(Published June, 2012)
The Miami Heat don't just battle on the basketball court. There are some serious fashion wars being waged as well.
Think hot pink pants. Fake glasses. Sweet suits.
And fashion stylists who plan for the season as much as Coach Spoelstra.
"Dwyane [Wade] and I begin working on his look at the beginning of the season, deciding the direction he wants to go," explained stylist Calyann Barnett. "We're always tweaking it. He has so many people following [his fashion] that we have to keep changing it."
Here's a look at the competition taking place off the court.
The big ballers bring serious suits to center court. Barnett said Wade likes double-breasted blazers. Rachel Johnson, who styles LeBron James and Chris Bosh, said, "LJ has timeless, classic sartorial tendencies. Bosh is completely, totally dedicated to presenting himself as a gentleman at all times and will more likely than not be seen in perfectly tailored suiting."
Wade's weapon of choice in the wardrobe war is Crayola color. Remember those pink pants? "He's very big on color; pinks and purples," said Barnett. "Not many guys can pull that off. So it's fun to play with that. He's always ahead of the curve, and we want to keep it that way."
Becoming a spectacle
The biggest fashion headline from the dapper dribblers has been their "geek chic" eyewear. The thick-rimmed retro lens-less design is a slick style move. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James and Wade have all been rocking the look.
Yeah, there's a dress code
In 2005, NBA commissioner David Stern implemented a dress code after years of watching players show up to league events wearing baggy jeans, throwback jerseys and sneakers. Now, business casual is the order of the day. Collared shirts, turtlenecks, sweaters, dressy jeans and khaki pants are OK. Headgear, T-shirts, shorts and sleeveless shirts are not. And don't even think about sunglasses indoors.
The first clue was when King James was on the cover of Vogue in 2008 ... with uber model Gisele Bundchen no less. Then last year Dwyane Wade started hanging around Vogue editrix Anna Wintour and attending European fashion shows with Kanye West, Idris Elba and Usher. During the lockout, Chris Bosh spent some free time front row at the catwalk capers of Cynthia Rowley and Lacoste. Posh Bosh even made haute headlines with quotes about style in Esquire and New York Magazine.
Shop like LeBron?
Fashion isn't something LeBron James simply wears. He helps sell it, too, at Unknwn, a store he co-owns in Aventura Mall.
"He'll give his opinion on things that he likes. He travels 10 times more than we do, so if he sees something he likes, he'll take a snapshot and send it to me," said Frankie Walker, a longtime friend of James' and one of Unknwn's co-owners. "He's brought a couple of brands into the store himself."
Shop like Dwyane?
Many of the looks the Dapper Dunkmeister wears come from right here in SoFlo. "Neiman Marcus, Merrick Park, the Webster in South Beach and Atrium, that's also in South Beach," said Barnett. "I'm also getting stuff from New York. We're in constant communication back and forth with New York."
Russell Westbrook's shirt mania
OK, so the Heat can't take all the credit for sporting fancy threads. Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook has made headlines for his Sally Jessy Raphael-like red glasses and his strange collection of colorful patterned shirts. Fishing lures, shapes, dots and colorful characters that look straight out of aDr. Seuss book have all graced Westbrook's shirts.