Sports | February 7, 2020 7:00 am

Rudy Gay on Oklahoma City's Haunted Hotel, And Other Tales From the NBA Road

Gay discusses fashion, food and The Skirvin Hilton Oklahoma City

Rudy Gay Haunted Hotel
Rudy Gay in front of OKC's haunted hotel.

Instead of strutting their stuff on the runway, fashion-forward NBA players like Kyle Kuzma, Kelly Oubre Jr. and D’Angelo Russell show off their clothes on the nightly walk from the players’ entrance to the locker room. And 14-year NBA veteran Rudy Gay of the San Antonio Spurs has been doing it longer than any of ’em.

Named to Sports Illustrated’s Fashionable 50 list in 2019, the 33-year-old helps himself stand out from the pack with “trendy fits and vibrant patterns and colors,” according to the magazine. But as Gay tells InsideHook, don’t get it twisted: being comfortable is just as important as looking good.

“You want both. That’s why it’s not for everybody,” Gay says. “It’s hard for people to do both, so that’s why it’s hard. I don’t try to do it. I’m just trying to be me. That’s the thing with fashion, I’m just trying to express myself. I basically just like to be comfortable. Every day I just want to make sure I like what I have on and that I’m also comfortable in it.”

To that end, Gay has created his own line of sweats, rg22, that he’ll often wear, along with a crossbody bag, Beats headphones and PUMAs, while traveling to away games.

“You want to be comfortable for however long the flight is,” Gay says. “We’re in the middle of this country, but some flights end up being four hours or three hours or something like that. So it’s sweats. I always wear a cross-body because, with sweats, stuff always falls out of your pockets. I hate for anything to fall out of my pockets. So, that’s the reason I wear my cross-body. Some people just wear it for fashion, I wear it for purpose.”

On the road, Gay will go shopping in cities that are known for their fashion sense like LA, New York and Miami, but he’s also got a secret stop in a burg that’s not generally associated with syle: Boston.

“I have a store in Boston called Riccardi,” he says. “I always go there and they always get me together. They’ve got everything, all sorts of brands. They set you up there, man. They have whatever you need fashion-wise.”

Riccardi isn’t the only place Gay makes sure to visit when he’s on the road, as he’s got a number of favorite food stops in opposing cities as well.

If Gay’s got time when he’s playing in D.C., he’ll make the pilgrimage over to Jimmy’s Famous Seafood in Baltimore for crab. “It’s the same spot I’ve been going since high school,” he says. “After my high school graduation, I went to Jimmy’s and I go to this day. Everything they make has crab or has something going on with crab. They make me crab toast. I’m actually friends with all of the guys so every time when I walk in, they don’t even ask me anymore. They just bring it to me.”

Another spot Gay will seek out if he can is Miss Polly’s Soul City Café in Memphis. “It’s a great place for chicken and waffles,” Gay says. “I used to go to after every practice. I couldn’t do that now, because I don’t eat like that anymore, but it was good. I can’t eat fried chicken anymore.”

Rudy Gay in a pink track suit during Paris Fashion Week. (Christian Vierig/Getty)
Getty Images

A place Gay won’t go unless he has to? The Skirvin Hilton Oklahoma City.

“I have a story from my rookie year,” Gay says. “You’re not going to believe it, but I’m telling you it’s the truth. I heard it was haunted but I was in my room and I went to sleep the night before a game with my clothes on just in case I had to get the hell out of there real quick. I woke up and there was a room service tray sitting in front of my bed. I promise you I did not order room service. I ran out. Luckily, it was right before the game, so I just got my stuff and sat at the bar until it was time to go.”

Gay has never had any other paranormal run-ins during subsequent visits to the Skirvin, and that’s just fine with him.

“Nothing else has happened,” he says. “The only thing worse that can happen is a ghost sitting on my bed.”