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Tracking the Best and Worst Fashion of NBA Stars Throughout the Playoffs

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2017

Tracking the Best and Worst Fashion of NBA Stars Throughout the Playoffs

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    Last year's NBA Finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat showed us that it's not just basketball between teams on display once the playoffs come around, but a fashion showdown between players. 

    Over the course of the past few years, we've seen players break out in either their most prim and proper suits or into a brand new category of international fashion: NBA Hipster Chic.

    LeBron James is usually the one to lead the way in the suit-and-tie category, while Russell Westbrook has become the trendsetter with the off-kilter polo shirts, thick glasses and tight pants.

    We've seen plenty of trendsetters in recent years, but there are a select group of players to keep an eye out for, and all are guaranteed to wear something that will make them stand out.

    The only constant from player to player is the thick-framed glasses. Whether they're needed or not, if a guy is trying to look good, he's going to be wearing the frames. 

    In anticipation of another incarnation of NBA Fashion Month, we've put together a playoffs fashion tracker to keep tabs on who looked the best and worst throughout the playoffs. 

Best Honorable Mentions

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    We've seen a ton of outfits that work for different reasons but fall just outside of the top 10 looks so far.

    James Harden's leather shoulder patches start us off, but we've got a few more that you've got to check out.

    Paul George rolled into Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals in full Easter attire. Pastel flannel, Mr. George? Very nice.

    Kyle Korver pulled off a bow tie after Atlanta's Game 4 win over the Indiana Pacers.

    J.R. Smith somehow made a tuxedo jacket and baggy leather pants work following New York's second game against the Celtics.

    Russell Westbrook tried his best to look like a crime-fighting monk after Oklahoma City's first game of the playoffs.

    Andre Iguodala looked very dapper with a sweater and some stripes going on after a Game 5 first-round win over the Warriors in Denver.

    LeBron James wore an entire garden on his sweater in his first fashion statement of the playoffs, and I might have been the only one who liked it.

    Carmelo Anthony made it known that hats were going to be his thing after the Knicks lost their first game of the playoffs back in Game 4 of the first round against the Celtics.

    Jeff Green kept it simple in white with a flashy gold watch in his first playoff game with the Celtics.

    Carmelo Anthony went roaring back to the '20s with a nice hat following New York's stumble out of the gate in the second round.

    Kevin Durant's second-coolest leather jacket of the postseason just got knocked out of the top 10.

    Unfortunately for all of us, Chris Bosh's hot pink suit got knocked out of the top 10 as well.

    Finally, Jarrett Jack did his best to stay warm in the frigid Bay Area night after Golden State took home a win in Game 4 of the first round.

    Now, let's take a look at who rounds out the best-dressed ballers so far in the playoffs.

10. Chris Paul: B

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    Worn on May 3 after 118-105 Game 6 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies

    Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers were eliminated after a huge surge from the Memphis Grizzlies, and that means we're losing a lot.

    No more huge Blake Griffin alley-oops, no more Ronny Turiaf or Ryan Hollins Jokes, no more Matt Barnes being strange and no more Chris Paul doing any of the things we love about him.

    Most importantly, no more CP3 being a complete coin flip on any given night as far as his attire is concerned.

    He went out with a solid and flashy bang, flashing out the nice red jacket and a striped shirt to finish it all off.

9. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade: B

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    Worn on April 15 after Game 5 94-91 win over the Chicago Bulls

    I'm cheating a bit here, but with Dwyane Wade and LeBron James putting together their best game as a duo so far in this series, it seemed wrong to split them up.

    This is easily Wade's best outfit of the postseason. There are no short pants involved, no ridiculous floral patterns, and he's gone back to just wearing goofy glasses and jewelry. The jacket is classy, and there's nothing that makes my eyes dart away.

    As for LeBron, his grey tones work perfectly. There's nothing flashy about his suit, and there's nothing screaming for attention.

8. Stephen Curry: B

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    Worn on April 26 after 110-108 Game 3 win over the Denver Nuggets

    Stephen Curry's style game has been incredibly on point for the duration of the playoffs, and his suit following the Warriors' win to put them ahead two games to one was no different.

