Craig Sager's 2012-13 NBA Season suits.
Before post-game Playoffs style, before the faux glasses fashion Finals, there was one guy consistently and single-handedly ramping up the sartorial game of the NBA: Craig Sager. The NBA on TNT sideline reporter has made a name for himself by combining exemplary work with a very distinct personal steez (as in, you can see this guy coming from infinity eye-bugging miles away). In a field wherein being fashion forward has previously taken a backseat, Sager's technicolor "suit and tie s***" may have been misunderstood, at times even mocked, for years. That never shot his style spirit or deterred him from his trademark look, though, lunging after every brightly colored, kooky print-laden, tailored garment he could get his hands on. That IDGAF attitude and style savvy makes him, to us anyway, a kind of Lady Gaga of the NBA which is high praise from these quarters of the interwebz. Thus, we're celebrating him with a retrospective look at his suits from the 2012-13 NBA season AND a quick chat with Ricardo Aldama who owns and presides over Rex Fabrics, the Miami fabric store responsible for so many of Sager's custom suits.
As of last night, the Memphis Grizzlies are unfortunately officially out of the NBA Finals running now, with the San Antonio Spurs having been crowned the Western Conference champions. Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley has proven himself time and time again a player to be reckoned with thanks to his unflinching determination and a winning combination of ability and heart, but it's his makings as a star off the court that we'll be remembering from this NBA Playoffs season (because FASHUN, duhhh). Stylist Brandon Williams has been outfitting Conley all season in crisp GQ-worthy duds that maintain an immaculate balance of being on-trend but still relatable to the majority of the male sportsball-watching public, with the biggest risk perhaps being his wooden bow tie worn after Game 4 of the Thunder v. Grizzlies series. We tracked down the origin of the timber accessory to Two Guys' Bow Ties and caught up with co-founder Tim Paslay about Mike Conley, Ron Swanson, and what comes after wooden bow ties.
The NBA Playoffs continue to heat up as we chug along through the Eastern and Western Conference championships and toward the Finals, but for a crop of college-age up-and-coming hoops stars, there's another big date in June that hits a little closer to home: NBA Draft Day. On the players' side, enlisted draftees have been interviewing with prospective teams, shopping themselves around as well as learning about their would-be future homes. On the league side, the NBA Draft Lottery is scheduled for tonight to solidify the order in which teams will pick players come 2013 NBA Draft Day, June 27, 7:00 p.m. EST at Brooklyn's Barclays Center (home of this year's VMAs, NBD *hair flip*).
We know the current generation of NBA players is serious about style, from the rampant post-game podium fashion this Playoffs season to the faux-glasses Finals of last year. Welp, now the league, the ENTIRE organization, is following suit. Recognizing that the focus on professional basketball players as fashion icons is growing exponentially as we speed toward the 2013 Finals, the NBA is taking style seriously, both with a dedicated NBA Style reporting crew AND finding a Style Correspondent in Baron Davis. Davis has played for teams across the country but most recently for the New York Knicks before a knee injury had him off the court for the past year. We know the dude is very active in film, having starred as himself and dabbled in acting in several movies AND starting his own production company (Verso Entertainment) with high school friend (also, Jessica Alba's husband) Cash Warren, but Davis as a decreed fashion authority? This is a new look.
Baron's duties as NBA Style Correspondent, so far, comprise of putting together a video package on players' style today. Davis' background in film makes him an excellent candidate for this, but until now, we really had no evidence that he could talk shop about the sartorial world. After watching the clip, we totally recognize that he can as he highlights the ways that dudes like LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, and Dwyane Wade are breathing new life into looks that were actually worn by previous generations of players, calling out hoops legends like Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, and Clyde Frazier. Since this is the only official style-related title Baron has been bestowed to date, we figured we'd take a spin through his fashion history to help further prove he's a good man for the job.
ON THE COURT
Baron Davis wearing a sweatband.
Photo: Getty Images
It's not easy to infuse individual style into a mandated uniform, but Baron Davis did it through years of solid sweat/headbands.
