A fashion model accompanying photographer Reuben "Big Rube" Harley almost didn't get to see the 76ers season opener Thursday night, all because of the way she was dressed.
Harley, as you may know, made a name for himself in the 1990s as marketing director with Mitchell & Ness, when he helped popularize the throwback-jersey trend with rappers Jay Z and Sean "Diddy" Combs, among others. These days, when he's not photographing Philly residents for his popular Street Gazing blog, he works on various ad campaigns for companies such as Saxbys, or serves up his signature chicken and waffles at restaurant pop-ups at Moonshine, 1825 E. Moyamensing Ave.
But Thursday night, he was just another basketball fan with an entourage trying to get into the Wells Fargo Center to watch the Sixers take on the Chicago Bulls.
Harley made it through, but security blocked the entrance of the woman with him, Shaliah Rismay, saying she wasn't dressed properly.
That left Harley, a former Daily News freelance photographer, crying foul.
He has a point.
Since when does security get to sit in judgment of how a fan at the Wells Fargo Center dresses?
I checked with the Sixers. and there isn't an official dress code for games.
I checked the Wells Fargo Center's website and sifted through its rules for a mention of a dress code, but didn't see one. After repeated calls and texts to Wells Fargo Center's public relations office, I got a text back from Chelsey Scalese, who said, "A dress code is not something I am able to comment on at this time."
The night of the game, Rismay was wearing black, patterned Wolford pantyhose, a black leotard with a colorful Mickey Mouse image on front, 4-inch YSL pumps, and an over-size black leather jacket.
Granted, in that outfit, she looked more like a hip-hop starlet about to take the stage at a Made in America concert on the Parkway than the average sweatshirt-wearing fan queuing up for a cheesesteak at the Wells Fargo Center, but that's beside the point. The jacket she was wearing added a touch of modesty. because it was long enough to cover her hips.
It's not my idea of what one would wear to see a basketball game. I'm old school. Jeans or leggings would do it for me and my friends. We don't walk around in leotards and high heels. But then, we aren't being photographed, as Rismay was that night. And as she pointed out, "All my skin was covered."
This reminds me of an incident from two years ago, when singer Sevyn Streeter said she was told by the team she could not perform the national anthem because of her "We Matter" jersey. The team later apologized.
Last week's standoff at the door didn't end until after Harley went into a nearby gift shop and purchased a hoodie for her to wear over her outfit. Then and only then was Rismay permitted into the game.
"It was embarrassing for all of us," recalled Simon "One Punch" Carr, who was with Harley that night. "They called the police…. All eyes were on us. They were looking at us like we stole something."
While at the Wells Fargo Center, Harley took photos of Rismay posing with uniformed Sixers dancers, who also were wearing skimpy attire — booty shorts, fishnet pantyhose, and sneakers.
She was as scantily dressed as they were. So, if it's appropriate for the Sixers cheerleaders to perform in front of thousands dressed in skimpy attire, then why is it not OK for a female fan to be similarly dressed?
I think the Sixers and the Wells Fargo Center owe Rismay and her friends an apology.