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Should NBA coaches completely abandon suits?

Doc Rivers and the Clippers coaching staff seem comfortable with the new dress code.

New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

One of the new aesthetics of basketball in the NBA bubble is that coaches no longer have a dress code. Rather than being required to wear suits, head coaches and their staffs can go casual, and even though they’re dressing down, the fashion has been far more interesting.

For one, when coaches wear suits, they tend to go with dull options, like black or grey. Players who sit on the bench get dolled up (I’m immediately thinking of Jusuf Nurkic’s mustard and plaid suits), but coaches are far conservative. Now that the constraints of wearing a suit have been lifted, however, the looks are actually more interesting. Coaches have been promoting social justice, like Nick Nurse with his “Vote” sweatshirt, or just wearing brighter colors.

I didn’t love the purple stripes look the Sacramento Kings coaches adopted during one of their exhibitions, but at least it’s something to talk about.

Sacramento Kings v Miami Heat
Let’s just say this look was a swing and a miss.
Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

What’s also fun about the coaches abandoning suits is now they get to match. Even if coaching staffs were generally choosing from the same color palette before, now they look like they’re in uniform, which lends an extra sense of camaraderie on the team bench. It also lets the coaches wear team gear.

It has always been enjoyable to see coaches in Hawaii don local shirts, like the Clippers did this preseason, and part of the magic is that they’re all doing it together.

Sydney Kings v LA Clippers
Don’t they all look great in the same shirt?
Photo by Jay Metzger/NBAE via Getty Images

The Clippers used this concept to great effect in their last seeding game against New Orleans, and the salmon polos were a hit. That pop of color really livens up a bench.

Doc Rivers has previously joked that he would prefer NBA coaches to follow baseball protocol and dress like the players, though he quickly backed away from those comments when he started to imagine specific coaches adhering to those rules. Casual attire seems to suit Rivers just fine, even if he plans to wear a suit should the Clippers play in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

“It’s nice, I get dressed quicker,” Rivers said on a Zoom call with the media Monday. “I don’t have to tie a tie, match a suit. It’s been fantastic, honestly. Wearing either the polo shirts or the zip jackets, you know, it’s been really nice. We are on the sideline anyway, no one should be looking at us to begin with, so I think it’s been great.”

I quibble with Rivers’ assertion that he has to match a suit since he exclusively wears white button-downs, which go with everything, or that no one is looking at the coaches since I’ve given it a great deal of though, but the point about comfort stands. In general, coaches are enjoying their newfound freedom, though Taylor Jenkins told the AP he spent a lot of money on suits this past summer to not be wearing them.

Ties are already on the way out, so why not suits as well? Coaches seem to sweat through their suits so frequently that it only seems logical to give them a more breathable option on the sidelines. Furthermore, the current rule only applies to male coaches. As women become more prominent on NBA staffs, the rule will be less relevant. The league might as well let it go now.

I think it’s time for the NBA to relax its coaching dress code. Do you agree?


Do you like the bubble attire of NBA coaches?

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  • 86%
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