Bill Belichick's Hoodie and the 10 Most Iconic Fashion Choices in Sports
Sports present men and women with a unique platform with which to express themselves. We, as fans, group athletes together when, in reality, they want to be thought of as original and creative.
Still, they are all uniformly combined into one homogeneous mixture on the playing field. From the nose-bleeds, it is hard to tell them apart. So they dress up or act out and, with their fashion choices, tell us things.
Their wardrobe choices are statements about authority or individuality. Sometimes their ideas are wacky; sometimes they are solemn. Sometimes they are iconic; they leave a lasting impression on fans.
The following 10 fashion choices are both meaningful and descriptive. They tell us about the man behind the uniform and his feelings on sport.
Billy "White Shoes" Johnson
Billy Johnson earned the name "White Shoes" way back in high school after dying his shoes on a dare.
Little did anyone in his hometown know that the name would become as well known as any nickname in the history of the NFL.
Not much was thought of Johnson, even though he excelled in both high school and at the Division III Widener College. Eventually Johnson earned playing time as a return specialist with the Houston Oilers. From there he became a three-time Pro-Bowler before injuries hampered the end of his career.
His lore is further increased by having one of the first and possibly best touchdown dances in football, the Funky Chicken. Johnson's signature celebration has transformed into Jimmy Graham dunks and Gronk spikes now, but the white shoes lived on far past his playing days.
Pete Maravich's Floppy Socks
Pistol Pete is a basketball legend. His acrobatic shots and passes forged his career in the NBA, but it was his signature floppy socks that truly set him apart.
The pioneer of the "hot dog" basketball style still holds the record for most career points in NCAA Division I history and averaged over 44 points per game. All that was done in three years, as freshmen were not allowed to participate in NCAA competition. Also the three-point line had not yet been established.
His hands were as fast as a gun shooter, earning him the nickname "Pistol." His socks were a form of defiance along with his shaggy hair—perhaps against the pressures of his strict father, perhaps just defiance against the conventional way the game was played.
The socks and hair were a message to the sport of basketball: change was coming.
Allen Iverson's Shooting Sleeve
The shooting sleeve has become a fairly popular accessory in basketball these days. The majority of that exposure can be attributed to Allen Iverson.
Iverson's career was a roller-coaster of success, failure and controversy. He was known as much for his on-court prowess as he was for his issues with coaches and the infamous "Practice" press conference.
Even with all that on his resume, the Answer may be most known for his covered right arm. He wore the sleeve despite doubts over its effectiveness. Now they are as frequently seen on an NBA court as a pair of Nikes.
I wore one in my boy's club league; I'm sure you tried one too. The shooting sleeve is part of Iverson's fashion legacy.
George Steinbrenner's Yankee Rule
Does anyone else remember when Johnny Damon looked like this?
In late 2005, Damon, one year removed from a World Series championship in Boston and co-writing a book entitled: Idiot, signed a deal with the New York Yankees.
New York has a strict policy concerning players' appearances. They want their team to be a set of completely drab drones. Damon was forced to shave his woodsman-like look to appease the Yankee brass.
Damon is the perfect example of the fashion choice made by George Steinbrenner and the rest of New York's higher-ups who are now in control of the franchise. The Yankees are the debutantes of the MLB, and there is nothing wrong with that. It is an iconic fashion choice, nonetheless.
Rip Hamilton's Mask
Earlier this season, Kobe Bryant broke his nose and was forced to wear a face mask. Something about it just never felt right though. The mask didn't belong on Kobe; it was like Bruce Wayne showing up with a red "S" on his chest. The mask belonged to someone else; it belonged to Rip Hamilton.
Late in 2003, Hamilton suffered the third broken nose of his career. He was forced to wear the mask indefinitely. That season, Rip led the Detroit Pistons in scoring and led them to an NBA championship. As far as I know he has yet to play without his signature accessory.
Rip has become known for his face mask as much as for his shooting abilities. If the Chicago Bulls can complete their fantastic season and win the championship, Rip's mask will be there celebrating just like it did at its inception nine years ago.
There is no specific fashion choice one can land on when thinking of Dennis Rodman. The man himself is a walking statement.
Whether it be the multicolored hair, the countless piercings or even a wedding dress, Rodman's fashion was as unpredictable as anything. It was also iconic. While Rodman was a great NBA player and a ferociously intense rebounder and competitor, he may be more famously known as a wild card.
Rodman took where the NBA was, from a standpoint of tattoos and fashion, and blew it out to previously unknown lengths. Seriously, look at what he wore to his Hall of Fame induction!
Craig Sager's Suits
In what has become one of the greatest mysteries/running jokes in sports broadcasting, Craig Sager's suits are something of a legend.
The TNT/TBS sideline reporter may either be the best or the worst dressed man in sports. He commonly is wearing bright colors and uniquely designed suits while interviewing America's favorite athletes. The 62-year-old sportscaster is one of the highlights of tuning in to watch weekly sporting events.
Whether it be a baby-blue leisure suit or red checkered blazer, Sager is always a sight to see and an iconic part of sports broadcasts. Even the athletes take notice, occasionally commenting on his outfit prior to interviews.
The NBA Nerd Trend
The NBA's young talent has started an unmistakable fashion trend. The "Nerd-Look" is "in" in basketball now, and if these stars maintain it, the fad won't be going anywhere soon.
Grantland.com's Wesley Morris wrote a great piece on the subject entitled: The Rise of the NBA Nerd.
In a sense, the shift is also a snapshot of how stylists continue to remove Darwinism from sports style. There's very little natural selection now. And yet, no matter who dressed him, it's fun to see Amar'e Stoudemire, in those Foot Locker ads, walking past NBA aspirants as some kind of instructor, like he's the Tim Gunn or RuPaul of the NBA. The cardigans and black frames, the backpacks and everything else: It's all as overdetermined as what happens on Project Runway with Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj, and with the drag queens. "Nerd" is a kind of drag in which ballers are liberated to pretend to be someone else.
He is correct, though I see it as a fun change of pace. More light-hearted than anything. Heck, I am watching what I type here through the big-rimmed glasses that I saw Al-Farouq Aminu wear on draft day in 2010. I thought they looked cool, and they do. This is the new iconic style and we better get use to it.
Extreme Sports Fashion
I've always thought that there are really two places you can go and wear literally anything you can think of and not be questioned. One of those is a golf course, the other is a ski resort.
Snowboarders in particular have an outrageous fashion sense. Athletes like Shaun White, Danny Kass and Scotty Lago have been able to push the boundaries of the fashion world.
White's wild hair has earned him the nickname: "the Flying Tomato." No one really knows if what you wear on the slopes says anything about you or the sport.
It may be just another act of rebellion in a sport that is infamous for breaking the rules. Extreme sports are dominated by youth and the most popular act of youthful athletes is defiance of authority.
For now it remains a pure form of expressionism. Extreme sports continue to grow in America, and for now there is no cap on the just how far their athletes fashion styles can go.
Bill Belichick's Hoodie
At first glance, this is a disgusting disgrace of a clothing choice. At second glance, it is still pretty ugly. Still, this may be the most divisive fashion choice in sports.
Bill Belichick, and for that matter all of New England, has embraced this homemade abomination of a hooded sweatshirt. Those outside of the New England area despise this garment almost more than the man who dons it. Patriot fans blamed the failed 19-0 season on Belichick's decision to wear a red hoodie instead of his usual bland grey one in the Super Bowl.
At one point the grey hoodie was the hottest selling item at the Patriots' pro shop. Out performing Brady and Moss jerseys, solely because one man made a choice to grunge it up on the NFL sidelines.