2013 NBA Playoffs post-game podium style in a nutshell.
You guys, the NBA Playoffs are really, really long. Most of you (sportsball misanthropists and fans alike) have likely not been keeping that vigilant a watch on the tourney. Your team maybe didn't make it or got eliminated early or IDK, you're just waiting until things really start heating up to dive in or whatever. Welp, sadly, it's not within our jurisdiction to catch you up on all the banner plays, dunks, and stuffs. BUT we can offer you something just as good, if not BETTER: all the best podium fashion the 2013 NBA Playoffs has to offer (so far)! Yup, we're walking you through our top 10 style moments from the post-game press conferences, from Russell Westbrook's see-through specs to Iman Shumpert's high-top fade. (Unfortunately, Dwyane Wade's manpris are technically pre-game fodder, but trust we'll get to it later.) If you thought last year's faux glasses Finals were major, you truly haven't seen anything yet.
Russell Westbrook on the cover of "ESPN" magazine's Photo Issue.
If you haven't read Sam Alipour's interview with Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook for ESPN magazine yet, I'm squarely marking it as required reading for every human I care about (consider yourself in that league—yea, YOU!). First of all, the Q&A is incredibly long but only because Russ SO warrants it. For someone catching as much attention (and magazine features, holy moly!) as he has been for the past year, it's a little unheard of for the general public to know almost nothing about him. Welp, thanks to ESPN and Alipour that's all about to change as their conversation is published alongside a candy-colored fashion spread in the mag's 2013 Photo Issue.
The franchise we typically use to celebrate interviews we love that we didn't conduct ourselves is called "5 Things We Learned," but in this case, there was absolutely NO way we would be able to narrow this down to just 5 things. The banter between Westbrook and Alipour is DRIPPING with innumerable nuggets of precious Westbrook history and trivia: how he almost went to Stanford University for academics alone, how sometimes he bowls by himself, how and why he loves math, and the reveal that he has over 100 pairs of glasses (though, that shouldn't come as that huge a surprise all things considered). But trust me, it gets SO. MUCH. BETTER.
In the dedicated sports world, the biggest basketball buzz of the moment is without a doubt the NCAA's escalating March Madness tourney, as the Louisville Cardinals, Wichita State Shockers, Michigan Wolverines, and Syracuse Oranges all head into Final Four games this Saturday. On the fashion side of things, however, it's the men of the NBA who are making the most waves. According to PSFK, retail giant Macy's is updating the store's classic suit and is looking to the pre- and post-game togs of professional basketball players for inspiration.
New adidas college basketball uniforms for 2013 March Madness.
March Madness doesn't officially kick off this year until the 19th, but thanks to some uniform updates courtesy of adidas (and a wild season rife with upsets), buzz is already growing (quickly!) for the month-long NCAA tourney. Adidas revealed new adizero uniform systems for six colleges — Cincinnati, Kansas, Notre Dame, Baylor, UCLA, and Louisville — late last week, and college hoops fans haven't stopped (can't stop/won't stop) talking about them ever since.
Kevin Durant for "Teen Vogue" and Russell Westbrook for "L'Uomo Vogue" magazines.
Photo: Teen Vogue/L'Uomo Vogue
Not only did Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook make waves on the court by leading their Oklahoma City Thunder team straight to the 2012 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, the dynamic duo made names for themselves as bonafide style stars by way of their head-turning post-game ensembles off the hardwood. Now, in this second month of 2013, KD and Russ are getting the Vogue treatment with shoots in Teen Vogue and L'Uomo Vogue, respectively.
There's an unmistakable new attitude toward fashion in the world of sports. No longer is having an interest in, let alone a flair for, style a fringy, sourly regarded thing. Athletes are embracing fashion, and the fashion world, in turn, is reciprocating. In no sport is that more wide-spread at the moment than basketball, and with the season inching closer and closer to the NBA Playoffs (kicking off in a little over a month), editorial outlets are picking up steam on their hoops coverage, shining style spotlights on the league's best and brightest.
Shaquille O'Neal and his throwback Shaq Attaq Reebok sneakers.
Photo: Getty Images
Make way for The Great Shaq Fu! Reebok and retired NBA player/current NBA commentator/sometimes rapper(/one of my PERSONAL favorite players of all time) Shaquille O'Neal are teaming up for a sneaker relaunch of epic proportions — fittingly, since he too is a man of epic proportions. Shaq and Reebok revealed at the PROJECT trade show in Las Vegas that BOTH lines of namesake kicks that the legendary tower of a center released during his mid-'90s tenure on the Orlando Magic would be making a comeback THIS spring and summer! *cue domino effect wave of fainting sneakerheads*