Last spring, the NBA playoffs turned into a full-fledged fashion show shortly after the final buzzer sounded for each game.
With increasing frequency, many players emerged from the locker room for their press conferences and made a statement before even stepping up to the microphone. A fashion statement, that is.
Russell Westbrook became like a modern-day Andy Warhol because he was so avant-garde.
Obviously, there have been many mavens of style in the NBA over the years. And no, I don't mean the fur coats, wide-brimmed hats and audacious suits of Walt Frazier.
What do I mean by the term "hipster"? Let's just say that it's one who follows the emerging trends in fashion and carves out a niche for himself. And then that person probably posts a photo of their outfit on Instagram.
If you need a clearer picture of what a hipster is, I refer you to any episode of Portlandia. Or if you're in the New York metro area, just go for a stroll around Williamsburg.
Based solely on their manner of dress (and glasses), here are the biggest hipsters currently in the league.
Chris Paul is one of the best point guards in the NBA. His "long-lost identical twin brother," Cliff Paul, is one of the best State Farm agents in the car insurance biz, at least according to a recent commercial. The bottom line: They're both born to assist.
The NBA and the L.A. Clippers have embraced the Paul brothers as well.
On January 9, the Clippers distributed oversized Cliff Paul faces to the crowd (feeding on the giant-faces-on-sticks-as-psych-out trend in college basketball, which this guy is surely the king of), yielding some extraordinary pictures of Chris having an existential moment.
They also had Cliff Paul interview his brother, which obviously occurred because of nepotism considering that Cliff is an insurance agent and not a journalist.
But it seems that Cliff's style has begun to seep into Chris' wardrobe just a bit. There's this shot, for example, of CP3 sporting a dorky pair of glasses, box-print blazer and a necktie that certainly looks like it belongs to a car insurance claims investigator.
Oh, he's also been on the cover of GQ. He even sported two collared shirts for the photo shoot, just to confirm his membership in hipsterdom.
Kevin Durant has often shown up to postgame press conferences looking like a high school student. But that's primarily because you rarely see a fully grown man wearing a backpack unless you're in an airport or on a hiking trail.
Nevertheless, the three-time scoring leader seems to have expanded his wardrobe recently.
On the face of it, the above is actually a quite stylish, non-hipstery outfit. But let's examine this a little closer.
First, checked shirts are currently very in. Second, that tie matches only the Gatorade cap in front of him and nothing else in his outfit (is that a pocket square or a pocket protector?). Third, he's making the "duck face," a meme which is so hot right now. Four, he's wearing horn-rimmed glasses which may or may not have lenses in them.
Check, check, check and check. Hipster.
Are those glasses tinted the same color as his shirt? Yes, they are. Is that a goatee on his face? Well, I'm not really sure. Our photo experts are currently examining the evidence.
Shawn Marion also owns some sort of cotton chain mail, inside-out sweater. And he's yet again sporting those weird tinted glasses. I think those are for skeet-shooting competitions.
He's also got that bizarre shovel-pass shooting style which is commonly found in CYO basketball games. And yet, somehow, he's been stuffing the stat sheet for 13 seasons now.
But he probably should've thrown out that orange shirt when he left the Phoenix Suns.
When he's not giving invisible low fives to his teammates following a technical-foul free throw, James Harden comes up with pretty interesting duds.
As if the gigantic beard and mohawk weren't enough, he's got a wardrobe of intense clothes to boot. This picture really says it all. He's a fun-loving guy who can tie a bow tie and also owns a salmon jacket. Or is that coral?
Ultimately, considering that Harden is born and raised in Los Angeles, he's got to keep things interesting while he's out in the middle of the country in Oklahoma City, or now Houston, a city known primarily for its obesity and air conditioning.
When Rajon Rondo (foreground, center) goes somewhere to engage in a tense negotiation regarding labor relations and the salaries of his current and future peers, he likes to dress himself as if he's a literature professor hosting a tea party.
Jason Terry dressed like a normal person. Even Russell Westbrook kept it understated with Adam Sandler's red-hooded sweatshirt and Kevin Durant's backpack.
But not Rondo. He pulled out his finest cardigan and went with the what-if-Samuel-Jackson-played-Mr.-Rogers-in-a-movie look.
The lockout ended shortly thereafter. Coincidence? I think not.
Rondo also interned at GQ's headquarters in New York during Fashion Week. Perhaps that's around the time that he stitched together this preposterous jacket, which would get any contestant promptly kicked off Bravo's Top Design.
Amar'e Stoudemire knows a thing or two about fashion. According to WWD.com, he recently shared cocktails with Calvin Klein in Milan. He has also collaborated on a line of women's clothing with Rachel Roy. Word is, he's now working on a men's fashion line, which makes slightly more sense.
So, it is even more puzzling that "STAT" chose to sport this new-age impersonation of Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels.
Or perhaps this is really more of a tribute to Mike D. No, not Mike D'Antoni. I refer to the Beastie Boy and his look circa 1986 (pictured at center).
And if the inset picture above is not proof enough, then look at this. The flat cap, horn rims and kufiya confirm Amar'e's hipsterism.
Are those two collars? Yes, yes they are.
And James also has access to a wide collection of eyeglasses, some of which are so advanced that they don't even need lenses!
Basically, we can blame Rachel Johnson for all of this.
She's LeBron's stylist (as well as Chris Paul and Amar'e Stoudemire's). Eric Spitznagel of Bloomberg Businessweek asked Johnson, "Unnecessary glasses have become a popular look for NBA athletes. Do you approve?" Johnson replied, "I completely support it when it’s done in moderation."
I guess by "moderation," she means all of her clients on a nightly basis.
What can you say about Russell Westbrook? He's such a fashionista, he can make Sally Jesse Raphael's glasses look cool.
Westbrook had a new clothing gem following every single game in last year's playoffs.
His choice of the ridiculously loud "Live Short Sleeve Pique Polo With All-Over Fish Hook Print" shirt by Lacoste made such waves that it prompted fellow NBAer David Lee to seek out that same shirt.
Lee proudly posted a photo of himself wearing it and looking confused, perhaps as to why the shirt only comes in extra-small and extra-medium (thanks to the "Ultra Slim Fit").
It's possible that Westbrook in fact comes from another planet, but if he does, it's surely a very fashionable one.