|11-21-2001, 12:27 PM||#1|
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I'm still laughing on this one.
Tuesday, November 20
Who wears short shorts? Not these nine players
LOS ANGELES -- Freeze! Raise those shorts.
Yep, the NBA fashion police have returned, fining nine players $5,000 each for wearing their shorts too low during games.
Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant of the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers were among the players fined, along with Tracy McGrady of the Orlando Magic and Nick Van Exel of the Denver Nuggets, according to two league sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Stu Jackson, an NBA vice president and the league's disciplinarian, sent a letter to the teams informing them of the fines, the sources said.
The NBA requires game shorts to be at least an inch above the knee. The rule last made the news in 1997 when the league thought the baggy, hip-hop look of uniforms was getting out of hand. But after a rash of fines that season, the league hadn't handed out many until this month.
O'Neal seemed amused, saying he didn't want to wear "John Stockton shorts," referring to the 39-year-old Utah guard who wears his shorts a little shorter and tighter than most of the younger players.
"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 any more. I'd be the laughingstock of big men," O'Neal added, dabbing his eyes with a paper towel to pretend he was crying.
The Lakers' center then pulled his shorts up so high they covered the bottom half of his No. 34.
After wearing his trunks higher than usual during the Lakers' victory over the Clippers on Tuesday, O'Neal was singing a different tune, albeit jokingly: "If they want me to wear John Stockton shorts, I will."
The story was first reported by The Sports Business Daily, which said the fines were for games Nov. 10-11.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank confirmed the fines Tuesday, but he wouldn't identify the players.
"It's a rule we enforce to protect the integrity of the uniform," Frank said.
Lakers coach Phil Jackson called it a "hemming problem."
"They're (the league) saying, `OK, how about giving me one inch. Take it up an inch and we're OK,"' Jackson said. "Just don't have it below the knee."
Dan Wasserman, a spokesman for the players' union, said the fines probably will be appealed.
"It's ludicrous," he 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."
The other players fined, according to the sources, were: Andrew DeClerq of Orlando; Eric Piatkowski, Quintin Richardson and Jeff McInnis of the Los Angeles Clippers; and Dana Barros of the Detroit Pistons.
Going into Tuesday night's game against the Lakers, Piatkowski said he would make an adjustment, since all the shorts are the same length and it will take a while to get new ones.
"So they had to order more shorts. But in the meantime, what are we supposed to do?" the Clippers' guard said. "If we're not supplied with gear that's up to standards, maybe instead of just fining guys, you need to go and find out if we even have stuff that fits right.
"As of right now, I'm just rolling my shorts at the waistband."
SFX Sports Group's Arn Tellem, who represents Bryant and McGrady, said, ""I think the NBA's priorities are misplaced, and they treat the players like children."
Steve, Forum Administrator
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