When David Stern and the NBA instituted a mandatory dress code in 2005, they clearly had no idea what plentiful gifts it would reap.
When the dress code first was put into place, there was controversy and opposition. The NBA was the only league to institute a dress code, and players were enraged that their freedom to wear very ugly things was being challenged.
But where there were lemons, the brightest stars in the NBA made lemonade.
They have embraced the dress code. They have made it work for them. The luckiest among them have turned themselves into fashion icons, while the not-so-fortunate have found ways to continue to wear ugly things that abide by the dress code.
We still love our NBA stars anyway, despite their rampant fixation with denim vests.
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We begin with one of James Harden's more minor offenses.
Perhaps inspired by former teammates Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant—both of whom have become infamous for their loud and patterned postgame attire—Harden took baby steps.
You can't just go from boring black and white to patterned glory; you have to ease into it. So Harden donned this stellar salmon blazer and snazzy bow tie to accept his Sixth Man of the Year award.
It may look like it is only appropriate for a boating adventure on Nantucket, but Harden made it work.
There is a general rule involving denim vests. Basically, don't wear them.
This attempt at spicing up a boring wardrobe, courtesy of Amare Stoudemire, is a valiant try but futile nonetheless.
There's the fedora, which is about eight sizes too small for his head.
There's the sling, which draws further unnecessary attention to the overall atrocity.
And there's the vest. Some (but very, very few) females can pull off this look. But males never can, under any circumstance.
It should never be attempted again.
Poor Ray Allen. At least he tries.
Plenty of the younger guys in the league are happy to give fun fashion a try instead of reverting to the same old boring suit-and-tie look for postgame pressers. Allen is one of the few veterans who actually attempts to inject some flavor into his wardrobe.
Unfortunately, it didn't go well for him.
As Heidi Klum is fond of saying, this suit is just sad. The color is sad, the material is sad, the tie is just tragic and Allen looks devastated to be wearing it.
Next time, he should just trust his better instincts.
There is a rule when it comes to patterns you're allowed to wear on TV: There aren't many that are acceptable.
Patterns tend to appear distracting and sometimes dizzying to the viewing audience at home, and anything that makes them look decent in person is lost over film.
But it's hard to believe that there is anything about this shirt that looks decent in person. And it's difficult to look at this for too long without needing to shield your eyes.
Suddenly the sunglasses make a lot more sense.
The only way you could possibly justify this shirt is that it's a joke. It's a lost bet. It's a dare that is earning Chandler Parsons a lot of money.
Otherwise, it is an inexplicable tragedy.
What we see here is all of the worst attributes of a J.Crew catalog folded into one shirt. The bright, clashing colors, the fact that it's a short-sleeve button down created for a man, the haphazard design…
Everything Parsons feels about his shirt is written on his face. And what makes it even worse is that James Harden looks like a fashion boss next to him.
Only a shirt like that can make Harden look like a fashion boss.
Maybe Dwyane Wade feels the need to represent the Eastern Conference against Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Maybe he was simply inspired by their choices.
Whatever the reason for this ensemble, though, it was a bad one.
The first rule is that color coordinating with your teammate and the background banner is never a good idea.
The second rule is that if both of you show up to the podium wearing your hipster glasses, one of you shall be required to remove them.
The third rule is that LeBron shouldn't own that shirt because I own one that looks exactly like it. Ruffled tuxedo shirts and LeBron do not mix.
What happens when you get some of the most atrocious dressers in the NBA all together on one team?
This photo happens.
There are some bright spots in it. Russell Westbrook's ensemble is, by all accounts, not terrible. He really toned himself down here. The biggest problems are that Kevin Durant is wearing a vest, Kobe Bryant thinks he is auditioning for a role as Brody Jenner's sidekick on some terrible E! reality show, Tyson Chandler is wearing an entire outfit that is so monochromatic, it looks like a jumpsuit and I won't even begin to comment on Carmelo Anthony's situation over there in the corner.
At least they win at basketball, though.
According to the Huffington Post, Wade has undergone something of a "style evolution" in recent years.
Perhaps he should have ended that evolution somewhere along the way before this travesty happened.
We've already covered the reasons why patterns generally don't work on TV. But ugly patterns never work, in any forum. As Kevin Garnett might say, Wade needs to go home, take this shirt, throw it in the fireplace and burn it along with anything that remotely resembles it.
But he gets a couple of points for color coordinating his finger bandage with it.
James Harden will see Amare Stoudemire's denim vest and raise him a denim-looking plaid vest plus a denim shirt.
