Hurricane Geek Chic Threatens to Slam into Arkansas’ Sportscape

Coach can bench a star player, sure. But he can’t bench a trend centered on cardigans, oversized glasses, plaid socks and Lilliputian backpacks. (courtesy Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

Before Monday night’s rout of some Division IV team named Lemoyne-Owen, Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson announced the state’s best basketball player had been suspended for breaking team rules.

Afterward, Anderson refused to tell the public why he sidelined his preseason All-American B.J. Young  for two games.

If this had happened ten years ago, it would have been quite clear to onlookers Young was breaking unspecified rules of another sort.

On the bench during Arkansas’ 111-45 win over Lemoyne, Young wore a tucked-in pink polo shirt buttoned to the very top, accented by thick-rimmed baby blue glasses. Rewind a decade, and if Young had gone in public looking like this – like Fresh Prince’s Carlton Banks – his teammates would have razzed him to no end.

2002 was a different sartorial world, though. Allen Iverson was basketball’s most popular player, and his style – gold chains, baggy pants, backward caps – had been forming for decades. You’d seen it hit mass cultural conscience through the raphip-hop scene, yes, but before surfacing on MTV it had long brewed in streets of America’s largest cities and the giant prison complexes far away from them.

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