Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is a huge fan of the NBA allowing coaches to dress down on the sideline rather than forcing them to wear suits in NBA games.
Spoelstra infamously had to borrow suits from the great Pat Riley when he became Miami’s head coach since he didn’t own a suit himself.
Now, it appears Spoelstra may be able to put the suits away for good. The NBA went to a more relaxed look for its coaches ever since the league’s Orlando, Fla. bubble in the 2019-20 season.
According to NBA insider Marc Stein, coaches prefer to keep that look going on the bench during games, and the league office is expected to make a firm ruling on the league’s coaching attire at the NBA’s annual coaches meetings.
“Sources say that NBA head coaches recently expressed through a leaguewide survey that their preference is to continue wearing team-branded apparel on benches during games rather than suits — as they have for the past two seasons following the introduction of casual attire during the Disney World bubble,” Stein wrote. “A firm ruling from the league office on whether it will back the continued use of quarter-zip tops and polo shirts for a third successive season is expected after the NBA holds its annual coaches meetings later this week in Chicago.”
Even though Spoelstra’s boss, Riley, is famous for his Armani suits, the Heat head coach clearly has his own feelings on the league’s dress code.
Back in 2020, Spoelstra told ESPN’s Zach Lowe why he prefers the polo look over suits, citing comfort and mobility as two of his main reasons.
“Spoelstra is almost afraid to say it out loud, but he prefers the polo look,” Lowe wrote. “’Pat would be shocked,’ Spoelstra said. ‘There is so much less to think about. I feel more mobile. The thing I hate most about suits is wearing dress shoes.’ Several head coaches echoed Spoelstra’s remark about how the casual look simplifies sartorial decision-making — and packing, a constant headache during normal times.”
No matter what he is wearing on the sideline, there’s no doubt that Spoelstra is one of the NBA’s best coaches. He has led Miami to the NBA Finals five times since taking over in the 2008-09 season, winning two NBA titles.
Last season, Spoelstra and the Heat earned the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and made the Eastern Conference Finals for the second time in three seasons.
With other coaches expressing the same desires as Spoelstra when it comes to attire, it’s hard to see the league forcing them to go back to wearing suits since the more comfortable look has been so successful since the bubble.