P.J. Tucker Responds to NBA Banning Tunnel Walk in Orlando
P.J. Tucker isn't afraid to make an entrance. The Rockets' small-ball center has established himself as one of the league's premier fashion trendsetters in recent seasons, relishing the opportunity to show off his latest looks in pregame tunnel walks through NBA arenas. But there won't be any fashion shows before games in Orlando.
The NBA is effectively banning the fashionable tunnel walk for the remainder of the 2019-20 season, according to ESPN's Nick DePaula. The league's new protocol reportedly demands players come to games "in uniform and warm-ups when they arrive." Photographers will still be present when players enter the arena, though all players will be "outfitted in the same team-issued warm-ups," per DePaula.
Tucker addressed the alteration in NBA policy on Sunday.
"It just doesn't feel NBA to me," Tucker told DePaula. "It wasn't even about the tunnel walk, it was more about getting dressed up and going to work. To me, it's like a mindset, getting dressed and getting ready to go to my game. It puts me in the mindset that I'm ready to work and helps me find my focus."
The NBA's new policy could provide players with a sense of déjà vu in Orlando. Tucker compared the players arriving in warmups to his time as an AAU athlete before attending Texas from 2003-06.
"Getting dressed at the hotel now will feel like an AAU tournament," Tucker said. "It's AAU Nationals, it's the Nike Super Showcase and one of those [tournaments] that we used to play in back in the day. I'm not feeling it."
Tucker and the Rockets arrived in Orlando on Thursday before holding a pair of practices this weekend. Houston will hold a trio of scrimmages in the coming weeks before it resumes the 2019-20 season on July 31. Tip-off against the Mavericks is slated for 8 p.m. CT.