Dressing Down

What an interesting feature that appears on the front page of NBA.com when I log in this morning: a story lauding Allen Iverson for his decade of play with the 76ers, in which he is described as the toughest player, pound-for-pound, in the league.

Why do I find this so interesting, you may ask? Is it because I disagree?

Certainly not. I have described Iverson before on sportsBabel as a "warrior, a tiny body slammed to the hardwood about a half dozen times every evening, as routine as the teevee fan at home slamming the fridge door with a coldie in hand." His toughness has never been in question, as far as I am concerned.

What I do find interesting, though, is the timing of the piece as well as the articles that link from its byline. It is no secret that Iverson has been among the most vocal opponents to the new NBA player dress code. For the NBA to all of sudden have this mollifying tribute article to Iverson with contextual links on the cover photo for the "Sharp Dressed Gallery" and "GQ fashion tips" seems disingenuous at best.

With regard to the photo, what an excellent choice from the NBA archives! If the league controls what clothing one is able to wear (the extended skin), then the only forum left for personal expression is the actual skin — that is, the canvas for the tattoos that many individuals sport.

Although Iverson possesses one of the most decorated dermas in all of professional sport, the photo is shot at such an angle that there is nary a tattoo to be seen. In the only place where one might see a tattoo — on Iverson's deltoid muscle — the shadow of the basket's mesh perfectly blocks it out, despite the fact that the shadow doesn't cross over onto his jersey, or even that the light source appears to be coming from the wrong direction to produce such a shadow intensity. An excellent choice.

Says the vectoralist: control all vectors of representation to seize power in the market.

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