NBA Season Restart 2019-20

Disney World Diary: Every day is Casual Friday on the NBA campus

At the NBA reboot, everyone is keeping up by dressing down

ORLANDO — Hello, it must be Monday. Or Tuesday. Wednesday perhaps? The days at Disney all run very Groundhog-ish. You have to check the calendar at sunrise to be sure.

The one weekday that many people on the outside always awaited was Friday, especially Casual Fridays, back when people actually went into the office, which sounds very 2019-ish.

Here at the NBA campus, every day is Casual Friday. Which means, almost nobody’s in business attire. First of all, the Florida humidity highly discourages anything that buttons to the collar. Plus, the vibe here was set right from the start: Keep things casual. And this policy extends to the NBA people who’d normally be in a suit. That’s the head coaches. And me.

The only time coaches ever dress down for an NBA game is during summer league, and since this 2019-20 season is indeed stretching deep into summer — and speeding toward fall, FYI — the rule regarding bench attire was relaxed. Therefore, the coaches are all in golf shirts, which seems right for someone like Doc Rivers, since the Clippers’ coach has spent almost all of his free time on Disney’s three golf courses. Rivers is such a golfaholic that he’s only slightly less concerned about how he shoots on the course than how the Clippers shoot in games.

The sartorial standard here has been wholeheartedly endorsed by the coaches, who seem relieved to be free of the dress shirts and sport coats and pants that stifle movement. Mike Budenholzer of the Bucks and a few others have mentioned how comfortable they feel and wonder if the suit rule might be optional when the NBA returns to normal.

This is a switch. For years, NBA coaches gravitated to suits, if only because it set them apart from their counterparts in the NFL and Major League Baseball. Can you imagine Pat Riley or Chuck Daly, a pair of Hall of Fame clotheshorses, willingly choosing to dress down?

With the heads-up about the casual attire, I dressed smartly for this long trip, packing for a typical Disney World experience rather than a business Disney World experience. Which means I left plenty of social distance between me and my suits. That leaves me with mixed emotions. Being separated from my suit and tie isn’t very different from a player being stripped of his jersey.

Me and suits go together like plaids and solids whenever I’m at work, which non-sports reporters surely get a good laugh at, because the assumption is this work is really fun and games. Well, perhaps to an extent in their eyes. Being on the job requires a certain cosmetic standard even if it’s done in a gym, but these aren’t normal times and the NBA reboot isn’t being held under normal conditions.

That leaves me sad if only because we’d all love to resume our regular routines. And those suits cost me good money. My arms are long, so most of my suits are tailored, and as much as I might plead my case to Steve Quintana, my otherwise solid supervisor would never entertain any thoughts of giving me a wardrobe allowance, so I’ve never bothered to ask.

So the suits stayed home. It’s all about golf shirts and shorts. Every day is Friday at the NBA reboot, where everyone is keeping up by dressing down.

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Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter .

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