    While he's done a terrific job throwing together suit jacket/casual shirt combinations, the more formal-looking vest-tie job he pulled off here is just as stellar.

    Curry kept on the trend of springtime colors, throwing on a nice, light purple shirt and a brown vest, which is all brought together with the tie.

7. Larry Sanders: B

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    Worn on April 23 after 98-86 Game 2 loss to the Miami Heat

    Larry Sanders really set it off following his Milwaukee Bucks' second consecutive loss to the Miami Heat.

    I dig the greenish-brown jacket as it is, but pair it with the casually buttoned-down salmon-colored shirt and you're working on something fly.

    Better yet, he seems to have borrowed Russell Westbrook's medallion from his kung fu monk look and tossed it on a shorter chain to complete this uber-clean outfit. 

6. Stephen Curry: B

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    Worn on April 20 after 97-95 Game 1 loss to Denver Nuggets

    Stephen Curry is rapidly rising up the style charts in the NBA, turning into a less-out-there James Harden or Russell Westbrook.

    Curry's great at mixing and matching colors, but his best quality is picking out and rocking unconventional jackets and blazers with little effort.

    This is possibly one of his best jackets yet, opting for a plaid jacket rather than the pinstriped look that he's gone with in the past.

5. LeBron James: B+

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    Worn on May 22 after 103-102 Game 1 win over the Indiana Pacers

    What a solid suit LeBron James wore after a triple-double performance in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

    A pinstriped jacket on a bigger dude always tends to work well, and if you throw in a fine checkered shirt underneath, you've got yourself a stellar combination.

    Not only that, just take a look at the fat watch dangling off his wrist. That bad boy was glinting in the lights all throughout the postgame press conference.

4. Kevin Durant: B+

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    Worn on April 28 after 104-101 Game 3 win over the Houston Rockets

    Kevin Durant is keen on busting out some weird outfits, which can be incredibly hit-or-miss. Recently, they've been a lot more of the latter.

    However, this leather jacket might just be the coolest-looking thing anyone could ever wear. I would assume that there's an application process to buy this in order to determine if a person is cool enough to don this silver beauty.

    Durant could go ahead and wear this with every single outfit for the rest of the playoffs and he would continually look good, regardless of what he's putting it on top of.

3. Chandler Parsons: B+

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    Worn on April 29 after 105-103 Game 4 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder

    Chandler Parsons is a handsome man. That's not an opinion, thats just a stone-cold fact. I think they've printed it in this year's edition of Encyclopedia Britannica, if they still print those.

    With that in mind, it seems as if everything he puts on is going to look fine on him, but this suit he's thrown together is simply sharp.

    A simple white button-up, a sleek-looking dark blue blazer and a simple lapel pin is more than enough to pull this all together.

2. Harrison Barnes: B+

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    Worn on April 23 after 131-117 Game 2 win over the Denver Nuggets

    These Golden State Warriors are having a great run of suit jackets so far. They've really brought out the sharp-dressed men in each other as they battle to keep pace with the Denver Nuggets.

    Harrison Barnes' silver jacket/tie combination nearly floored me with how sharp it looked, but the light green shirt makes it even better.

    He nearly jumped up to No. 1 for this bad boy, but he remains stuck just outside of the top spot. Maybe he'll rock another sick suit before the series finishes up. 

1. Deron Williams: B+

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    Worn on April 20 after 106-89 Game 1 win over Chicago Bulls

    Deron Williams was the big winner of Day 1 of the playoffs, as he came into the press conference sporting some sharp-looking blues and greens.

    Williams tends to show up in public looking stylish, and he doesn't go for the over-the-top look that some of his counterparts try to put on.

    His green plaid shirt is about as wild as he'll get, but he's off to a good start to the playoffs with the additional blue jacket and tie, plus the shamrock pinned on the lapel.

