Crowning the Fashion King: Russell Westbrook is SI’s Most Fashionable Athlete 2017

You suppose Thunder point protect Russell Westbrook draws a crowd whilst he dribbles beyond half-courtroom? You haven’t seen him shopping in SoHo.

Sorting through racks of ripped jeans and graphic tees at Topman in decrease Manhattan in March, Westbrook—sporting a complete gray Adidas sweat healthy, clean off a flight from Oklahoma City to New York City—is targeted, evenly tuning out the gathering group of image-grabbing, Snapchatting fanatics. It’s almost as even though he’s dealt with similar distractions in, say, an opponent’s arena, with a crowd of 20,000 around him.

He slithers among the maze of mannequins and stacked shelves, preventing to discover his length, whilst an object catches his eye. (His 6′ three”, 200-pound chiseled frame easily fits into off-the-rack patterns.) First, he pulls a black-grey-and-white ombré bomber jacket. Then a couple of Levis denim with patches sewn haphazardly on each leg. Like a scientist in a lab analyzing a check tube, Westbrook holds up the hanger in front of him, studying the healthy and visualizing his next look. He shrugs and adds the denim to the “yes” pile developing in his hand.

This is the 2-word mantra through which he shops, but also via which he practices, performs, walks, talks, attire and eats. It’s the word he wears on an orange silicone bracelet on his wrist. It’s the phrase that helped him acquire the 2017 MVP award after averaging a triple double, a feat no NBA player had carried out on the grounds that Oscar Robertson in 1961–62, even as piling up a document 42 of them. It’s the word that looks inside the call of his charity employer, the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation. It’s the word he hashtags on his Instagram posts, which often display off his unorthodox attire.

“It goes throughout such a lot of matters, now not just in fashion, however, your whole self,” says Westbrook. “It’s so vital to recall to be your self, no matter what others think.”

Wondering what happened to the one’s Levis jeans? When Westbrook exited onto the SoHo streets, trailed by means of a % of enthusiasts, the denim changed into one in every of a few items in his purchasing bag. One month later, in Houston, he arrived at Game 2 within the first spherical of the playoffs wearing them, paired with a black-and-white patterned, short-sleeve blouse— buttoned only as soon as, close to the lowest towards his waistline—and accessorized with sun shades and a black bandanna. He calculated every element of the outfit, all the way down to the silver chains dangling onto his naked chest.

“I put on an aggregate of the entirety,” he says count number-of-factly. “I go together with what I’m feeling and with what appears true, irrespective of how an awful lot it’s far. I need to reveal humans the world over which you don’t continually should wear excessive-stop. Whatever it is, you may nonetheless be fashionable.”

If Westbrook’s tastes don’t earn commonplace reward from fashion critics, among his NBA friends he draws excessive marks for boldness. Most cite the manner he plays first, then observe with a mention of his accelerated style game. “I suppose it’s a right away mirrored image of who he’s,” says Warriors forward Andre Iguodala, No. Nine at the 2017 Fashionable 50 list. “He simply is going through a hundred%, crashing into you. He’s wild. But it works on the courtroom. He gets it performed. I’m partial to him, and his fashion.”

“He’s just killing it, in his own way,” says Bears wide receiver Victor Cruz, SI’s maximum elegant athlete in 2016. “For him, it’s simply: Why can’t I put on that? Why have to I be pigeonholed into one issue? Why can’t I average a triple double at some point of the whole season? There’s not anything that he seems like he can’t do, and that just embodies his whole persona. And it makes for outstanding style.”

Closing in a decade as a seasoned, the 28-yr-antique from Long Beach, Calif., has emerged as a lot of things. A document breaker. A statistical anomaly. A fashion icon. A garb dressmaker. And most lately, the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.

It seems as though he’s come a protracted way from the five’ 8″, a hundred and the forty-pound freshman who became cut from Leuzinger High varsity. But without a doubt, his indelible worldview—and the accomplishments that have to include it—commenced returned than when Westbrook and his buddies followed it to assist them in staying effective and finding a manner out of inner-town Los Angeles.