Just a few minutes in to the first quarter of last night’s Bulls-Pacers game, cameras cut to Joakim Noah on the Bulls bench where the Chicago All-Star big man was missing his third straight game due to plantar fasciitis. That’s when we saw Noah rocking one of the most Joakim Noah sideline looks you could ever hope to see — a black suit jacket over a maroon cardigan over a white v-neck t-shirt, with skinny jeans to boot. It was a great look, mostly because it screamed, “The NBA mandates that players not in uniform must wear a suit coat.” So funny, so Joakim Noah and actually a pretty chill, crunchy look.

That’s why it was a bummer when he showed up for the second half in a boring blue shirt and a different jacket. That’s also when we knew something was up. From ESPN’s Nick Friedell:

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah was escorted off the bench during the second quarter of Monday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers because of an issue the league office had with his wardrobe.

Noah, who missed his third consecutive game because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot, was sitting on the bench wearing a grey sweater, a black blazer and jeans before being asked to change. After the Bulls’ 111-101 defeat, Noah said wasn’t quite sure what the league was upset about regarding his wardrobe.

“I don’t even know really,” Noah said. “They told me I wasn’t dressed appropriately so I changed.” [...]

Noah then returned to the bench at the start of the second half wearing a blue-striped shirt. He also switched out of his black suit blazer and borrowed Randy Brown’s blue blazer. Apparently the sweater was the problem under the league’s fashion code of conduct.

So much about this is weird. It’s weird that Joakim Noah would be told to change out of his sweater when the league’s rules say that sweaters are OK as long as they’re worn with a sport coat, which is exactly what he had on. It’s weird that he changed jackets at all, when he could have just put his blue shirt on under his black jacket and been fine. And it’s super weird that 6-foot-11 Noah would opt for 6-foot-2 Randy Brown’s suit coat when doing so, though it certainly explains why Noah’s wrists were on full display during last night’s second half.

Personally, I think it’s just a case of Noah looking too cool for school. The NBA knows that a Bulls-Pacers game could be an ugly affair — both teams are top four in defensive efficiency despite the fact they each gave up over 100 points to each other — so they don’t want everyone’s focus on the cool-looking, 7-foot semi-samurai on the bench, which in turn calls for a change in to boring clothes. It’s a classic misdirection that turned out to be totally unneeded as this defensive battle ended up being a scoring festival the likes of which have never been seen.

But at least Noah knows the rules now, which means he’ll theoretically find ways to experiment within the confines of these regulations. I’m hoping for some more post-hippie-meets-Japanese-lookbook outfits, but I don’t want to take money out of his many pockets.