Worst Honorable Mention

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    There is no single word to describe my reaction when I saw this modern-day Caesar after a big Chris Andersen block during the second quarter in Miami's Game 2 win over Milwaukee. It's more a combination of laughter and horrified guttural noises.

    This big dude is just a taste of the worst playoff garb so far. Let's get a quick rundown of the guys who narrowly avoided our condemnation.

    LeBron James rocked a jacket-t-shirt combo after Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals that made him look ready for a workout and a yacht party, all at once.

    Paul George showed up to Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals with a pair of pink pants and some matching Nike Foamposites to match.

    Carmelo Anthony rocked a hat (of course) that didn't match the rest of his getup and sported what appeared to be an early entry for an ugly Christmas sweater party.

    And that wasn't Anthony's lone hat-astrophy of the playoffs. He had a handful throughout the postseason, including a nice denim shirt to pair with one of his covers.

    Kevin McHale looked like he needed a barstool after Houston's second straight loss in Oklahoma City to start off the playoffs.

    Chandler Parsons looked a bit too springy after Houston lost a third in a row to start out its first-round series.

    Kevin Durant took a swing and missed at the garden shirt after Oklahoma City lost its first of the playoffs in Game 4 against the Rockets.

    Mike Conley's cardigan and skinny tie clashed after Memphis lost its second game to the Los Angeles Clippers.

    Tim Duncan looked like rapper-turned-scout leader on his way to decidedly sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers.

    Chris Paul rocked a look that made him look like the kid from Jerry Maguire joined the army.

    Iman Shumpert looked like a cross between Fonzworth Bentley and Will Smith in the early '90s before tipoff of New York's second-round series against the Indiana Pacers.

    Paul George covered a shirt with amoebas and topped it off with some bright green pants for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

    And, of course, Blake Griffin's swirt (sweater-shirt) gave us all a laugh when he came to the arena for Game 2 against the Grizzlies.

10. James Harden: D+

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    Worn on April 24 after 105-102 Game 2 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder

    Seriously, does nobody listen? Denim from belt to ankle: good. Denim from belt to head: bad.

    When you take an ultra-tight button-down denim shirt that looks like it's been strategically torn like jeans from Abercrombie & Fitch and throw in some conspicuous sparkles—along with a vest—you're pushing the boundaries of bad denim.

    There have been very few public instances of denim used so egregiously, but James Harden shouldn't worry too much. Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake recovered; there's no reason that he shouldn't be able to as well.

9. George Hill: D+

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    Worn on May 24 after 97-93 Game 2 win over the Miami Heat

    George Hill's victory shirt seems at first to be a mishmash of watercolors flung across a canvas.

    However, when you look a little bit closer, you can make out a few people throughout. There on his left shoulder seems to be an extremely sunburnt Indiana Jones, and there on his chest just peeking out from behind the microphone looks like a yellow version of Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen.

    At the press conference, George even gave a shout-out to TI's clothing line (Akoo, for those interested), the folks that apparently make this monstrosity. 

8. Dwyane Wade: D+

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    Worn on May 26 before 114-96 Game 3 win over the Indiana Pacers

    There's no longer a doubt in my mind: Dwyane Wade's goal in these playoffs is to take over every spot in the bottom 10. I really can't see any other explanation for the outfits that he's put together in the past month.

    He has a stranglehold on many of the upcoming spots, and it doesn't seem as if any of the other players left in the playoffs are interested in competing with him.

    This time around he did his best impression of an orange crayon, dressing from head to toe in slightly different shades of orange.

    It almost looks cool, but then you realize that it's a dude dressed completely in orange.

    Oh, and he's got a purse too.

7. LeBron James: D+

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    Worn on April 23 after 98-86 Game 2 win over the Milwaukee Bucks

    LeBron James had an interesting first two games of the playoffs as far as press-conference fashion goes.

    I dug his ridiculously red leafy sweater after Game 1 (I might have been one of the few), but this outfit wasn't quite doing it for me.

    The army-green jacket over a T-shirt that looks like it was modeled after a Cosby sweater is too much as it is, but add in a bunch of dangly gold chains and a gold watch and you've lost me.

