The NBA Never Actually Banned Mock Turtlenecks

12 10 2010

Two weeks ago, news broke that the NBA had outlawed mock turtlenecks for coaches for this season. It was bad news for the Orlando Magic’s Stan Van Gundy, who had to find a whole new wardrobe. That’s a tough task when you have to prepare a contending team for a new season.

Except it turns out that SVG doesn’t have anything to worry about, because the NBA actually didn’t outlaw his favorite type of top. From the Orlando Sentinel (via BDL):

Stan Van Gundy can keep his Miami Vice look after all. Van Gundy was mistaken about the NBA’s wardrobe rule changes, and no one in the media checked if he had it right until Sunday. Shame on us.

That’s great news for fans of sartorial freedom. They say the clothes make the man, and that’s true even if he makes some questionable fashion choices. It’s a mode of self-expression like any other, and it shouldn’t be restricted at all.

But how in the name of Mr. Blackwell did Van Gundy come to believe that he couldn’t wear his treasured turtlenecks? For that answer, we must return to the original article from the Associated Press:

In an appreciative gesture, Magic CEO Bob Vander Weide — after extending Van Gundy’s contract through 2013 — even had tailors fit the coach and some front-office members with suits. So, yes, a fully suited Van Gundy is coming to NBA sidelines.

Maybe even sometimes with a tie.

I think it’s pretty obvious what happened here: Bob Vander Weide made up a new rule because he didn’t like the way Van Gundy looked. I can see the scene at Magic HQ now:

“Oh hey, Stan, have some bad news for you. The NBA outlawed mock turtlenecks. … Yeah, I don’t know why they won’t let you wear clothes I haven’t had since 1994 either. Don’t worry, though. I’ll buy you a suit or two. Just remember to get a few extra ties so you don’t run out of looks. … No, it’s not as much work as it sounds.”

It’s a bold move by Vander Weide, and one I applaud. It can be difficult to bring these issues up in a delicate matter, so it’s often a good idea to just avoid the issue altogether and lie.

It could even catch on as a management style. Pretty soon, look for James Dolan to tell Mike D’Antoni that wild gesticulations and stomps at nothing in particular are instant ejections. Maybe David Kahn will inform Kurt Rambis that you can only play point guards and small forwards now.

Perhaps Donald Sterling will even tell Vinny Del Negro that organized fights between coaches and general managers are now a rule. Sterling has legal debts to pay, and he hears that Neil Olshey has a glass jaw.


NBA Coaches No Longer Allowed to Wear Mock Turtlenecks

29 09 2010

Five years ago, David Stern rocked the NBA established by instituting a new dress code on NBA benches. No longer would players be allowed to dress like teenage kids in track jackets and baseball caps. In the wake of the Palace Brawl, the league had an image to improve, and Stern was going to do something about in the most superficial way possible.

In focusing on the players, though, the commissioner neglected a hidden sartorial evil lurking on the sidelines: coaches in mock turtlenecks. As noted in this AP piece on Stan Van Gundy’s approach to coaching the Magic this season (via Skeets), the league has now disallowed the more sensible alternative to a turtleneck for coaches:

And those trademark turtleneck shirts complete with the same few sport coats on the sideline are gone. New NBA rules require coaches to wear collared shirts during games.

“I want them to at least name the rule after me,” Van Gundy said. “Somebody has their Bird rights. Larry Bird got that rule named after him. I want it to be the Van Gundy Rule.”

Van Gundy is a bit mistaken. As you can clearly see from the photo above, the new rule should be called the Don Nelson Gut Visibility Ban of 2010. It’s now obvious why Nellie quit the Warriors. The breakup wasn’t about money or the new ownership’s unhappiness with his coaching style; it was simply an issue of Nelson not being able to roam the sidelines with his neck at maximum comfort level. Under these grueling conditions, it’s no wonder he decided to go back to Maui, where there are no draconian restrictions on an adult’s wardrobe. If Nelson wants to where half-shirts on the beach, then by golly he’s going to do it.

In all honesty, I have no idea why Stern would create this new rule. The t-shirt-and-blazer combo has become a legitimate option for young urban professionals and older businessmen alike, to the point where only the most conservative men in American commerce demand suits from their employees at all times (or so I’ve heard from people who make more money than I do).  If Van Gundy has looked unprofessional as a coach, it’s because of his constant yelling and wild gesticulating, not his clothes. But don’t tell that to Stern, who has been photographed without a tie approximately once in his life.

He’s just asking for a problem here. What if a player on the Magic — most likely Ryan Anderson — can’t play in a game and shows up with a mock turtleneck. Will SVG get jealous and never play him again? That’s a player-coach argument you don’t want to have happen in view of cameras.

Surely the coaches and league can reach a compromise. Otherwise, I think everyone should wear bolo ties on the sidelines as a show of solidarity. A man’s clothes are his own form of expression, and that outlet should never be shut down.