10 Most Important Ways David Stern Changed The NBA

9. The Dress Code

NBA Bench
Wikimedia Commons

Prior to Stern’s involvement with the NBA and its council, a less-than favourable image had blighted the League, leading to a concentrated and persistent effort on his part to highlight its need for change. Stern wasted little time embedding himself into the NBA’s culture upon his joining the league’s General Counsel. Making it abundantly clear that a hallmark of his legacy was to be a systemic change in how the Association was presented to the masses, yet reach the heart and soul of the casual fanatic with its family appeal.

Playing a pivotal role in steering the NBA from an image of substance abuse and playground antics, Stern imposed what would soon be revealed to be a much welcomed and embraced change to something none before him had considered - a Dress Code.

Following the Malice at the Palace in 2004, Commissioner Stern chose to tackle the League’s image woes head on, imposing a new Code of Dress, which saw players donning attire deemed more professional and business appropriate. He stated that if players were to dress more professionally, then they would be viewed more professionally.

This turned out to be a masterstroke. Having anticipated a combative response to his notion, Stern was happy to discover a league-wide acceptance of the change - a change that has since spawned a plethora of outlets for players to build their personal brands, with fashion becoming an integral part of the exposure a player can have - as Player Branding and Marketing has grown exponentially since then.


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