NBA dress code fashion of the season

ERIN NICKS -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:57 AM ET

It seems David Stern decided to implement a dress code for the NBA before Allen Iverson lost all control and wore a diamond-encrusted BMW transmission around his neck during the next 76ers news conference. Good for him.

Personally, I couldn't care less what a player wears off the ice, court or diamond. Seeing Steve Francis in a Versace suit won't make me forget the way he shafted Vancouver. A gabardine coat won't cause me to like Darcy Tucker any more or hate him any less. Essentially, the outer wrapping has nothing to do with the package.

But it did make me think that perhaps a dress code is in order -- for the fans.

I'm not saying we need to revert to the spats and fur coats seen at the Montreal Forum in the '40s, but some of us are in dire need of a sports fashion makeover.

Charles Barkley once said, "No man over the age of 30 should be wearing throwbacks." True, but there are a few exceptions -- Winnipeggers are entitled to all the Jets gear they can handle. If you're from Duluth and can name at least three members from the 1968-69 North Stars, then go ahead and put on the green and gold.

Other age-appropriate behaviour: In my book, seeing a middle-aged man sporting a mitt at a baseball game qualifies as a murder defence.

Judge; "Young lady, how do you plead?''

Me: ''Not guilty, your honour. I lost control. He just looked so stupid standing there, jostling for Triple-A foul balls. I needed to put him out of his misery."

Judge: "Case dismissed."

Remember the San Francisco Twinkie defence? Same thing. Don't let me catch you doing it.

Thou shall limit yourself to one piece of bandwagon gear and be prepared to explain your choice. I went with a John Elway jersey, after listening to the Green Bay Packers run their mouths for two weeks going into Super Bowl XXXII. I deemed it versatile, as it simultaneously demonstrated my love for horses and underdogs.

Never tuck in a hockey sweater, wear a No. 69 on a softball jersey or customize any piece with a personal nickname. You'll look like you should be wearing a helmet for all the wrong reasons.

Humour is a fine line. "Ca$hin" jerseys were amusing for about a nanosecond. I once had to talk the boyfriend out of putting "Muckalt 17" on a Sens sweater. If you need to say it, do it on bristol board ... or after your fourth Keith's. Both are less expensive.

And finally, don't express your sports love through your children's clothing after the age of 5. If they like the Dolphins because of the team's colours or Montreal because of Youppi, go with it. Subliminal brainwashing has produced enough Leafs, Red Sox, Yankees and Cowboys fans to inhabit a dozen planets.

As for those Maple Leafs jerseys -- they seem to be missing something. Perhaps a flammable liquid of some sort.

mile high questions: My beloved Denver Broncos are getting little respect from anyone. Some would say that a 5-1 record, combined with a win against the Patriots, validates their position. They barely kept Tom Brady from mounting a comeback last week and obviously this isn't the same New England team of yore. And while Mike Shanahan remains a master of manipulating the RB depth chart, there's still the question of what he can do sans John Elway in the playoffs.

MISSING IN ACTION: Has Chris Kelly's picture appeared on the side of a milk carton yet? He has been virtually invisible in the Senators lineup. And with smaller, speedier players in demand on all teams, it makes you wonder why C Steve Martins is stuck twiddling his thumbs in Binghamton.

ANIMATED REACTION: After the Hal Gill incident, what is Martin Havlat's new nickname? ''Bobby Hill.'' Remember that episode of King of the Hill where a bullied Bobby signs up for a women's self-defence course? The first (and only) lesson he learns is to kick men in the groin while screaming, ''That's my purse! I don't know you!'' (Aside -- A late entry worthy of second place: ''Martin Havlatica.'')

CLEAR VISION: Detroit's Kris Draper has decided to sport a visor full-time after a number of close calls. Draper was 34 when he came to his senses. If any of these older players wait much longer, Oakley is going to need to produce a bifocal model.

erinnicks@yahoo.ca


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