With the first week of a fresh NBA season in the books, we’re taking a closer look at the best tunnel, travel and at-large ‘fit picks from the league’s premier hoopers, shooters and dressers. This week: established stars and exciting rookies alike make a splash with kits that they’ve likely been working on all summer, just like you did before the first day of school back in your halcyon varsity days.
Nikola Jokić, Denver Nuggets
The reigning MVP knows that with a good suit, anything is possible. Despite his stature, The best big man in the league get’s everything spot on in terms of proportion: the jacket breaks perfectly at the thigh, the trousers are just roomy enough for the pleat to make sense, and a fitted turtleneck serves to emphasize the confidence Mr. Jokić already exudes. Plus, the Joker clearly got the memo that houndstooth is very, very much in this season.
Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns
Mama, there goes that man. And his bag. Chris Paul is not messing around when it comes to accessorizing, and we could only look on in wonder as he toted around a handsome leather clutch almost as big as he played this weekend. Big-time players make big-time plays, and apparently, carry big-time accessories.
Malik Monk, Los Angeles Lakers
Statement tee meets statement cardigan: a match made in heaven. Malik Monk has already made a play for best ‘fit of the month with his vintage Magic Johnson tee layered neatly under a multi-colored, mohair, tie-dye cardigan (say that three times fast). Miraculously, the guard manages not to get caught in the “doing too much” press — yes, there’s a lot going on, but with carefully subdued hues and a discernible cohesion of color palette, Malik doesn’t just get a pass, he gets a gold star.
Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat
Okay, color us intrigued. It’s not often that jorts find their way onto a “Best of” anything list, but Jimbo makes it work. Clearly, Mr. Butler is entering his “Rambo” era — with constant top-ten performances and a bit of a chip on his shoulder, who can blame him? Whatever the case may be, there’s nothing gun’s a-blazing about Jimmys ‘fit. On the contrary, it’s the attention to detail that makes it so damn good. The rolled-down ribbed socks are the perfect intermediary between the whole jorts-and-chunky-Docs affair, and any outfit that includes a Lauryn Hill shirt gets a sartorial triple-double.
Frank Jackson, Detroit Pistons
Unfortunately for Frank Jackson of the Detroit Pistons, MVD (Most Valuable Dresser) is not an end-of-season award in the NBA. If it was, the guy would’ve had last year’s on lock. They say clothes make a man, but in this case, Frank knows that it’s probably more likely the boots. Crafted from soft leather, side-zipped and with just a hint of heel, the shoes alone would put Frank on the board, but coupled with some dark-rinse denim and a smart-casual jacket-blazer hybrid, this ‘fit might just be this week’s dagger.
Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies
Tunnel fit or first date fit? JJR’s recent get up could be either, so take notes, fellas. Jaren is respectful of the timeless style rule of “one loud thing at a time, please,” and it’s to his benefit. His open button-down picks up the colors in his pants nicely and complements the (carefully selected, we’re sure) white accessories while still having something to say — just as it should be if you are very tall and very good at putting a ball through a hoop.
Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers
Full hearts, ascot out, can’t lose. Is it any surprise that obvious pick for most stylish guy in the NBA Russell Westbrook has started the season off hot (in the tunnel, at least) with a slurry of fire outfits? Russ has really leaned into the ascot-tank combination for 21/22, and we’re convinced he’s uniquely qualified to pull off the look. Brodie makes the whole thing look really appealing, which we suspect has something to do with the casual dip into the on-trend ’70s wheelhouse — flaired trousers, bright colors and tight everything.
Bonus: Steve “Normal Guy” Adams, Memphis Grizzlies
Seriously, how can you not be a Steve Adams stan? The Kiwi dresses the way we secretly want to dress all the time … all the time, and as such will act as our control group and gentle reminder that seven-footers are normal people, too.