NBA: Art of Accessories

“If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good.” – Deion Sanders

Usually, no matter what people do they usually like to look good doing it. This is true with professional basketball players as well. Since these guys are always in the public eye players like Russell Westbrook, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James do their best to make strong off-court fashion statements. More importantly some guys do their best to make strong on-court fashion statements too.

The G.O.A.T.

Michael Jordan came into the league and immediately became a dominant force because of the greatness of his game. His signature shoe, “Air Jordan”, has become one of the most popular sneakers in America. In fact,  Jordan made $100 million in 2014 from Jordan Brand, which is more than he made during his entire playing career ($94 million). Thanks to slick designs by Tinker Hatfield and the outstanding play of MJ, Air Jordans have become the holy grail of sneakers. Besides shoes and great basketball skills, when you think of Michael Jordan you think of the number “23” and the two-toned leg sleeve. Jordan has made the number “23” almost untouchable, guys purposely avoid wearing the number so that they won’t disrespect greatness. The Miami Heat retired the number “23” in honor of Michael Jordan despite MJ never playing for the franchise. The same principle applies to MJ’s signature leg sleeve, if you can’t drop 25 pts, dish out 6 ast, and grab 8 reb DON’T WEAR THE SLEEVE.

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Michael Jordan

Currently  Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Russell Westbrook, and Carmelo Anthony are among 21 active NBA players signed to Jordan Brand. Ray Allen is probably the most notable Jordan Brand NBA signee of all-time because of his popular Air Jordan PEs.

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Ray Allen wearing Air Jordan PEs

The Trendsetter 

Allen Iverson probably had the greatest cultural impact in NBA history. A.I. was the first guy to have his body covered in tattoos and now it looks weird to see a NBA player without any ink on his arms. He was also the first to sport a shooting sleeve which has become one of the most popular basketball accessories. Along with Kobe Bryant and Vince Carter, A.I. made compression pants in basketball extremely popular. Not to mention that Iverson’s cornrows became a popular hairstyle in the early 2000’s, not only amongst his peers in the NBA but in Black culture as well. A.I. brought Hip-Hop culture into the NBA and it hasn’t left since.

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Allen Iverson

Head-Band Leaders

The great Wilt Chamberlain was the first to rock a headband in the league and Bill Walton carried the torch after him. Now this leads us to Donald “Slick” Watts, Watts was the first player to wear the headband slanted on his head and coincidentally was Jason Terry’s (also wears the headband) 3rd grade P.E. coach. Now many players wear headbands but they were most popular during the early 2000’s.

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Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Walton, Slick Watts

The Good

Having respectable gear on the hardwood isn’t hard but having the game to go along with it is key too. Here are some current players that I think had some of the best accessory moments in the league this season (Nice kicks, solid sock length, upper body and/or leg accessories factor in):

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Top: Steph Curry, Danilo Gallinari, DeMar DeRozan Bottom: LeBron James, Anthony Davis, John Wall

The Don’ts

Unless you are Dwight Howard or Carmelo Anthony don’t wear shooting sleeves on both arms, it just doesn’t look right. Also, there is no reason to wear low ankle socks on the professional level, all NBA low ankle socks should stop being manufactured (if they are even made).

King No Accessories 

Ironically this “King” played with King James (LeBron James) in Miami and won 2 NBA Championships with the Heat. Shane Battier was known for his high basketball IQ, great perimeter defense, and marksmanship from the 3 point line. However, he was also known for not wearing any accessories. Maybe Shane felt more comfortable without any gear.

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Shane Battier


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