NBA star LeBron James combines supreme athletic talent with a sharp eye for a nice suit.
Not only is he considered the NBA’s best player, LeBron James is these days regularly described as the sport’s most stylish and fashionable gent. They don’t call him King James for nothing. As with most sporting personalities who develop into style icons, it wasn’t always the case. When the Cleveland Cavaliers star first came on the scene as the In-year-old Number One NBA draft pick in 2003, his off-court uniform consisted of, well, oversized everything. Baggy suits way too long in the pant, even baggier sponsor-issue sportswear and a range of casuals that suggested, all in all, LeBron didn’t care much for fashion.
Within a couple of years, however, when it became clear the “next Michael Jordan” tag was not an exaggeration, LeBron began to quickly up his sartorial game. It coincided with a number of other players turning the pre-match arrival and stroll from team bus to dressing room into a scene akin to one from one of the major menswear shows in Milan. Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony are among the game’s stars who have lifted the bar in terms of off-court dressing, arriving to matches as if they’ve just come from their tailors. The NBA has since instituted a dress code which requires players to wear suits when arriving for matches.
Of course, bespoke tailoring is essential for James, who’s six-foot-eight. He wears custom-made Ralph Lauren and Tom Ford suits, tailored blazers and presumably even his Givenchy sweaters are altered or custom. A semi-regular at men’s fashion weeks these days, LeBron is also a fan of Paul Smith, APC and Lanvin, and wears Audemars Piguet (for whom he’s an ambassador) on his wrist.
What’s more, as the years have gone by, he’s developed the confidence to get edgier in his choices, wearing colour-blocking tuxedos, statement three-piece suits, and jackets and coats that mix textures and styles. And while he’s previously expressed an admiration for the way “old mafia bosses” dressed, he tends to favour a more preppy, smart casual look and knows how to rock a great pair of spectacles.
“I always tell myself, when you look good, you play good,” James told David Lauren in an online interview. “I’m not one of those guys who’s limited in what I can wear. I can look good in a three-piece sash, or a nice T-shirt with a blaze, or a cardigan. I can do it all.”
Not modest, but definitely doing it all.