Today, you can’t walk into a post-game press conference without feeling you’ve stepped onto the runway at Fashion Week. NBA games have become some of the most anticipated fashion shows of the season as the league returns to its deep-seated tradition of having players with style. Who can forget the 60s and 70s when the legendary Walter “Clyde” Frazier completely changed the way players dressed: tailored suits, floor-length mink coats, and his wide-brimmed hats no matter the weather.
He exuded the ultimate male ideal (for black men especially) in the form of the player or mack daddy and it wasn’t long before others began to emulate his effortless style. Even now as a commentator he still wows in his custom blazers in every pattern and color imaginable.
Players cared what they looked like then, but with the dawn of product placement and multi-million dollar endorsement deals, players lost a lot of that uniqueness and style.
(above: Walter "Clyde" Frazier)
Instead, they started stepping into the interview room looking more like walking advertisements. Headband: Nike, shoes: Jordan, underwear: Under Armour, loss of individuality: PRICELESS.
In recent years there’s been a paradigm shift. With the numerous public appearances many players make, having a polished and unique look is essential. Today’s basketball superstars have traded in their Nike t-shirts and Jordans for Givenchy and Balmain button downs and Versace slippers. This comes as a result of many athletes having crossed over into other ventures outside of their sport. Many head their own charitable foundations, clothing lines and restaurants, to name a few, and opportunities for players to gain even bigger advertising bucks are aplenty. Having a unique look and style is great for your brand as a player on and off the court.
(above: Steph Curry for his 2017 GQ cover spread, below: Russell Westbrook)
Nobody does it better in my opinion than style stars in the making: Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry. These superstars have developed effortless personal style without even breaking a sweat.