Whenever I mention that I played softball for ten years, I always hear, “But you don’t look like a lesbian.” Cool, thanks? Despite my scrawny arms, I was a serious jock growing up. I played volleyball and basketball along with softball. I’ve always been into watching sports, but this season I started going to LA Clippers games at least one a week. I’m pretty sure I go for the love of the sport, but those nachos with that cheap-ass melted cheese are freaking delicious.
So anyway, besides figuring out how to be a basketball wife (kidding, but not really), it’s fun to follow the players on Instagram and watch their press conferences because the clothes they wear are FABULOUS.
In the ’90s, players dressed very modestly, mostly sticking to tailored suits. In the early 2000s, basketball was becoming more and more synonymous with hip-hop. Allen Iverson started wearing baggy pants and cornrows, and the rest of the players followed suit. In 2005, NBA Commissioner David Stern had to be a huge bummer and implement a dress code. Most say he was afraid of corporate sponsors not wanting to work with athletes who looked like the Wu-Tang Clan (something you could maaaaybe say came off as possibly racist).
The players were kinda pissed, but also didn’t want to lose their millions of dollars, so they all obliged. They have been getting progressively more stylish, even to the point of fully embracing the term “Geek Chic.” They went from dressing like Stefan to Urkel.
Here are my favorites:
Dwayne Wade, 32, Miami Heat
Here he is in the 2006 issue of GQ, wearing fairly normal, but still high fashion, clothing: Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Armani.
Here he is last year during the playoffs:
And my favorite, the flip glasses:
Kevin Durant, 25, Oklahoma City Thunder
He is truly taking fashion to the next level. He wears a backpack to press conferences. FOR NO REASON.
Here he is wearing a ridiculous printed shirt with a backpack covered in stacks of cash.
Look how adorable he is!
Lebron James, 29, Miami Heat
Lebron is definitely more hip-hop chic than geek chic. He looks good in pretty much anything:
These leather pants are amazing:
Blake Griffin, 25, LA Clippers
I can’t leave my favorite player off this list. His style isn’t crazy by any means, but he always looks put together and cute. I touched Blake’s arm two weeks ago and I haven’t washed my hand since, just like Marcia Brady after Davy Jones kissed her. Nothing weird or unsanitary about that at all.
Here’s a photo I took of him backstage at the UCB theater wearing J Brand jeans (yes, I looked at his butt) and the most adorable jacket and Converse shoes:
Russell Westbrook, 25, Oklahoma City Thunder
Of course I saved the best for last. This guy has sat next to Anna Wintour at runway shows during New York Fashion Week. Not since Dennis Rodman has a basketball player worn whatever the f*ck he wanted, no matter how crazy it is.
Here he is channeling Sally Jesse Raphael and dads in general, wearing red framed glasses (no lenses) and a shirt with fishing hooks printed all over it:
Here’s Russell at a fashion show wearing black tights. No idea.
Did I mention he LOVES capris?!?! Because he does:
Just to put things into perspective, here is a photo of what Charles Barkley used to wear in the ’90s:
Are those Umbros?!?
NBA fashion is undeniably entertaining and I love that the players are expressing themselves through their personal style. I love when men are fashion conscious. The more stylish, the better!