So much for everything David Stern has done to clean up the NBA's image.
Not even a decade ago, David Stern and Co. implemented a "business casual" dress code for the NBA, largely in an effort to curb the "thug" image of the league and to promote a more professional appearance.
Stern even said himself that he is confident that the players will observe the dress code. Well, they have until now.
The dress code was first implemented in 2005. 2004-05 was also the beginning of the league's attendance revival which saw the NBA draw 21 million fans for the first time in history. Attendance continued to grow in the following years.
Needless to say, some fans aren't too pleased with the decision:
The biggest joke in sports would be nicknames on the back of NBA jerseys like the HEAT/NETS may do this year. AN ABSOLUTE JOKE.— CelticFanChat.com (@CelticFanChat) September 24, 2013
As a member of the Miami Heat, Ray Allen is also one of those players with a nickname on the back of his jersey.
Ray Allen played Jesus Shuttlesworth in the 1998 Spike Lee movie He Got Game, and Heat players even admitted that they still refer to Allen as "Jesus" from time to time.
Allen claims that, "It shows growth in our league and it shows we do adapt to what's going on around us." So what exactly is going on around you? Identity theft? In reality, it just makes the league look like an unprofessional organization that allows the players to do whatever they want.
The stunt is similar to that of the now-defunct Xtreme Football League, which allowed players to wear nicknames on the back of the jerseys. Hmm, I wonder why society didn't take the league seriously? The XFL folded after just one year of operation. Not to say that the NBA would fold from the jerseys, but it certainly could turn fans away from the league as a result of their antics.
Just imagine the commentary for a Heat-Nets game: "King James dishes it off to Shuttlesworth, who is blocked by The Truth. KG to the hoop and he scores!"
Give me a break. If the NBA really wants to earn the support of fans, the league will stomp out their street-like gimmick.
The NBA has taken long strides since their days of lockout futility, but an unprofessional stunt by select teams would only discourage fans from watching the game.