In the NBA, Commissioner David Stern has announced a “business casual” dress code for all players, to be observed at arenas, at public appearances, and even on team flights. What’s in: slacks, sport coats, and dress shoes. What’s out: T-shirts, sunglasses and headphones while indoors, chains, medallions, and other assorted bling. The league posits that basketball players are professionals and should dress accordingly; various players and commentators counter with the argument that ballers and their fans are more closely related to hip-hop artists than management consultants, and that trying to dress them differently in an effort to change that relationship lies somewhere on a line between fussiness and racism.

Meanwhile, in the WNBA, Sheryl Swoopes — a three-time league MVP and three-time Olympic gold medliast — has come out of the closet in an interview with ESPN The Magazine. Lest you think that women’s sports is some kind of oasis of progressive attitudes, Penn State women’s basketball coach Rene Portland is at the center of a long-running controversy on her policies towards lesbians, real or perceived, in her program.

Basketball is a beautiful game, but what’s really great (or awful, or awfully great) about it is that it’s a space where issues of race, class, and gender collide and swirl around, conflicts and questions played out and mashed up on a stage for all to see.