Being an NBA player is a year-round gig, encompassing an 82-game regular season, potential playoff action in the spring and various offseason rituals to perfect their craft.
There’s no respite for these professional ballers and working hard to maintain their place in the world’s premier basketball league is paramount to survival and longevity in the NBA. Otherwise. they face the ignominy of being replaced by the continuous stream of young hopefuls drafted annually into the league, all looking for their slice of success and fame in the NBA.
Of course, NBA players aren’t merely just athletes plying their trade on the hardcourts dotted across major cities represented in the NBA. They’re individuals in their own right off the court too, as role models, activists, charity workers and, even, fashion icons – the latter of which is both a representation of personal style as well as brand building that can resonate with multiple fans the world over.
In this space we look at six current stylish NBA players (in no particular order) that bring the swag on and off the court in their game and their fashion sense.
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo, the current favourite for the MVP award according to the NBA odds across multiple top sportsbooks, is one the most recognized up-and-coming players today. The 26-year-old Greek export, fondly known as the “Greek Freak” amongst fans of the Milwaukee Bucks, is probably one of the most current and on trend players in the game with his unassuming fashion sense oozing casual swag that appeals to all ages.
Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors may be old school in his sense of style, but the six-time All-Star and veteran in the game nevertheless brings an undeniable dapper swag on game day. Typically, donning a classic suit, his preferred smart look has the timeless appeal of James Bond elegance.
Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers isn’t afraid to push the envelope when it comes to his style. Often sporting a riot of colors or eclectic pieces with swagger and aplomb, nothing seems to be out of his reach. Indeed, when it comes to pre-game peacocking, Anthony Davis sets the bar rather high with his hot hand and instinctive fashion sense.
2. Kyle Irving, Brooklyn Nets
Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets has never been shy, both on and off the court the forward knows how to make his presence felt without fail. He brings to his wardrobe the same fearlessness that has made him one of the league’s best players. Whether he’s in a suit or hoodie, there’s a crispness about his look that is perfectly accessorized by his subtle penchant for a little bit of bling.
3. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry is arguably one of the most influential NBA players in the current game. Some would go so far as the suggest he’s a generational talent that has the potential to become one of the greatest players of all time in the league. His immaculateness on court transcends into his sense of fashion which is equally flawless. Whether in casual attire or smartly dressed, Curry doesn’t put a foot wrong.
4. John Wall, Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets point guard John Wall is a fashion icon whose diversity ranges from the casual to the plush and opulent. By all accounts, he’s one of the best-dressed NBA players in the game today with a wardrobe that includes fur coats, flashy watches and trendy shades. Grounding his lavish look are the latest on-trend sneakers that provide the perfect contrast.
5. James Harden
As explosive as he is on court, James Harden’s sense of fashion hits you with similar intensity. Whether it’s burst of riotous colors, neon or floral patterns, the veteran guard isn’t afraid to experiment with his looks and he carries it off with a swagger and aplomb that is most admirable.
6. LeBron James
Four-time NBA champion LeBron James is one of the most influential players in the league today. The 36-year-old veteran is no spring chicken but he’s still considered to be one of the best players on court and the face of the NBA off the court. It’s no surprise therefore that his appearance is as immaculate as it comes. His fashion sense is wide-ranging, covering the casual to shabby chic. He’s even been spotted sporting a fedora on occasion and having fun with a variety of looks that appeal to a wide spectrum of fashionistas of all ages.
Inasmuch as players compete on the court, they also compete against each other off the court with their fashion sense and individual style. Ironically, this marriage between NBA players and fashion was born from a dress code implemented by the late NBA commissioner David Stern in 2005, but it has since taken a life of its own.
Informally known as the Allen Iverson rule, the mandate sought to ban hip-hop staples like baggie pants, oversized tanks, t-shirts, and even ostentatious chain jewelry and medallions worn over a player’s top. The intention was to encourage players towards a more professional and respectable look, such as business casual attire and dress shoes when arriving at NBA games or at press conferences in order to represent the league in its best light.
While the rule in itself was controversial, with many calling it a racially-biased rejection of popular black culture, credit must be given to the players today who took it and made It their own. Brilliantly taking what was intended to be a means of control and constraint into a mode of personal expression, fashion individuality and, in some cases, a brand marketing bonanza.
Here we’ve taken stock of but a few players randomly. The truth is though that each and every player takes pride in his appearance on game day, strutting their stuff down the catwalk of the stadium to the locker room for all to see and, even, emulate whenever the look holds appeal.