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Last Updated: Monday, 31 October 2005, 10:00 GMT
NBA dress code upsets black stars
Philadelphia 76ers star Allen Iverson
Iverson's usual style will fall foul of the new code
A new dress code for NBA players has caused controversy ahead of the new season, which begins on 1 November.

Several stars claim the off-court code is an attack on black American culture as it outlaws hip-hop style attire.

Philadelphia's Allen Iverson said: "I don't think it's good for the league - it kind of makes it fake."

But NBA commissioner David Stern said: "Some of my (team) owners are hip-hop, but they dress in a different fashion. Hip-hop doesn't mean sloppy."

Banned under the new code are headphones, chains, shorts, sleeveless shirts, indoor sunglasses, T-shirts and jerseys and headwear such as baseball caps.

Stern claimed he would be surprised if any suspensions resulted, adding: "We're not going to be crazy. We just want our players to dress up."

But Iverson attacked the new 'smart-casual' standard and said: "Guys wearing those clothes don't want to be wearing those clothes.

"You've got all these guys with different personalities. Everybody has their own style, and it's just unfair when you take that away from people."

NBA commissioner David Stern
We're looking at the spirit of the law, not the letter
NBA commissioner David Stern

He added: "They're targeting guys who dress like me, guys who dress hip-hop. Put a murderer in a suit and he's still a murderer. It sends a bad message to kids.

"I don't want to be the main focus in this whole thing. But I just think it's wrong and it's unfair. I think they went way overboard."

Stern, however, is adamant that the new dress code for public appearances, including arriving at and departing arenas and sitting on the bench out of uniform, will be adhered to.

"The way that you will get suspended is if you flat-out refuse to do something," he said.

"Teams will be responsible for enforcement. We're looking at the spirit of the law, not the letter."

Stern, won unlikely support from NBA great Charles Barkley, who had numerous run-ins with authority during his often controversial career.

He told the Los Angeles Times newspaper: "Black kids dress like NBA players but don't get paid like NBA players.

"So when they go out in the real world, what they wear is held against them."

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