NBA players might look sharp on the court in their jerseys and high-top sneakers, but many players crumble under the pressure when it comes time to take off their uniform.
Fashion in the NBA used to be somewhat of a punchline: ill-fitting suits; huge, flashy watches; wild streetwear ensembles; and a surprising amount of capri pants. Too many capri pants, if you ask me.
These days however NBA players are far more sartorially impressive. Not only have they finally found some decent tailors, but young guns like Ben Simmons, Kyle Kuzma and Russell Westbrook consistently prove they’re just as savvy with their wardrobes as they are with a basketball.
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One unfortunate impact of 2020 for all basketball (and fashion fans) has been the lack of court action. A big part of the whole NBA experience is seeing players shed their pre-game outfit for their team kit – it’s a prime opportunity to flex before the three-pointers with luxury brands and crisp style. Simply put, fewer games have meant fewer impromptu fashion shows.
Thankfully, the NBA resumed on July 30th and got straight back into the thick of it. But it looks like the time away from the court in social isolation has changed the style priorities of players. Indeed, there’s one NBA fashion trend that’s quickly been noticed by fans that perhaps speaks to the unique circumstances of this year: the matching shirt and shorts.
LeBron James, arguably the best basketballer of all time and consistently snappy dresser, was spotted with a ‘dreamy’ Aimé Leon Dore seersucker ensemble before the LA Lakers vs LA Clippers game last Friday, staunch looking like the king of the resort.
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Other stars like Jaren Jackson Jr., Mike Conley and Danuel House have all been getting in on the action, stepping out in pyjama-like matching shirt and shorts combos similar to LeBron’s.
It’s a trend that’s also been spotted outside of the NBA too: across the ditch, Cristiano Ronaldo showed off a full Louis Vuitton look, and celebrity swine merchant Scott Disick has also been spotted rocking a similar outfit.
This comfy new fashion trend might seem a little too casual for one of the biggest professional sports leagues in the world, but we reckon it shows both fashionable forward-thinking as well as being practical.
22 NBA teams from across North America (the 16 teams in playoff position and the six teams within six games) were invited to a special ‘COVID-19 bubble’ at Walt Disney World in Florida so that the NBA could continue its 2019-2020 season in safety. With so many players all in the one place, it’s like one big summer camp. And when you’re on camp, you’re hardly going to wear a full Thom Browne suit.
A full matching ensemble like this is a pretty divisive choice, but in the sweltering heat of a Florida resort, a breezy shirt and shorts combo makes perfect sense. Staying comfortable whilst still looking like you’ve made an effort? It’s a clever move from LeBron and his fellow NBA fashionistas.
It generally takes about 6 months for fashion trends at the pointy end to filter down to the mainstream, so come summer in the Southern Hemisphere, we predict many will be shopping around for matching shirts and shorts.
Last week’s Lakers v Clippers was a tight game that saw the Lakers win by two points (103 to 101). It was another sterling performance for LeBron, who scored 16 of those points for the Lakers.
As teams are starting to get eliminated from the competition, they’ll be allowed to leave the COVID bubble at Disney World. They’ll need to be careful, however: the bubble might be pandemic-free but the rest of Florida isn’t – in fact, Florida is one of the worst-affected states in the union, with over 480,000 confirmed cases as of the 3rd of August.
So, other than their clothes, they might not want to get too comfy…