Fashion and sports have a lot in common. Not only for style but also as a way to manifest resistance and identity. Basketball Fashion became popular in the black community with a hip-hop influence. Black kids looked at players as inspirational personalities that could help them to embrace their identity.
The true connection between basketball and hip hop culture started back in 1984, “with Kurtis Blow referencing Julius Erving and Moses Malone in his hit single ‘Basketball’. National Basketball Association (NBA) players were a source of inspiration for the hip-hop artists of the day, which gave them an increased social influence and notoriety”, according to Charlie Dear, from GIVEMESPORT.
The long chains, baggy clothing, flat-brimmed hats, and du-rags that are symbolic of hip-hop started to develop ties to the NBA. With that in mind, Basketball fashion goes way beyond just clothing. It’s also about hairstyles.
Black power, cornrows, and box braids have been marginalized for decades, and they establish power and a sense of self. On the other hand, the hip-hop influence was targeted by a dress code.
NBA’s Dress Code
Some considered it as a dress code, others as racism and censure. Players from NBA had to follow several rules that former commissioner David Stern implemented in 2005. Summing it up, it limited the expression of hip-hop culture
The Golden State Warriors shooting guard Jason Richardson said that it “targeted blacks” in an interview with the Associated Press.
The dress code mandated players to wear “business casual attire” when participating in team or league activities. It prohibited “headgear of any kind”, as well as “chains, pendants, or medallions worn over the player’s clothes.” The dress code changed men’s fashion and players started wearing suits.
The NBA star Allen Iverson was seen as the main target of the NBA’s 2005 dress code. Also known as “the Answer” and “AI”, he played 14 seasons in the NBA at both the shooting guard and point guard positions. “They’re targeting my generation – the hip-hop generation,” Iverson claimed in a televised interview, according to Rolling Stone.
Sports personalities and protesting
Not only in basketball but the resistance culture also found a way to be more popularized in football. The ex NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick is known for kneeling during the US national anthem before games. He hasn’t played in the league since 2017.
The activist is always protesting against racial injustice and police brutality against black people. Colin Kapernick had as one of his sports idols Allen Iverson. Kaepernick accuses teams of plotting and not signing him after protesting racism during the US anthem.
In the Netflix series ‘Colin in Black and White’, Colin Kaepernick narrates this drama series recounting his formative years navigating race, class, and culture while aspiring for greatness.
The NBA is not just the most important basketball league, but also the most stylish league around. And, furthermore, its superstars are the most stylish group of athletes of all time, according to GQ Style Guy Mark Anthony Green.
Michael Jordan sneaker culture and LeBron James spearheading the shoe game shows how a cultural revolution. Overall, basketball fashion is very close to very high fashion. Besides that, basketball fashion is also street style because of hip-hop. Even with the censure, it still remains as a resistance fashion expression.