NBA bans “ninja-style” headbands for some reason

Kelly Oubre Phoenix Suns (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)
Kelly Oubre Phoenix Suns (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images) /

Last season NBA players wore “ninja-style” headbands, including one member of the Phoenix Suns, Kelly Oubre. Has Roger Goodell taken over the NBA?

In a throwback authoritative-for-the-sake-of-being-authoritative move, the NBA will ban “ninja-style” headbands this season, according to league spokesman Mike Bass, which means that the Phoenix Suns’ ‘Karate Papi’ lives no more.

The kung-fu look gained popularity last season, popularized by stars like Jimmy Butler, DeAaron Fox, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Jrue Holiday, amongst others.

However, the NBA, “didn’t want to cause disruption midseason,” so they didn’t intervene.

The league claimed competition committee members raised safety concerns about the size, length, and looseness of the headbands, a statement no human being could take seriously.

Mike Scott, strong advocate of the Karate Kid look, claims the NBA deemed the headbands, “too unprofessional,” which seems like a much more feasible characteristic old farts would attribute to the mundane accessory.

Kelly Oubre Jr. was the first Suns player to jump on the bandwagon, channeling his Karate Papi persona in a Los Suns uniform game against the Pelicans last season.

In a related story, players will also need to quit skateboarding on the sidewalk, stop walking through the lawn, and turn that hippity hop music down to a reasonable volume!

This is just the latest in a long history of the NBA playing fashion police. In 2005, the league implemented a business-casual dress code, the first of its kind for any major sports league.

We can list out the stated arguments for that decision, but most people understood it to be a direct attempt to weed out hip-hop culture, targeting apparel such as do-rags, jerseys, baggy jeans, and Timberland boots.

Some folks dubbed it, the “AI” rule because Allen Iverson was the poster boy for a look the NBA was trying to eradicate.

That policy has grown more lax over the years as fashion evolved into a world of $500 plain white T-shirts and $4,500 ugly sweaters; items young guys with more money than they know what to do with are way too eager to purchase.

However, Prada and Gucci haven’t been able to stop NBA curmudgeons from thwarting all trends. Over the years, the NBA has disallowed certain sneakers, logos in haircuts, black face masks, headphones, and perhaps the most puzzling of all trends: compression tights.

The NFL rightly gets dubbed the No Fun League for several rules seemingly created by old white executives to limit the expression of its young black employees.

Banning a type of headband takes a page directly from this line of thinking and is a the first major blow against what has been a fairly player-friendly Adam Silver era.

If Mike Scott is right and the league deemed the headband “too unprofessional,” then…why?

Seriously. Why?

Because there is 6 inches of fabric hanging off the back of an otherwise perfectly acceptable headband? It’s not like there are a slew of bad boys strolling the streets dressed like Liu Kang.

dark. Next. WHat if RIcky RUbio plays as well for the Phoenix Suns as he is for Spain?

At least in 2005 when the league cracked down on unprofessional dress, they were trying to rid the image of the Malice in the Palace brawl from the year prior. This just seems like a way distance basketball players from comparisons to…who? Bruce Lee?

The NBA needs to get out of its own way on this one. Reverse course. Fix this. Let Karate Papi live!