Basketball: No fashion statements inside NBA bubble as action restarts this month

ORLANDO (Reuters) – According to an ESPN report Sunday night (July 12), players will be required to “be in uniform and warm-ups when they arrive” to the arena for their games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

The National Basketbal Association (NBA) season, which went into hiatus on March 11 owing to the coronavirus pandemic, is set to resume on July 30. On June 4, the NBA’s Board of Governors approved a competitive format for the comeback of the 2019-20 season with 22 teams returning to play and a start date later this month.

Despite the fact that player entrances into the arena and down the tunnel into the locker room have become popular pseudo-red carpet shows in the NBA, with some players using the opportunity to sport a variety of fashion styles, the NBA is telling players to get dressed in their full uniforms in their hotel rooms.

From there, per ESPN, photographers will be waiting as players arrive at the primary game court at HP Field House. The players will then go to the floor for pregame stretching and shooting.

According to ESPN, one factor behind the decision is that the team locker rooms at the arena do not have showers. Changing in close quarters without showering would be in conflict with the league’s desire to prioritise sanitation and social distancing, per the report. The league will have players leave the arena 40 minutes after the completion of their game and head back to their hotel.

Rockets guard PJ Tucker, one of the players most famous for his attire and his sneaker game, laughed when told of the plan.

“That is crazy,” said Tucker, according to the report.

“I think that takes away (from) originally what getting dressed was all about.

It wasn’t even about the tunnel walk, it was more about getting dressed up and going to work. To me, it’s like a mindset, getting dressed and getting ready to go to my game. It puts me in the mindset that I’m ready to work and helps me find my focus.”

“Getting dressed at the hotel now will feel like an AAU tournament,” he added.”It’s AAU Nationals, it’s the Nike Super Showcase and one of those (tournaments) that we used to play in back in the day. I’m not feeling it. It just doesn’t feel NBA to me, but it is what it is.” The report said that numerous players anticipate using their sneakers and customised masks to make their fashion statements.

The NBA plans to resume its season with a doubleheader on July 30 – Utah vs New Orleans and the Clippers vs Lakers in an all-Los Angeles battle – as 22 teams will be in Orlando to first play for postseason seeding and then compete in the 16-team playoffs.

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