The first month of a new decade is well underway, and it’s been pretty eventful so far. January 2020 has seen grave threats to world peace, a Taal volcano eruption, and a half-decent Knicks team, among other things, but change is inevitable, and unlike KD, we can all choose to be positive.
But the world turns, and the NBA style train keeps rolling as players strut their stuff on arena tunnels. Have a look at some of the past week’s best and worst pre-game outfits.
Jordan Clarkson, before Jazz vs. Pelicans
The Sacai Waffles are an obvious choice for someone like newly-minted Jazz Man Jordan Clarkson, but that jacket — a statement piece if there ever was one — outshines them in this outfit. The jacket is from Supreme’s 2017 collaboration with cult Japanese label Hysteric Glamour, and like every great Supreme piece, it doesn’t need a red box logo to look great.
Ben Simmons, before Sixers vs. Celtics
Once again, Ben Simmons nails the art of the pre-game outfit, and once again, it’s because he knows how to balance out loud pieces with more understated ones. A nice holiday knit sweater in festive colors is obviously the centerpiece of this look, but it’s thoughtfully offset by simple black jeans and outerwear. Then, of course, the flex: a pair of Off-White Dunks.
Kyle Kuzma, before Lakers vs. Knicks
The tuxedo lapels and the elegant shoulders mean business, but the white tee, the relaxed pants, and the sneakers give this look some laid back vibes. The league can’t always be dominated by streetwear, and when most players try dressing up a little, they often can’t get it right. Kyle Kuzma is not most players.
Kyrie Irving, before Nets vs. Hawks
Before his dominant return from a shoulder injury, Kyrie Irving stepped out in a simple black outfit topped off with a safari vest. The guy’s had a thing for vest-type garments lately, but it’s never worked better for him than here. Maybe it’s the color, maybe it’s the fit, maybe it’s the patches, maybe it’s all those things combined. Or maybe it’s just because it’s good to have Uncle Drew back in the game.
Darius Bazley, before Thunder vs. Rockets
We’re honestly unsure how we feel about this look. On one hand, it’s a guy in a damn crop top. But on the other hand, it looks so much better than Jimmy Butler in a crop top.
This cropped velcro vest certainly looks like it was meant to be layered, but Bazley seems to have stumbled upon a more creative way of wearing it that would look perfectly at home at one of the warmer fashion weeks. It’s not something we would try at home, but for stepping out in something this bold without crashing and burning spectacularly, we’ll call it lit.
SPECIAL MENTION: LeBron James, before Lakers vs. Pelicans
The game took place over a week ago, but it’s hard to pass up on the opportunity to sing the praises of LeBron James’ varsity jacket, by Better Gift Shop. Worn this way, with all the right colors, the jacket looks amazing.
Shai Alexander, before Thunder vs. Rockets
We’ve had beef with those drawstring pants before, but now is just about enough. That down jacket isn’t doing Shai Alexander any favors, either. One could argue that this is a futuristic look, sure, but we want no part in a future like this. We will, however, commend the Black Cat 4s.
Tyler Herro, before Heat vs. Nets
Unless you are a rapper or Hugh Glass, you have no business wearing a coat like that. Here, Heat rookie Tyler Herro demonstrates how a single article of outerwear can ruin an outfit, mainly by telling people how much a pasty 19-year-old kid wants to look like a high-rolling pimp.
Kelly Oubre Jr., before Suns vs. Hornets
Okay, fine — we know that Sto. Niño capes are usually deep red, but tell us this doesn’t have the same energy as a statue in your lola’s house. Kelly Oubre Jr. looks like he’s ready to stand on top of a carosa and be wheeled around town on Good Friday. The guy has a very particular style, and an eccentric rockstar look in mind, we’ll give him that. But looks like these don’t stick the landing.
James Harden, before Rockets vs. Hawks
James Harden is putting up some insane numbers and historic performances this season. But this combination of bright red pants and a bright yellow trench coat is certainly way too much, and not a good look. He looks more like Darth Ronald McDonald than one of the greatest players in the league now, which is a shame, because he certainly is the latter.
Jaren Jackson Jr. and the Memphis Grizzlies
Yes, the Clippers really lost to a team that dressed like this. Okay, we’ll give Jarren Jackson Jr. props for the worthy cause on this T-shirt, but otherwise, there are no excuses for this squad-sized travesty.