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Westbrook’s world: Fashion meets sports

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Westbrook’s world: Fashion meets sports

Sam Stravach

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NBA coaches and broadcasters wore extravagant suits on Nov. 30 to honor broadcaster Craig Sager, who passed away of leukemia in December of 2016. This was because Sager was not only well known for his career as a basketball commentator, but also for his one-of-a-kind style. Sager’s fashion impact strays far beyond this one night as he was one of the pioneers of sports fashion.

Since Sager’s death, there has been a gradual decrease in sports fashion. However, recently more leaders in sports have begun wearing more extravagant outfits to the games and post-game interviews.

One current NBA player who has established himself as both a superstar on the court and leader in the fashion movement is seven-time All-Star Russell Westbrook. In 2015, Westbrook started receiving attention for his fashion choices. News outlets began noting Westbrook’s unique style, and not long after began referring to him as a “fashion icon” in sports.

In February of 2015, Westbrook did an interview with Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal on the on-going fashion movement in the NBA. During this interview, Westbrook referenced former fashionable players such as Walt Frazier and said that after a time of casual dressing, the NBA was going back to the old days in terms of style. “We had a period of time where guys were just kind of wearing T-shirts and hats,” said Westbrook.

Westbrook furthered his domination of the sports fashion industry in 2016 when he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated Fashionable 50, which honors the top 50 best dressed athletes. On this cover, SI referred to Westbrook as “The Fashion MVP.” Westbrook embraces this title and the recognition he receives for his style choices, even ending many of his captions on Instagram with #fashionking.

On Aug. 30, 2017, Westbrook published a book called Russell Westbrook: Style Drivers. Throughout this fashion book, there is a compilation of images and texts displaying different inspirations for Westbrook. The book also touches on Westbrook’s ability to redefine himself as more than just an athlete.

Not only does Westbrook use his style to define himself and inspire others, he also uses it as a way to give back. In an interview in September of 2017 with Ellen DeGeneres, Westbrook admitted that he never wears the same outfit twice, so he ends up giving the clothes away to friends or Goodwill.

Westbrook has driven this fashion movement, which has expanded to leagues outside the NBA. In the NFL, several football players including superstars like Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. have also begun wearing more extravagant clothing to the stadium and during post game interviews.

It is evident that Westbrook’s impact expands much further than the basketball court. He is a fashion icon and has inspired athletes to proudly represent themselves through what they wear. Westbrook’s message to other players: “Let’s get dressed up and let’s go out.”

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