Report: NBA Players Required to Wear Uniform to Arena for Games During Restart

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 13, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, left, and Dwight Howard during pregame warmups before an NBA basketball gameagainst the New York Knicks in New York, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

Gone are the days of Russell Westbrook, James Harden and other NBA players dazzling with their pregame fashion as they arrive at arenas prior to games.

At least for the remainder of this season.

According to Nick DePaula of ESPN, the NBA finalized an entry protocol for players to "be in uniform and warmups when they arrive" at games near Orlando, Florida, when the season restarts later this month.

The plan is for players to dress in their uniforms at the hotel and then take the team bus to the arena essentially ready to hit the floor and start warming up.

The driving force behind this protocol, as is the case for a number of other rules during the COVID-19 pandemic, is to promote sanitization and social distancing. If players dress in their hotel rooms instead of in locker rooms that do not have showers, it will theoretically minimize the amount of time they are spending together at the venue in close proximity.

Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker, who is known for his fashion and shoe collection, reacted to the plan:

"That is crazy. I think that takes away [from] originally what getting dressed was all about. It wasn't even about the tunnel walk, it was more about getting dressed up and going to work. To me, it's like a mindset, getting dressed and getting ready to go to my game. It puts me in the mindset that I'm ready to work and helps me find my focus." 

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Players will have an opportunity to make a fashion statement when it comes to the protective face covering they wear.

They will have the choice between league-provided masks, team-issued masks or ones they bring on their own. DePaula noted some have created their own customized masks with brand logos or social justice messages.

The NBA has been suspended since March 11 and is planning on restarting with 22 teams in a bubble environment in Florida. Each team will play eight regular-season games prior to the playoffs and a potential play-in tournament for the final seed in each conference.

Play begins July 30 with the Utah Jazz facing the New Orleans Pelicans and the Los Angeles Lakers taking on the LA Clippers.

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