Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Just The Way You Look Tonight

The occasion of Michael Redd’s latest injury got me thinking about his career: a lot of hype with little payoff. In 2005 he was billed as the deadly shooter who could lift LeBron James to championship contention, but in the alternative, as Milwaukee’s sole star he has barely lifted them above .500. And the tale of Redd hurriedly rushing to Jerry Colangelo’s hotel suite for his Olympic interview has been told in a number of fora. Apparently Colangelo showed up at Colangelo’s door in a sweat suit, asked for the bathroom, and emerged a few minutes later in a suit and tie. This story denotes Redd’s respect for the game? I’d say it shows his lack of common sense and good judgment. He couldn’t have changed at his gym prior to the trip to Chicago? Or in a public bathroom somewhere else in the Chicago hotel? If Redd did that in a real job interview, they would literally shut the door in his face.

In general, it seems that NBA players have a strained relationship with looking good. When the league-wide player dress code was introduced in 2005, Allen Iverson whined that “You can put a murderer in a suit and he’s still a murderer.” Raja Bell quite idiotically griped: “I understand they're making it out to make us look better to corporate and big business. But we don't really sell to big business. We sell to kids and people who are into the NBA hip-hop world.” Has Bell never gazed at the fat butts in the courtside seats, the faces up in the luxury boxes, or the logo outside his arena? Last I checked, kids and hip-hop-heads didn’t earn million-dollar bonuses.

But some players know that, perhaps paradoxically, no man looks more bad-ass than he who rocks a fine suit. Individuality through uniformity is probably achievable only if you have the body for it, as most NBA players do. Jalen Rose greeted the dress code blithely, noting that “I’m a dresser, so it’s not going to be that much of a change for me.” Shawn Marion observed that “I think it is appropriate … you should be in a nice shirt and slacks.” And appropriately, Marion’s official NBA headshot has him looking Bond-esque. Most college players wear a shirt and tie in their official team photo, but somehow these guys lose their internal mother’s voice after they sign a first contract.

Finally, let us admire the Celtics, who looked bad-ass times seventy-three when they met President Bush last year. These guys should star in the next sequel of “Ocean's Eleven”.

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