At this point, the only thing NBA players want more than championship rings seems to be recognition for having unique fashion flare and a sharp sense of style. From the fashion-show oneupsmanship at postgame press conferences during the playoffs to the men's fashion magazine internships, as TBJ's Trey Kerby noted, it all seems to be getting a bit out of hand, but like it or not, looking good — or, failing that, looking interesting — has become a major point of emphasis for NBA stars.
So you'd have to figure that Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade and New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler will now have major-league bragging rights over their ball-playing peers, as the three NBA stars were included in GQ's year-end list of the 25 most stylish men of 2012. The iconic men's magazine picked 25 dudes who "got serious about taking risks and looking good" in Twenty-Doz; while those of us with a regrettable blogger's style might disagree about the "looking good" part, I think we can probably all agree that this year, NBA players (Westbrook, especially) started to get serious about "taking risks." Congratulations to these three men on their momentous achievement; way to go, fabric-clad athletic marvels.
That said: I think there are reasonable questions to be raised about either each player's style or the magazine's justification for their selection. And so — respectfully, briefly and in full recognition of the fact that I myself am nobody's idea of a fashion plate — I offer some thoughts in rebuttal:
24. Russell Westbrook
Westbrook may get flack for his more adventurous postgame looks, but the Thunder player isn't just about loud prints. The man knows how clothes should fit, and we have to applaud any guy not afraid of working pattern into his wardrobe — even if he did not, as he claims, "invent wearing glasses."
REBUTTAL: Russell Westbrook's pants look too short.
With long pants and shoes that are not, like espadrilles or slippers or loafers, I shouldn't be able to see his ankles, should I? Or, if you're going to do that, shouldn't the pants have some kind of cuff, like the jeans Wade's rocking in the photo at the top of this post (which I also find somewhat off-putting)? Or is that totally OK now, and it just looks weird in this context because all three other guys Westbrook's standing next to are all wearing long pants that reach their shoes? Fashion is hard.
I suppose it is possible that he is right, they are wrong, I am wrong and we are in a pro-ankle society; after all, we live in a world where we are just breezing past those "more adventurous postgame looks" like Russell Westbrook didn't look kind of like a crazy person, and where we're treating the claim that he invented wearing glasses like that is not crazy. All bets are off in this topsy-turvy non-prescription reality!
12. Dwyane Wade
In a league where every big-name player believes himself a fashion plate, Wade is the rare exception: a man with great personal style who doesn't beg for attention.
REBUTTAL: Dwyane Wade wore flip-up sunglasses after a playoff game specifically to beg for attention.
I don't have any qualms with the idea that Wade has well-developed personal taste and that he can make things that wouldn't look good on most men — like, for example, hot pink pants — seem appropriate and stylish on him. But he's not exactly a shrinking violet about it. In fact, as soon as some designer figures out how to make a wearable shrinking violet that, like, lights up and plays a song or something, I'm willing to bet Wade will sprint to throw it on as a boutonnière and sidle up to the nearest wire photographer.
8. Tyson Chandler
While other athletes can't sprint fast enough to the big-brand luxury houses, Chandler is happy to rock a steady diet of downtown favorites, from Rick Owens to Alexander Wang — and, most importantly, pull it off. He knows his way around the more formal stuff, too, but when the Knicks big man is in his edgy element, he's in a league of his own.
REBUTTAL: Tyson Chandler owns and wears multiple capes.
[...] it’s a little weird to be sitting with Chandler in a downtown photo studio on a Monday afternoon talking about capes. "Probably the most dramatic pieces in my wardrobe would be capes," he says with a smile. "I wouldn’t consider myself Goth, but I love Gothic pieces."
Capes. Chandler may be in a league of his own, but that league is the Justice League. One of the things I am most hoping for this postseason is that the Knicks win multiple playoff games, and that Chandler plays major roles in those playoff games, and that in at least one of the postgame podium sessions, he wears a cape. I mean, it'll be warm in the late spring when the playoffs are going on, but c'mon, Tyson. Let your Gothic Batman freak flag fly for us, publicly.
Is it your contention that my contentions are erroneous and ill-arrived-at? Please feel free to let me know so in the comments below. I'll be sure to get to them just as soon as I finish steam-cleaning my cape.
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