Paul Pierce was one of the players most vocal in his distaste for the dress code in 2005, accusing the league of specifically targeting its African-American players with the new rule.
“When I saw the part about chains, hip-hop and throwback jerseys, I think that’s part of our culture,” Pierce said. “The NBA is young black males.”
The dress code wouldn’t be the last time Pierce and the NBA butted heads over issues of race and culture, either. In 2008 the then-Celtic was fined $25,000 for allegedly flashing a gang sign at Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford during a playoff loss. Pierce claimed the “b” he threw up stood for “blood, sweat and tears”—a Celtics mantra—and had no relation to the Bloods of his hometown Inglewood, CA. In today’s NBA, a photo like the one above would probably cost The Truth another $25K, just for the ambiguous hand gesture he’s throwing up.