This outfit is possibly one of the worst outfits ever worn by a human, never mind by an NBA player. Dark, destroyed denim shirts should never happen, period. People have gotten into the whole chambray trend and have tried to make it happen, but it's a travesty.
Especially in this form. This form, with the vest, should be illegal.
Also, his shirt is too small.
We're almost halfway through the list and we haven't gotten to Russell Westbrook yet.
So you had to figure it was coming.
Westbrook is a hit-or-miss kind of guy. Sometimes, his fashion is fierce enough to warrant a GQ spread. Other times—as is the case with anyone who takes risks with his or her attire—there are mistakes.
This look, he can just about pull off. The plaid is rather busy, but the colors aren't atrocious, and he's keeping the rest of his look simple. Decent attempt, Russell.
It seems that being super stylish isn't something that comes all that naturally for Rajon Rondo. This jacket is proof.
It is certainly different. But different isn't always a good thing. It's hard to believe that someone could lay eyes on this and then subsequently covet it.
So perhaps it was a gift.
For future reference, though, anything with a two-toned collar is probably a no. Anything with a two-toned collar that includes light-colored leather is a decisive no. And anything with a two-tone color, leather and horizontal stripes should be seized by the government.
Oh, Russell. Sometimes you swing and make contact, and sometimes you swing and miss.
This was a miss.
As always with Russell, there was some admirable effort here. The color coordination is admirable, not only with his glasses but with the NBATV logo. But sadly, as far as busy, unattractive patterns go, this is probably the busiest, most unattractive pattern that can be achieved.
And we've already been over the short-sleeve button down epidemic.
Russell, you're better than this.
In one sense, we have to give LeBron credit for attempting to try his hand at fashion.
But in another sense, we have to give him a failing grade for this.
Mostly, it's just ugly. The color isn't the problem; the problem is the vaguely floral/foresty pattern. And, of course, the casual sweatshirt design.
Just all-around bad.
At least he attempted to class it up with the button-down underneath.
Sometimes, when you're looking to take a fashion risk, all you need is a little help from your friends. You need encouragement.
Russell Westbrook always deserves credit for being fearless in the face of fashion, and Kevin Durant deserves props for following his fashion-forward teammate's lead and masterminding this outfit.
Simply put, he pulls it off. He looks stylish, nothing he's wearing clashes and he made a choice between pattern and color. He didn't throw everything at the wall to see what would stick. Plus, the pop of color with the red tie is an excellent touch. The vest doesn't even look bad with this ensemble, and for that, we all must simply step back and applaud.
Anyone who can make a vest look OK deserves our love and admiration forevermore.
And because Durant looks so splendid, we will simply ignore what's happening next to him.
There is simply no excuse for this. Even if it was Halloween (which it wasn't), there would be no excuse for this.
The neck-down situation isn't all that bad. Worn correctly, the coat could even be considered stylish by some. Since there aren't any clashing elements, we'll let it slide that the shirt is buttoned all the way to the top—which may be OK on some smaller people, but not on Carmelo.
The neck-up situation is simply unacceptable. That hat is not OK.
Oh dear. Another swing and another miss for Russell.
The glasses, I don't mind. With a simpler shirt, they could even be a win.
The shirt, however, will never be a win under any circumstance.
Unless you have a front-row seat, it's hard to see what exactly is happening on that shirt. But it appears to involve several little men running and playing.
Sometimes, Russell would just be better served to keep it simple. Pick an accessory or pick a shirt.
As long as the shirt never again looks like this.
If not for one small piece of this puzzle, this look almost could have been OK.
On their own, the bow tie and the salmon sweater (what is it with the Western Conference and salmon sweaters?) aren't necessarily automatic fails. The sweater is actually decent on him, as is the bow tie. Together, they're a little much.
And compared to Russell Westbrook's everyday wardrobe, they're relatively subtle.
But under no circumstance should you ever carry that Louis Vuitton man purse ever again, Steve Nash. Under no circumstance.
There is one final rule: If Russell can't pull it off, nobody can.
As a result, it is time to permanently retire the denim vest.
The reasoning behind this trend will forever remain a mystery better left unsolved. It should never have happened, but it did. And now that it's over, we'll pretend it didn't.
It's best for all involved.
Denim vests are also perhaps the only article of clothing that can overshadow the fact that the guy next to you appears to be wearing a backpack at his own press conference.
As far as atrocities like this and the unwritten rules that accompany them, there is only one thing left to say. So, we'll let Regina George and Karen Smith have the floor.