Westbrook, James vying for fashion title
BY JASON ASHLEY WRIGHT World Scene Writer
Sunday, June 17, 2012
6/17/12 at 4:20 AM
The NBA finals have fans on the edge of their seats.
But it's the post-game fashions sported by star athletes from both the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat that have people sitting back and taking note.
Perhaps more than any NBA finals match in history, the post-game styles worn by popular players are causing quite a commotion off the court.
The source of much of the chatter is Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, whose affinity for fashion prompted him to send out pics of his ensembles via Instagram during the playoffs, according to the New York Times.
His bold shirts, eye-popping color choices and trendy eyewear have earned him both praise and snarky criticism. Among the more complimentary words are "hipster" and "geek chic," along with one website's slightly less flattering comparison - unless you're a Steve Urkel fan - to the big-bespectacled, high-water-panted character of "Family Matters." That parallel has mostly to do with the basketball player's choice in glasses.
Retro-reminiscent frames like his aren't anything new. But, standing 6-foot-3 in the national spotlight, Westbrook has become a poster child for the trend. And it's a safe bet he'll fan the consumer flame for such frames, at least among 20- and 30-somethings.
What he did start, or so he alluded to in a recent press conference, is wearing fashion eyewear without lenses.
Heat star LeBron James disagreed, kickstarting an entertaining argument that merely highlighted what the post-game conferences have become: a fashion show, where the models sit behind mics and tables, the soundtrack is sports talk.
And more than one designer is showcased, which makes it all the more fun. Westbrook is known for his wild printed shirts and bright colors (remember that Lacoste fishing lure polo?), James is more conservative but not at all stuffy - luxury suits and pocket squares. Think "Mad Men."
It's all very refreshing, considering off-the-court styles from seasons past. Besides, basketball coaches have been dressing up on the sidelines for years.
But leave it to the players to take it up several notches, like Westbrook's vintage look from Thursday's conference - blue short-sleeved shirt with black-and-white tie and coral pants.
James, meanwhile, wore a button-up under a rugby pullover, plus khakis. Fellow Heat-mate Dwyane Wade, whom a recent Sports Illustrated poll ranked No. 1 for "best fashion sense off the court," opted for laid-back plaid.
Obviously, it's the actual game's outcome with which we're most obsessed, but wondering what Westbrook and his contemporaries are going to wear after the final shot makes for fun watercooler conversations the next day.
Jason Ashley Wright 918-581-8483
Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook is a poster child for retro-reminiscent frames. SUE OGROCKI/ Associated Press
Miami Heat small forward LeBron James tops a button-up shirt with a striped rugby pullover. SUE OGROCKI/ Associated Press
LeBron James' style is conservative but not at all stuffy - luxury suits and pocket squares. Think "Mad Men." SUE OGROCKI/Associated Press