You know something shifted the culture when Netflix makes a documentary about it, right?
Here’s what we have with the Untold series on Netflix which highlights the never before heard true story of what happened on November 19, 2004. This day was an eventful one, to say the least, it changed the landscape of the NBA forever. The 90s and early 2000s was just the time of great change in general. We saw a huge shift in how we consume pop culture due to rapid changes in technology. Hip-Hop/Rap music, style, and fashion was beginning to bleed over into mainstream pop culture.
The NBA was not exempt from this shift in pop culture. We started to see more players embracing the culture in their style of play, fashion, and even making hip-hop/rap music themselves. Ron Artest who many would say was the main reason why the brawl broke out is the perfect example of this. Ron being from Queens, New York was no different than anybody growing up during this period himself being a lover of hip-hop started his rap career. How could he not be through so many greats coming from his neighborhood and New York is the birthplace of Hip-Hop right? Well, the NBA didn’t know how to handle this sudden change in the representation of their players and to be honest it’s safe to say they were waiting for an incident like this to happen so they could for lack of better words control their players.
The Malice at the Palace resulted in a massive change in league protocols but the biggest change of all was the “NBA Dress Code” that was implemented on October 17, 2005. Gone were the days where you could wear your favorite throwback jersey, do-rags, large jewelry, and baggy clothes which was the style back then to the game. The dress code implemented by David Stern was noteworthy because the NBA became the first major professional league to implement a dress code. The new dress code essentially banned fashion items that are often associated with hip-hop culture. This resulted in pushback from players like Allen Iverson, Stephen Jackson, and Paul Pierce who claimed that the dress code will not change a person’s character which it’s safe to say they were right.
The “NBA Dress Code” was able to accomplish something that David Stern couldn’t even foresee. His decision to alter the way the players who represented the NBA on and off the court dressed single handily changed menswear fashion forever. The NBA now is seen as a league progressive league in many ways. Players who originally pushed back on the dress code have now made basketball and fashion synonymous with each other. Now don’t get me wrong the NBA and the basketball world have seen their fair share of fashionable people over the years one that comes to mind from an older era is Walt “Clyde’ Frazier.
Today, you see NBA players as real influencers in the fashion world. The tunnel from the parking garage to the locker room is their runway to showcase what they are rocking. Instagram page @leaguefits highlights this the best and shows how far fashion and basketball have grown together.
If you have time, I recommend everyone check out Netflix's Untold: Malice at the Palace - it finally tells the story from the players who were involved perspective. It also highlights how important mental health awareness is and how far that has come in the NBA as well. Commissioner as a brand was directly inspired by these two important moments in the NBA’s history. Our brand is for the culture and will always be.