NBA Players Who Changed the Style Game for Good
You can trace fashion's influence on the game of basketball back to the 1960s. Admits a changing culture and political landscape, athletes used fashion as a crux to build their respective brands.
Today, those lessons haven't changed. Fashion, self-expression and style have all become tremendous portions of the off-court personalities that accompany NBA stars.
We wanted to share with you all of the NBA players who helped changed the style game for good. These are guys who went above and beyond the call, influencing future generations.
Dwyane Wade's journey into fashion became especially prevalent when the Big Three were knocking around opponents in the Eastern Conference. Along with Chris Bosh and LeBron James, Wade's superteam was super on and off the court.
Transcribing Wade's style gives you a glimpse into the working belief of pastels and suits. Wade branches out, but his bread and butter lay within those elements of menswear.
He's essentially rewritten the rules on blazers and clashing styles, putting his suit game at the top of the league. Take the image above into consideration, Wade's choice of a floral-like pattern blazer was fitted to his frame. Advanced cuts like this, rather than "off the rack" fits, have given Wade ground to stand on.
Wade's fashion sense, even at the latter stage of his career, remains a coveted piece in the NBA's collective closet.
Today's NBA athlete is expected to embrace fashion. We've seen it from guys like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and others. A keen sense of what to wear has been folded into the conversation. Westbrook is different. He's shattered those expectations by changing the narrative.
His ability to blend streetwear with high-fashion garments is unlike anything we've seen. Westbrook challenges perception. So much so, Joshua Green of Bloomberg proclaimed he's "changing how men's fashion works."
It's been nothing but high praise for Westbrook, and like fashion staples of the past, his body of work will be revered for a long time.
Walt Clyde Frazier helped fuel NBA fashion during the course of his 13 seasons in the league. The Hall of Fame point guard and seven-time All-Star crafted a resume of stellar play and boundary-pushing style choices.
Frazier's mink coats, poignant headwear choices and dapper suits gave the New York Knicks guard a dose of soul that fit perfectly in with the city he played for. He fit in under those flashing Broadway lights.
Fashion was etched into his life at an early age, as Frazier explained to Steve Marsh over at GQ. "Well, see, it started out early. My dad was a good dresser. So I remember as a kid admiring his clothes, trying to wear them when he wasn't around."
Frazier set the gold standard for NBA athletes and style. He achieved a look that has stood the test of time. If anyone was to be named the original fashion lord in pro hoops, that title would be comfortably wrapped about Frazier's waist.
NBA fashion hasn't always been restricted to suit jackets and air-constricting fits. Streetwear has also played a significant role in the evolution of style. Just ask Allen Iverson.
Before the NBA's dress code was repackaged and formalized, Iverson led the streetwear charge. The longtime Philadelphia 76ers guard flashed gaudy jewelry and oversized jackets, all while keeping fitted hats in constant rotation.
His style resembles the NBA's dress code during the early-to-mid 2000s. Iverson pushed limits, wearing what he liked. More importantly, he didn't conform to anyone else's standards.
Along with Walt Frazier, Wilt Chamberlain nudged style forward during his playing days. Chamberlain's stylings became part of the very fabric that made up the 1960s.
It was an era where Chamberlain transitioned himself from simply another NBA big man to a household name and towering figure. He did it with style and endless swagger.
Standing at 7'1", Wilt the Stilt's attire was sparingly lean. Unbuttoned dress shirts and suit pants were all part of his mantra. On the court, he even wore Converse Chuck Taylors, per Maggie Lang of GQ, helping bridge the footwear gap to later signature looks like Magic Johnson or Michael Jordan's signature sneakers.
Chamberlain's style and destructive game helped him not only secure a Hall of Fame career, but it set a trendline all NBA athletes can still look to for inspiration.
Pete Maravich's NBA game wasn't the only time he showed off a sense of uniqueness. Off the floor and away from the crowds, Maravich melded his personality to clothing.
The result produced some of the coolest outfits we've seen. Maravich ushered outlandish items like a gold New Orleans Jazz medallion and oversized shades. He was living the 1970's high life through his game and wardrobe.
Today, we remember Pistol Pete for what he achieved in such a short period of time. His sense of aesthtics—fashion and movement—have yet to be matched.
There will be research papers written about LeBron James' athletic tenure. Since he arrived a teenager, King James has evolved in front of our eyes.
His growth has been wide-ranging and inspirational. Not only has he held down the title of "best in the world," but James has also taken his exploits of greatness into fashion. He's made the transition from oversized suits to grilled cuts and combustible colorways.
James isn't the be-all, end-all for fashion. His former teammate Dwyane Wade carries that weight. But considering his monumental success—becoming arguably the best player since Michael Jordan not named Kobe Bryant—his stylistic musings will be forever linked to his game.
For that reason, James transformed the NBA's fashion department.