golden-state-warriors-stephen-curry-suit-style.jpgImage Credit: Sports Illustrated

Twelve years after the NBA’s enactment of the “business casual” dress code, NBA athletes such as Steph Curry pictured above are some of the finest professionally dressed men in the world. The dress code changed the mindset of NBA athletes. In 2005, it was an attack on young African-American men, who they were, and what they represented. They were targeting the hip-hop generation. Yet today, NBA athletes embrace this dress code. “For years in the N.B.A., players have viewed being well dressed as a given, as much a part of modern basketball culture as layup lines and pregame stretches” (Keh, 2015).

Image Credit: more than stats

Despite initial pushback by some players, and some that still exists today, the dress code has turned the NBA into one of, if not the best, dressed sports leagues in the world. “Instead of following the country-club-friendly guidelines to the letter, players and their newly appointed stylists began treating it as a sartorial challenge” (Parrish, 2015). High end fashion has stepped into the world of professional sports and the walk between the bus and the locker room has become a runway for basketball’s most fashionable men. Since the dress code was enacted in 2005, ten NBA players have appeared on the cover of American GQ, far higher than any other sport (Parrish, 2015).


Hill, J. (2008, March 21). LeBron should be more careful with his image. ESPN. Retrieved May 19, 2017, Retrieved from

Hill, J. (2009, Nov. 18). The Brawl: Were Lessons Learned? ESPN. Retrieved from

Hughes, G. (2004). Managing Black guys: Representation, corporate culture, and the NBA.
Sociology of Sport Journal, 21, 163-184.

Keh, A. (2015, February 13). Posing for Fashion Houses, N.B.A. Stars Feel at Home. Retrieved May 19, 2017, Retrieved from

Leonard, D. J. (2012). After Artest : The NBA and the Assault on Blackness.

Lorenz, S. L., & Murray, R. (2014). Goodbye To The Gangstas: The NBA Dress Code, Ray Emery, And The Policing Of Blackness In Basketball And Hockey. Journal Of Sport & Social Issues, 38.1, 23-50.

National Basketball Association. (2017). NBA Player Dress Code. Retrieved from

Parrish, C. (2015, Apr. 15). How the NBA Became the World’s Most Stylish Sports League. The Telegraph. Retrieved from

By: Libby Cope & Elise Hansen

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