Today we have the first in a great series of articles from guest writer, Sarah Moon. With an innate sense of fashion, coupled with a great knowledge of the game, Sarah has analyzed the world of style in the NBA. Players around the league, you really need to take note of this stern warning.
There’s a special fraternity in the NBA that I call The Over-Accessorizers. You know who I mean-those guys who seem to keep adding on to their look. Maybe it starts with a headband, and then they can’t resist the siren song of a shooting sleeve, and it snowballs from there. Or perhaps they start wearing a shooting sleeve because of an injury such as tendinitis, and it becomes a habit (and some argue a placebo). And, of course, the NBA has benefitted richly from this the Over-Accessorizers-shooting sleeves, for example, are apparently hot sellers on NBA.com. As a result, there are a lot of Joe Hoops at 24 Hour Fitness thinking that their powder blue shooting sleeve will someday, somehow help them be like ‘Melo.
Unfortunately, there are a few Over-Accessorizers that can justify their neoprene and nylon-and they’re off limits, for now. While I would like to mock Dirk Nowitzki’s goofy-looking arm sleeve, for example, I realize that it’s serving an actual purpose, given that he’s recovering from that gruesome collision with Carl Landry’s teeth. (While I’m at it, I must mention how sorely disappointed I am that Vince Carter’s spandex sleeved undershirt is medically necessary, because he really looks like a reject from the NCAA these days.) I also have ruled out face masks as an element in over-accessorizing, because it’s just not right to judge anyone who has had their face broken-they’ve been through enough as it is.
With those parameters in place, the following are my choices for the Over-Accessorizers in desperate need of an on-court style intervention.
Mike Bibby is pretty much a hot mess, and also my nemesis (a title he shares with the Lopez twins), so it’s almost too easy to mock his style — almost.
Look carefully at Bibby’s calf sleeves. Notice anything? That’s right, they have contrasting back seams. Like vintage ladies’ stockings.
Since I don’t pay all that much attention to the back of NBA players’ neoprene-encased legs, I had an open mind (despite that I generally assume the worst about Mike Bibby), thinking that all calf sleeves had this particular design element. Perhaps contrasting back seams are critical to the way these sleeves are manufactured? Nope. My extremely unscientific survey of NBA calf sleeves revealed that the vast majority are normal, without contrasting back seams.
I know that Mr. Bibby has some extremely unsightly tattoos on his legs, so perhaps he wears the sleeves to disguise those, yet feels somehow naked without ornamentation on his calves, so the back seams serves that purpose. However, it’s still unacceptable. Back seamed stockings look cute on me, never on Mike Bibby.
If Mike Miller still had that weird long hair, his black footless tights would make sense-I would just assume that he was going for a European soccer player look and move on with life. However, the close-cropped ‘do in combination with the black tights make no sense whatsoever. (Though, neither does the fact that Mike Miller once had a pet monkey; Miller’s a mystery wrapped in an enigma.)
See, over-accessorizing is heavily influence by context-sometimes something that in its parts seems wrong, feels right (see Pierce, Paul) and you can make an exception, but in this instance it is very, very wrong. At this point, Mike just resembles Adam Morrison in leggings-not a look that anyone would embrace.
The Nuggets’ unfortunately-tattooed power forward is one of those special NBA players who fail in every aspect of their aesthetic lives. Kenyon has the bad luck of also playing for a team that appears to be deeply committed to over-accessorizing and whose colors (powder blue, gold, white and navy) make any superfluous gear pop even more. Bright yellow knee pads? Power blue headbands? Anyone would look ridiculous in that gear. While there’s a weird part of me that kind of likes the Nuggets (yeah, I know-strange), I cannot even deal with looking at Kenyon Martin — he’s just a horrifying visual cornucopia of spandex, neoprene and overly-shiny nylon.
On any given night, you can spot no fewer than-count ‘em-seven pieces of flair adorning Kenyon Martin: headband, wrist/elbow/armband (the placement varies), shooting sleeve, knee pads worn as calf sleeves and ankle sleeves, all in one of the eye-popping Denver Nuggets colors. He is so loaded down with extras that logic would indicate that it’s probably affecting his game-wouldn’t it impact his aerodynamic potential?
Of course, the accessories, combined with Kenyon’s deep commitment to ink further accentuate the magnitude of his over-accessorizing. Really, at some point in your career, you’ve got to choose: The Ink or The Accessories.
The Chicago Bulls have been popping up on my television a lot lately, and I’ve come to realize something about the 2009 NBA Rookie of the Year: I actually like Derrick Rose’s game. Yet, since he entered the league, I have been so distracted by his leg warmer*-knee pad combination, that I hadn’t realized exactly how good this guy is. And I watch a lot of basketball, read a lot about basketball, go to a lot of basketball games, well, you get the picture. When Rose takes the court, he doesn’t look like an NBA point guard, he looks like one of the high school students from Fame — the 1980 version.
A warning to all the young guys out there with NBA aspirations: if you’re over-accessorizing to the point where relatively basketball savvy folks like me are so distracted by your pieces of flair that they think you’re auditioning for an eighties musical flick, consider editing your look.
Random Style Blips:
- While many would argue that Allen Iverson, with his headband and shooting sleeve is a career-long Over-Accessorizer, I firmly believe that he’s an NBA style pioneer. No one does that look with quite the confidence of A.I.
- Eddie House could also be considered a chronic Over-Accessorizer, but his look makes sense (again, context is critical). If you’ve read Seven Seconds or Less, you know what I mean.
- I could legitimately include the entire Denver Nuggets team throughout the last two decades as an Over-Accessorizing Collective. But, really, an accessories conspiracy that extreme deserves its own post.
- Dear Jerryd Bayless: You’re a great kid, with a promising future, but that shooting sleeve really exaggerates your short arms. Maybe re-think the look and accentuate the positive.
- If Joe Johnson keeps wearing those white capri tights, he will rocket to the top of the Over-Accessorizing List of Shame. I mean, white capri tights? Really? (Look at this photo here).
- More sports goggles, please. No contemporary player rocks them quite like Buck Williams did — they must make a comeback. (No, Amar’e, yours don’t count-they’re probably Louis Vuitton.)
*Yes, I know that Derrick Rose is probably not actually wearing leg warmers, but it sure as hell looks like he is-and really, that’s all that matters.
Sarah Moon is a Portland-based writer and Trail Blazers fan who spends way too much time contemplating the style hits and misses of NBA players. She also holds out hope that one day Channing Frye will triumphantly return to Portland — and run for Mayor. Follow Sarah’s thoughts on basketball, life in Portland and other random musings and rants on Twitter.