Russell Westbrook, Kyle Kuzma, and yes, Clyde Frazier are dressed in legends-only suits

Mar 4, 2020

As NBA tunnel walks prove, you can’t underestimate the importance of simplicity. Sure, sometimes they’re vibrant and experimental venues for menswear. But the players who get it right are the ones who can stick to the fundamentals while still getting away with a few small quirks and flourishes.

This week, the staples demonstrate this perfectly: Kyle Kuzma and Russell Westbrook are no strangers to dressing with some personality, but they also know how to tone things down, so that the style is in the subtleties.

It’s the guys who go overboard that end up floundering. That, is in the case of one NBA legend who, both because he comes from a different time and is a Knicks legend, gets a license to dress however the hell he wants.

FIRE:

LeBron James, before Lakers vs. Pelicans

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Count on LeBron James for masterful layering. This is a classic look: Breton stripes, a military jacket, and white Air Force Ones. (Those are the recent Supreme collab, too. Flex.) This outfit’s so timeless that it’d work any day of the week, any month of the year, any year of the damn decade.

Russell Westbrook, before Rockets vs. Knicks

This is how you do all-black. A lot of guys think it’s enough to throw on any old black T-shirt and any old black jeans to achieve that chic, minimalist nonchalance. But Russ knows that the key is fit and fabric.

Serge Ibaka, before Raptors vs. Bucks

When he donned a huge-ass scarf a few weeks ago, Serge Ibaka made himself a moment. Suddenly the Raptors were throwing on some huge scarves, too — as a statement of solidarity. But it didn’t always look good — fellow Raptor OG Anunoby went to some pretty ridiculous lengths just to keep the scarf thing rolling. So it’s good that Serge reeled it back in and did the scarf thing right this time. It’s a statement still, but stylish.

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Kyle Kuzma, before Lakers vs. Pelicans

Bright blue is looking like the color of the moment, and here Kyle Kuzma shows why. Here’s a set-up with white sneakers, a cool shirt, and a slim bag — simple, but slick.

Clyde Frazier, before Knicks vs. Rockets

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Good fits aren’t just about the clothes — it’s about who’s wearing them, and how. This particular set of clothes would look unpleasant on anyone else, but because it’s Clyde Frazier, a guy who actually came from the era to which these threads belong, it works, not just a fit, but as a mood.

FAIL:

Jordan Poole, before Warriors vs. Kings

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Jordan Poole looks like he had forgotten that there would be a game that day, and so he jumped out his couch and went straight out the door in his boxers.

PJ Tucker, before Rockets vs. Grizzlies

As usual, PJ Tucker walked into this game with two pairs of ultra-rare kicks that demonstrate the breadth of this collection. But this button-down shirt-over-hoodie combo — which, as far as we can tell, is deliberate — was a strange choice, and not very flattering at all.

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DeMarre Carroll, before Rockets vs. Celtics

Someone alert PETA.

Gary Payton II, before Wizards vs. Jazz

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This has got to be the most “weird flex, but okay” shirt we’ve ever seen. That’s not even something you’d put on your Tinder profile. What are people supposed to make of your civil status once they’ve read it on your shirt? And why is it scrawled on so ominously? Did he once have a wife, before she mysteriously disappeared? So many questions, so few answers.

Patty Mills, before Spurs vs. Pacers

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It’s perfectly normal to wear a shirt with the top button unfastened. Unfastening two buttons — sure, that takes confidence. Unfastening a third would have to mean you’re at the beach — and super ripped. But leave half your damn shirt unbuttoned and you’re doing it wrong.

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