them control their digital selves and teammates in a live basketball tournament.

ESPN plans to broadcast an NBA 2K tournament with only NBA players at the controllers, a story broken by Chris Haynes at Yahoo Sports. The hope is to have it air Friday, with the players competing from their homes around the country.

The NBA is planning a players-only NBA 2K tournament that will feature the league’s sharpest video gamers and it will be broadcast on ESPN, league sources told Yahoo Sports…

Players competing against their peers in the comfort of their own homes could offer a distraction for fans who are missing the game and a little competition.

Esports are incredibly popular and growing as a spectator sport, both in person and on Twitch and other platforms. With there being a pent-up demand for sports programming, this seems a smart attempt to draw eyeballs. Even people who are non-esports viewers could tune in just to check it out, because it’s that or rewatching Tiger King.

You can bet that if it works, we will see a lot more of it in the future.

(Inside baseball note: I would love to see the emails/texts flying around ESPN about Yahoo breaking a story about what is coming in their network.)

 

Shaquille O’Neal: I had no idea what was happening with Joe Exotic of Tiger King

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On a recent episode of “The Big Podcast with Shaq” former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal said that “he had no idea” what was happening at the zoo run by Joe Exotic. Joe Exotic was recently made famous through the popular Netflix documentary “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness”.

Footage of O’Neal appeared in the first episode of the show and was shown taking photographs with the animals.

The documentary also showed a cut of O’Neal on TNT saying “Shoutout to Exotic Joe. I got two more tigers.”

On his podcast, O’Neal explained:

“So we go in there, and it’s a beautiful place, and the character that was there was Exotic Joe. We’re there and I dropped some donations for the tigers’ foods and all that. We take pictures with (the) tigers. We went back a couple times. Then we go back another time and we found out that he’s involved with all the stuff, and then, actually, I stopped going.”

Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic, was sentenced to 22 years in prison after being found guilty of 19 different charges. Those charges included murder-for-hire plot, illegally selling endangered species and other animal-related offenses.

O’Neal clarified that he never bought any animals, but often donates to charities that help animals. He also made it clear that he’s not friends with Joe Exotic, nor anyone involved in the trade of endangered species.

“I don’t harm tigers,” O’Neal said. “I love tigers. I love white tigers. Do I put donations to these zoos to help these tigers out? I do it all the time. Do I own tigers personally at my house? No. But I love tigers. Listen, people are going to make their own opinions, but, again, I was just a visitor. I met this guy — not my friend. Don’t know him. Never had any business dealings with him, and I had no idea any of that stuff was going on.”

Report: Brooklyn Nets looking to hire a blue-chip head coach

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When the Brooklyn Nets and Kenny Atkinson parted ways in early-March, the team installed Jacque Vaughn as the interim head coach.

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst that’s a short-term appointment. On his podcast “Brian Windhorst and The Hoop Collective”, the reporter said the Nets are looking to hire a coach with a track record of NBA success.

“One of the things that has been expressed sort of the grapevine, that’s the way I’m going to say it to protect myself from the aggregators, is that Durant and Irving would like a blue-chip coach. I don’t know what this says about the way they thought about Atkinson, but they want a big-name coach.”

Names linked to the Brooklyn opening are Tom Thibodeau, Mark Jackson, and both Jeff and Stan Van Gundy.

Atkinson leaving Brooklyn was a surprise, considering he had led the Nets back to the playoffs in 2019. That success came after a three-year rebuild. That process was kicked off when general manager Sean Marks hired Atkinson to lead the on-court development. Under Marks and Atkinson, the Nets developed several players who had been given up on by other teams.

Brooklyn was 28-34 when Atkinson was let go. The Nets had gone 2-0 under Vaughn before the NBA suspended play in mid-March.