The NBA is one of the world’s most popular professional sports leagues, with many fans not only interested in the league for the gameplay and wagering on NBA playoffs odds but also the many fashion trends displayed by some of the game’s biggest stars.
NBA players have influenced the fashion industry for many years, with many current athletes partnering in exclusive deals with prominent designers to promote their merchandise.
Because of their influence in a world dominated by social media, NBA players have access to virtually all recently launched items from major streetwear designers and fashion houses. They can also enjoy all the latest limited-edition sneakers to show off in the tunnel, which has been the league’s runway since players started showing off their fashion sense in the 1960s.
Hall of Fame New York Knicks guard Walt “Clyde” Frazier was among the first NBA fashion influencers during his 13-year career in the 60s and 70s. His collection of mink coats, expensive suits, and lavish hats gave him the style and swagger that fit perfectly with the bright lights on Broadway.
Frazier started in fashion trying to emulate his father, who he says was also a sharp dresser, and set a standard for NBA players that they’re still trying to duplicate. Frazier is the original king of fashion in the NBA, with a look that has stood the test of time.
NBA superstar Wilt Chamberlain also helped move fashion forward along with Frazier during his time as a player in the 1960s. His style was directly connected to the popular fashions of the decade, as he liked to wear unbuttoned dress shirts and suit pants with his signature gold medallion around his neck.
His fashion sense helped him transition from just another tall athlete to a household name throughout his entire NBA career.
Before the NBA dress code was implemented in 2005 by commissioner David Stern, Allen Iverson played a huge role in the fashion industry’s evolution with his Streetwear style. The former Philadelphia 76ers point guard combined baggy jeans, oversized jackets, flashy jewelry, and an unlimited rotation of fitted New Era caps as part of his style.
Iverson was also responsible for helping make tattoos stylish for NBA players and pushed the limits without conforming to his critics until commissioner Stern changed the game.
Russell Westbrook has amassed a large Instagram following after using the influence and attention received from his fashion week outfits. He later launched a fashion book, Style Drivers, which documents some of his most stylish looks off the court.
The book also explains how Westbrook uses fashion as a mental weapon during games. The highly-rated book is enjoyed by millions of fans of his trendy fashion and plays on the court.
Since arriving in the league straight out of high school, LeBron James’ fashion sense has evolved a lot over the years, and he’s been voted many times as the NBA’s best-dressed player.
He gets a lot of help staying ahead of the style game, with a personal shopper and stylist to help him with his wardrobe selections. Nowadays, James goes for a more relaxed look that’s confident and playful with more color than in the past.
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul has also been known to change the course of fashion after being seen in several talked-about outfits over the years. He was once photographed after a flight wearing a bright blue Filling Pieces tracksuit, which helped increase sales on the company’s website by 104% over the next couple of weeks while fans scrambled to buy the same outfit.
Incidents like these show how much influence NBA players have had on the fashion world and the power they continue to hold for inspiring future trends in the industry. As a result, the NBA is now more of a platform where players show their personal sense of style while helping influence the direction of future fashions.