For years NBA players have been killing the fashion game, both on the court and off, but it hasn’t always been that way. Before, only certain players, like Walt Frazier (the Knicks legend known for his leopard printed suits and outlandish style), were really style icons in the league, then the NBA made a dress code for their players. The purpose of this dress code was to enforce that the players would have to dress more professionally at news conferences and anything else related to the league outside of the court. Many of the basketball players were angered at this new dress code and many of them considered it to be racially charged.
At first, many of the NBA players were against the change, like Allen Iverson, whose signature style was chains, backward caps and baggy clothes. Iverson was actually considered to be the reason for the dress code, due to his signature street style. Players like LeBron James took the new dress code and made it their own. Many started to mix street style with business casual and soon most had their own unique style that they were being vetted by designers. This dress code made the biggest players fashion icons while on and off the court.
The top five NBA players in regard to their signature style are as follows: D’Angelo Russell, Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook and Steph Curry. All of these men have been notable basketball players, but also have been known to be pivotal in their style choices and have been truly changing men’s fashion, one appearance at a time.
We’re going to start off with the man that GQ named the most stylish NBA player of 2019, D’Angelo Russell. Russell plays as a point guard for the Golden State Warriors and has been playing in the NBA since 2015. He is a big fan of any Air Jordan or Nike shoes, as he has been seen rocking many different styles of both shoes. He is best known for wearing Nike PG’s and Kyrie’s while playing basketball. When GQ asked him to describe his style, he says he completely wings it, but that his style game comes pretty naturally to him. Most of the time, Russell challenges the dress code by styling a hoodie with a jacket and joggers, but there are other times where he’ll come out in a suit jacket and tie. One of his most iconic outfits consists of striped white pants, a white button down, white bomber jacket and white Air Force 1’s. Russell has really been making moves this year in his basketball career and fashion.
The next player is one of the most well-known players in the league and an Akron native, Lebron James. Along with being such an infamous player in the NBA, his style game is off the charts. Lebron currently plays as the power forward for the Los Angeles Lakers. He is not afraid to experiment with his style, which is the biggest reason why he is one of the best dressed players in the league. His biggest fashion risk is shown in his legendary Thom Browne made-to-measure shorts suit. Not many men can pull off a shorts suit, but Lebron manages. Not only does he dress himself to the nines, but he also gave the kids at his I Promise school in Akron, fresh pairs of his Lebron 16s in 2018.
Dwyane Wade is also an immaculate dresser, rocking designers the majority of the time. Wade was a guard for the Miami Heat until 2019. He had been playing in the NBA since 2003 and is a 13-time All-Star. He is by far the most sophisticated dresser from this NBA lineup, as he is a fan of high fashion and can be seen in the front row for many designer’s fashion shows. Wade is known to love Tom Ford and has rocked many of his suits. He is very mindful of tailoring and detail when it comes to the look of the suits he tends to wear.
Russell Westbrook has the style game on lock and can pull off anything he wears. He is a point guard for the Houston Rockets and is equally known for his rim rattling slam dunks and his excessive trash talk. Westbrook has a shoe deal with Nike’s Jordan brand and recently came out with his first shoe named the Why Not Zer0. His style is more of an androgynous street style. Westbrook is not afraid of mixing patterns or colors, which gives him extra style points compared to his fellow NBA players.
Lastly, Steph Curry slays in the men’s fashion department. Curry is the sharp shooting point guard and family man who has won three championships for the Golden State Warriors. He also has a shoe deal with Under Armour. When he released his first shoe with the brand, many fans were disappointed by the look of the shoe that he designed. After revamping the design of his shoes, they have been making a splash in the shoe industry. In his personal style, he focuses on silhouette more than anything, which puts his signature style over many other NBA players. He sticks with neutrals and slim fits which work great for him. He throws in a twist of streetstyle to his more basic look to give it extra flair. Although he may not be buying designer pieces like Dwyane Wade, he sticks with a silhouette that elevates anything he wears.
NBA players have been notorious for their shoe game on the court and their style game off the court, but this was especially elevated after the NBA started enforcing a dress code in 2005. These notable players were the perfect example of style that emerged after this rule was instated. So, if you’re anything like me and don’t know much about basketball, root for the men with the most style who are changing the men’s fashion game one designer deal and stylish appearance at a time.