NBA tells LeBron to hang up the Black Mask | History of NBA Uniform fines


The memes were fun while it lasted.  Really really fun, but Commission Gordon (Silver) is telling the King to hang up the black mask and find a league-approved clear one.

via ESPN

“It is our understanding LeBron used the black mask because a clear one he was comfortable with wasn’t ready,” NBA spokesman Tim Frank said.

James appealed the decision and is still trying to get clearance to wear the black mask because he likes the lightness and fit of it, a source said. He also said he liked the style and how it matched the Heat’s black throwback uniforms.

LeBron said he would comply and stop wearing the mask just like Kobe and Kyrie Irving did in the past but after looking at the results of players wearing black masks I would think more players would want to try one on. Kyrie Irving scored a career-high 41 in Gotham City with it and Kobe Bryant averaged over 30 points while looking like Zorro.


One thing the NBA has been consistent with is telling players what they can and can not wear and with the exception of Michael Jordan, most comply.

  • 1985: David Stern told MJ that the black and red on his Jordan shoes didn’t match the white that his teammates were wearing.  Jordan kept wearing them so David Stern issued a $5k fine for each game.  Not that MJ needed the financial help but Nike picked up the $410k tab.
  • 1995: The NBA fined Jordan $5k for ironically wearing his white Jordans instead of black shoes like the rest of the Bulls.  They also fined the Bulls $25k for letting him wear #23 instead of the #45 he was supposed to be wearing. The Bulls were warned that they would be fined that amount for each additional game but lucky for them the Orlando Magic prevented them from getting many more.

2 years later the NBA started a war with their players over the length of their shorts.

  • 1997: The NBA fined the TWolves $37,500 because KG, Marbury and three other teammates shorts were too long.  The NBA handbook said shorts need to be no longer than one inch above the knee.  The league then played school Principal and examined the rest of the league’s players and found at that Rasheed Wallace and Kelvin Cato were also guilty so Paul Allen got hit with a $25k fine.

TWolves VP Kevin McHale said `I’m sure one of our white, upper-middle-class people decided it was a gang thing, because they’re pretty hip with the gang scene.”

The reply from NBA VP Rod Thorn was “What we’re saying is, `You’re professionals now. You’re not on the playground anymore.”

The always outspoken Charles Barkley chimed in with “They’re nitwits,” he told the Rocky Mountain News about the NBA. “That’s what happens when you give people power. They don’t know what they’re doing. We have a lot more pressing problems than people worrying about the size of their shorts.”

  • 2001: The league fined Shaq, Kobe, McGrady and 5 other players for their long shorts.

“It’s ludicrous,” Dan Wasserman, a spokesman for the players’ union said. “We don’t even know by what means the fashion police are determining the violations, whether it’s videotape or a tape measure in the locker room or whatever.”

When Shaq was asked about the fine he pretended to cry and said “Would all the kids then wear John Stockton shorts? No, they wouldn’t. They would laugh at me, and I wouldn’t be their favorite player anymore. I’d be the laughingstock of big men.”

  • 2005: The league fined 13 more players $10k each for wearing shorts that were too long. The fined players included Iverson, Stephon Marbury (again) and Kevin Ollie. Yes, I found a way to mention Kevin Ollie with those other guys.  The NBA also fined the teams $25k for each player too.

2 years later, Kobe and the Lakers played Kevin Garnett and the Boston Celtics wearing John Stockton shorts.

“I don’t know what it feels like to wear a thong, but I imagine it feels something like what we had on in the first half,” Kobe said. “I felt violated. I felt naked. It’s one thing to see films with guys wearing those things. … I’d rather stay warm, man.”



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