Just like any brand, the NBA has gone through its ups and downs. Yet just a few years ago, as everyone was still in their post-Chicago MJ mourning, the League (and its fans) must have set a mark for consecutively bad fashion statements.
This was like Kanye in the “Stronger” video or any person who has ever worn Crocs: It was pathetic. Yet, I can’t even poke fun too much at some of the moves because I’m guilty as well for donning some hideous stuff.
Thankfully, we’ve moved on from most of the things that plagued the turn of the century. For the most part — Kobe, I’m looking at you. Here are five basketball fashion trends that we’re glad are gone.
Arguing over money. Selfishly demanding more shots. On trial for murder, vehicular manslaughter and gun possession. I don’t think Jesus would’ve done any of that. NBA guys have. I remember buying a few of these wristbands back in the day as well. They always felt awkward and every time I went up to shoot, found myself peering at the black or blue band instead of at the rim. Not sure if Allen Iverson was the first to rock these, but I remember he made it cool to ponder the question. This was one of just a few terrible fashion statements that A.I. has popularized (don’t get me started on the arm sleeve). But I’ll give The Answer the benefit of the doubt, considering he’d dominate a list of the best fashion trends of the past decade.
The only redeeming quality of the ugly line of Dada Supreme sneakers that came out at the start of the century was that you could buy custom pairs for like $60 in Eastbay. Thank God I never fell for the trap. These were easily some of the most ugly kicks I’ve ever seen, probably the worst line ever. Chris Webber, what were you thinking? He can’t take complete blame for the trend of terrible feet. Shaq had some terrible innovations like the phone sneaker, or the Sprewells that had actual spinners on them — people who bought those had to be starving for attention. Everyone wanted to push the envelope: even Tim Duncan had some Adidas joints that proclaimed to have a microchip in them, but we had reached the point where no one could go any further. Thankfully, we have moved back towards decency and some subtlety.
Perhaps Dwyane Wade was really the only person trying to get this fad going. Nelly tried during his heyday, and when Wade was injured for an All-Star weekend a couple years ago, he went with the bold new look for a few games before the NBA snuffed it out. Let’s just say it was a disaster and one of the worst moves Flash has gone through with during his entire career. This was like ’09 version of Kobe’s photo shoot this year with the L.A. Times. How are you going to rock a smooth suit and a business casual look with a band-aid stuck on your cheek with your name on it? I would be willing to say this was one of the worst fashion moves of any celebrity ever. It’s right up there with Kriss Kross and Timbs in the summer (a look I used to stupidly rock back in the day).
This is a tough one. On the one hand, supposedly these helped players keep their legs warm throughout those cold winter nights or increase circulation or something. But on the other hand, they were an eyesore. The worst were the ones that weren’t black; when guys started donning different colors, that’s when David Stern said “enough is enough” and put an end to the ballerina mimicking. Shit, I even tried. I bought a couple of long leg wraps — think T-Mac in Orlando — and while they weren’t exactly tights, they served the same purpose. I think I wore them for one practice in high school. After that, it was tough to continue to wear them when they made me sweat bullets and look stupid, not to mention I think the whole helping-your-legs-thing was an illusion. I always felt better once I took them off.
Allow me the attempt to distance myself from my own foray into the world of Tall Tees. For years, I went with this look: the bigger, the better. I remember I visited my boy’s house in Troy, N.Y., once and was ecstatic to find a store that carried 6XL tees in all different colors. Call me immature. I don’t know. I feel looking back on it, that it wasn’t a good look. A part of me is actually happy David Stern went through with the dress code. Everyone is looking fresh these days, rocking suits and ill sweaters. Not too long ago, NBA guys were wearing nothing but huge white tees, filling up their closets with them. You know it’s bad when you hang clothes up and still have to fold them at the bottom because they are hitting the sneaker boxes below. That was me. I can’t even fathom how ridiculously long and wide Eddy Curry‘s shirts must’ve been. Let’s all be thankful this look has aged. White tees are great, but ones made for giraffes aren’t.