6. Dwyane Wade: D+

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    Worn on May 13 before Game 4 against the Chicago Bulls

    Ninety-three percent of Dwyane Wade's outfit that he pulled on before Miami's second-round game against the Chicago Bulls is tremendous.

    He's casually stylish, rocking a stellar double-breasted blazer with some nice, slightly tight dress pants that...well, they stop about four inches too high.

    There are only two explanations for what's going on with the bottom half of Wade's suit. Either he's misread the label and accidentally machine-washed some dry-clean-only pants, or the dude's wearing capris.

    We've all got a nice view of Wade's ankles, which is generally a strange look for a man. This is no exception.

    After the Heat's Game 5 win over the Bulls that gave them the series, Wade told Craig Sager, "You know me and you got something in common...they like to talk about the way we dress."

5. Kevin Durant: D+

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    Worn on April 21 after 120-91 Game 1 win over the Houston Rockets

    There's a lot going on here with just a jacket and a shirt involved, and the combination confuses my eyes. 

    A drab green jacket is thrown over what I can only describe as a red and gold shirt that seems, for whatever reason, Egyptian. There's too much sheen on the shirt contrasting with too much matte on the jacket as well. 

    It's a first attempt, so there's plenty of time to make us forget about it, but this is a really ugly first impression for Mr. Durant. 

4. Dwyane Wade: D

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    Worn on May 6 after 93-86 Game 1 loss to the Chicago Bulls

    Dwyane Wade has been around Miami for long enough that he almost always sports some stylish threads.

    But sometimes the mavens of NBA fashion stub their toe by straying too far from the beaten path. This shirt was clearly spawned by some misguided, ocher-loving designer. The scoop neck also showcases D-Wade's rippling collarbones.

    He paired the questionable shirt with a jacket that was probably left behind after his Kentucky Derby party. You can almost make out a mint julep stain on the lapel. This outfit is almost as ugly as the Miami Heat's 39.7 shooting percentage in their Game 1 loss at home.

3. Carmelo Anthony: D

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    Worn on April 20 after 85-78 Game 1 win over Boston Celtics

    Carmelo Anthony is a hit-or-miss fashionista. His first attempt of the postseason was a swing and a miss.

    When he's mixing and matching colors, patterns and styles, things seem to go right. However, when he tries to keep it simple and just toss on some clothes, you get something like what he's rocking here.

    Individually, these could all be solid components of an Anthony outfit, but throwing a blue V-neck T-shirt, a tan blazer and a white polka-dotted flat cap all together leads to this ridiculous mess.

    It's kind of like the 13-of-29 shooting performance he had against the Celtics—there was something to talk about, but plenty to criticize.

2. Russell Westbrook: D-

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    Worn on April 24 after 105-102 Game 2 win over Houston Rockets

    "Speechless" doesn't begin to describe my reaction upon seeing Russell Westbrook's leather button-down shirt. Actually, I suppose there was a bit of speech involved if making Scooby Doo-like noises qualifies as speaking.

    The best thing about this whole getup has to be the breast pockets. I'm not sure what about them makes it so much funnier, but I just can't get past it.

    Going forward, Russ would be well-served to avoid clothing that makes it look like he's late for a dominatrix convention.

1. Dwyane Wade: F

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    Worn on May 8 after 115-78 Game 2 win over the Chicago Bulls

    Dwyane Wade is having a rough playoffs. His knee is aching every once in a while, he's lucky to get a mention in passing with how well LeBron James is playing, and he only has his grandmother's closet to use for his postgame wardrobe.

    Thanks to that, Wade has taken over the top spot—er, I think that would actually be the bottom spot on our fashion tracker.

    It's not a very complex ugly that Wade is rocking, but it's a vibrantly and painfully ugly jacket.

    There are some purple roses happening on there, along with polka-dotted trim and lots of yellow and cream colors. And as far as my flower knowledge goes, possibly some multicolored orchids on the left shoulder.

    At this point, he's got to be messing with us.

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