UA coach a model for friends in NBA

By: Bob Holt
Published: Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Arkansas Coach Eric Musselman and his staff elected to wear polo shirts and slacks instead of suits throughout their first season with the Razorbacks. Now Musselman’s friends on NBA staffs are looking to him for tips on more casual attire. 
(AP file photo)
Arkansas Coach Eric Musselman and his staff elected to wear polo shirts and slacks instead of suits throughout their first season with the Razorbacks. Now Musselman’s friends on NBA staffs are looking to him for tips on more casual attire. (AP file photo)

— When the NBA resumes play July 30 in Orlando, Fla., the coaching staff attire will take a page from Eric Musselman's fashion book.

Musselman, the University of Arkansas basketball coach, and his assistant coaches and staff members all wear matching polo shirts for games.

With the NBA teams all playing in their bubble at the Walt Disney Resort, the dress code of wearing suits is being relaxed for the coaches, and they are allowed to wear polo shirts.

Musselman -- a former NBA head coach with Golden State and Sacramento, and an assistant coach with Minnesota, Orlando, Atlanta and Memphis -- praised NBA Commissioner Adam Silver for letting the coaches dress more casually.

"It's just brilliant that Adam Silver came out in the press that they are allowed to wear a polo," Musselman said. "In all honesty, once you do it, they are probably not going to want to go back to suits.

"I'm not going to name the two NBA head coaches that asked me about it, but I did get two text messages from NBA coaches that asked what it was like. I think they are really going to like it. The fans are going to like it, too, when they watch on TV. It's a good look."

Musselman wore suits when he coached in the NBA. He switched to polos when he coached at Nevada and continued to wear them when he was hired at Arkansas.

"Nobody's trying to out-dress another guy on the staff," Musselman said about everyone being in matching shirts for games. "I think it's a lot less ego when everybody wears a polo, because it's like your staff uniform.

"Everyone wears the same thing from the head coach to the grad assistants. Everybody looks the same, just like your players do."

Musselman said wearing polos also will show which NBA coaches have done a good job of working out.

"We're going to find out who's in good shape," he said. "Sometimes those suits and ties hide a lot. You can't really hide in a polo. Those NBA coaches that are in poor physical condition, it will show up. Those that are in incredible physical condition, it will show up as well."

Musselman has been talking to his friends in the NBA about more than polos. With college teams beginning preseason practices this week, Musselman said he has been reaching out to some NBA coaches about how their practices have gone leading into the resumption of the season, which was suspended March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"There are certain people in the NBA that I talk to all the time," Musselman said. "The Clippers and the Bucks being the two organizations I talk to the most."

Clippers Coach Doc Rivers was Orlando's coach when Musselman was an assistant coach with the Magic. Musselman said he also knows other members of the Clippers' staff. Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham played for Atlanta when Musselman was an assistant coach with the Hawks.

"A couple of guys with [the Clippers] I'm talking to daily," Musselman said. "I'm constantly asking them just how their workouts have been conducted and what they're learning.

"Certainly once games start taking place, then we'll really have to try to figure out what worked well and maybe what some of the challenging things were."

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