When it comes to sneakers, the NBA has come a long way since the days of the "Banned" Air Jordan 1s. Back then, breaking the dress code resulted in a major fine, but now the NBA's sneaker policy has evolved with the culture and market. Players have pushed the boundaries of what you can hoop in from O.G. sneakers to luxury pairs, but fans aren't the only ones keeping an eye on what kicks are on feet. The NBA still closely monitors what players wear, and while the rules aren't as strict as they used to be, the league still requires that sneaker brands send in new colorways for approval.
This process is especially focused on special occasion sneakers like those worn duringholidays, opening nights, and in celebration of cultural events. Sports Illustrated caught up with NBA senior vice president of identity, outfitting, and equipment Christopher Arena to learn more about the league's current stance on sneakers. "And while the league approves the colors, they do keep a close watch on what players choose, requesting that sneaker companies submit all colorations and material changes for approval," said Arena. While we're sure that current and former business partnerships with big sneaker brands have played a role, it's still good to see the NBA embrace sneaker culture more.
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