In a bit of cultural analysis that rivals that time they tried to explain beer bongs, our staid daily newspaper has run three -- count 'em -- three separate stories and videos wondering why those gosh darn crazy kids on the Miami Heat keep wearing all those "wacky" outfits.
To wit: "From bright-colored bow ties, to frames that would give Steve Urkel a run for his money, it's clear," the daily newspaper intoned on Tuesday. "The obnoxious fashion of the NBA is officially out of control, and it appears Dwyane Wade is leading the pack."
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa...hang on there.
If there is one thing Dwyane Wade most positively is not: It's Steve Urkel.
Then, in a separate story, the newspaper audibly gasps at Dwyane Wade's "cringe-worthy" outfits.
It began late last week, when Dwyane Wade donned a Versace floral-print jacket.
Hmmmmmmm...? went the newspaper. "Maybe the idea is to so bedazzle the sports writers' deeply repressed sense of style," wrote Rob Stafford Hagwood. "And bring it to the frontal lobes of their brains and thereby moving all the hard questions to the...oh I don't know...the medulla oblongata or something."
Yes, Rob... the medulla oblongata.
We can only assume these sorts of stories are intended to reach the Sentinel's (presumably) old(er) readers who fondly recall the days when basketball stars like Michael Jordan exclusively wore suits the way men -- goddammit -- are supposed to wear suits: obscenely over-sized and rectangular.
This can only be referred to as the Charles Barkley complex, which spurred him and that other bald ogre Shaq to refer to the Miami Heat as the "worst dressed team in the NBA."
But the Sentinel, too, is atwitter, splashing Wade's look above the fold yesterday. Are those polka dots? And capri pants? The answer is yes. And they look good.
(Well, not really, but that's not the point.)
The point is that Wade's bold sense of fashion represents the sort of iconoclasm that most professional athletes lack. The most cherished word in the sporting vernacular is tradition. Young players need respect for the game. Everything about professional sports -- and more particularly, the way they're commentated -- perpetuates this aesthetic.
Old and overweight former players chide modern generations that they must respect the tradition of the game -- which means doing everything exactly the same way.
Wade doesn't want to wear relentlessly hideous suits like Michael Jordan or Charles Barkley. He doesn't want to dress like an old man. Because he isn't.
Even if the Sentinel wants him to be.