Russell Westbrook: The NBA’s Fashion King

Westbrook's game goes beyond the hardwood.

2017 has undoubtedly been the year of NBA superstar Russell Westbrook. From completely dominating the 2016-17 NBA regular season and breaking Oscar Robertson’s record for most regular season triple-doubles to winning the Most Valuable Player award at the first annual NBA Player’s Award Show. Westbrook received more than just the MVP trophy this year, however. He also took home the Best Style award this summer as voted by the fans as well as the Sports Illustrated award for Most Fashionable Athlete.

While the NBA is buzzing with many stylish stars such as Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, and LeBron James, it’s Westbrook’s uniqueness that sets him apart from his peers. In 2012, he slowly started to gain attention for his quirky fashion sense. In 2013, though, the self proclaimed “Fashion King” put his style on full display throughout the NBA season.

Fashion, like Hip-Hop, has played a role in NBA culture for some time now. When players aren’t wearing their team uniforms, they get to display their style before and after games. Allen Iverson, like Westbrook, was a player who was electric on and off the court. In 2005, then commissioner of the NBA, David Stern, issued a mandatory dress code which prohibited players from wearing baggy jeans, oversized chains, shorts, etc. The NBA was looking to move towards a more business casual look to clean up their image post-Malice at the Palace. For players like Iverson, this dress code took away from their identity and ability to self-express off the court.

Although there was some resistance from players on the dress code at the time, current NBA players have found a way to make it work. Many players now have stylists that help them prepare looks for post game press conferences and events. Russell Westbrook, however, has previously stated in an interview with Complex that he does not have a stylist and puts together his own outfits.

Russell Westbrook’s style game is almost a direct reflection of his play on the court. Each year since he’s been in the league, he’s shown progression and improvement. His fashion game can claim the same. Westbrook’s style started out as quirky and sometimes erratic. Today, we’ve watched his style mature to another level much like his game.

He has since landed a deal with Barneys New York, launched an eyewear line called Westbrook Frames, and just released his new fashion book collaboration titled Russell Westbrook: Style Drivers with famous book publisher Rizzoli.

Westbrook’s dominance off the court continued at the 2017 New York Fashion Week. The NBA’s fashion king showed off his famed style at different fashion shows such as Calvin Klein, Tom Ford, and Public School. Not to mention, Russell just inked a 10-year extension with Jordan Brand and is allegedly working on his own clothing line.

The future is most certainly bright for the Oklahoma City Thunder guard. With the NBA season a few weeks away and a new All-Star teammate in Paul George, this season is sure to be an exciting one. Will he be able to have an equally as explosive season as the last and perhaps win another MVP award? In the famous words of Russell Westbrook himself, why not? One thing’s for sure: you can always expect the reigning MVP to show up with an outfit fit for the runway.

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Adna Abdi

Abdi is a national NBA writer for the Hoops Inquirer. She is currently a student at the Saint Cloud State University graduate school for an English Studies Master's degree

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