'We're going Johnny Cash': Why Jazz coaches will look a little bit like the Man in Black this season

Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder directs his team during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

(Rick Bowmer, AP Photo)



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SALT LAKE CITY — In the 1971 song "Man in Black," the late Johnny Cash sings, "Well, you wonder why I always dress in black. Why you never see bright colors on my back."

You could ask the same thing to Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder.

Life in the bubble got NBA coaches accustomed to wearing polo shirts to games instead of the regular suits due to the sideline attire rules being loosened. Those rules are mostly being kept into this season.

The league has mandated coaches should wear "business attire," which includes "dress shirts, pants, socks, and shoes." An exception, however, is made for polo shirts as long as those shirts are NBA-licensed and the entire coaching staff is wearing the same one.

"I voted, 'I don't care,'" Snyder said Wednesday before Utah's season-opening win over Portland. "I was neither yes or no. I'll wear what they tell me to."

But he doesn't necessarily like telling others what to wear. Since coaching staffs had to be uniform in the bubble too — Snyder couldn't wear a blue shirt when lead assistant Alex Jensen wore a black one — it fell to the Utah head coach to make sure everyone was wearing the right clothes. He didn't love that.

"I got tired in the bubble of having to tell everybody what color shirt to wear," Snyder said.

He had to inform all his coaches what shirt the staff was wearing that night. It's a simple thing, but when you're trying to figure out how to stop Jamal Murray from dropping 50 points, it can become, if not exhausting, slightly annoying.

"I have a hard enough time remembering what I'm going to wear," Snyder said. "And particularly on the road, packing becomes an issue."

So, Snyder has made things simple this season. The Jazz coaches are still opting to wear the polos, but it'll be a single outfit. The Jazz players will play in five sets of uniforms this year; the coaches will coach in one.

Inspired a bit by the original Man in Black, Snyder and Co. will be wearing all black — black pants and black polos — for every game this season.

"We're going Johnny Cash," Snyder said. "We're wearing black-on-black all year. That way no one can ever be wrong."

There's an added benefit, too.

"If I spill coffee on myself before the game, no one knows," Snyder joked.

The all-black attire has gotten the endorsement from Utah's fashion guru Jordan Clarkson (the Jazz sixth man has been regularly featured in GQ for his fashion sense).

"That's swag. I like it," he said of the black-on-black look. "I think it's pretty tight. They looked nice (on Wednesday)."

On Wednesday — and every game day coming up.

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Ryan Miller has covered the Utah Jazz for KSL.com since 2018.

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