LeBron James: Popular men’s style bloggers have noted the Heat star’s amazing style evolution, from typical baller into one of the world’s most stylish men.
Dwyane Wade: Wade’s sense of style is so lauded among men, even GQ magazine — a men’s fashion bible — has sought him out for fashion advice.
Amar’e Stoudemire: New York Nicks star Amar’e Stoudemire is becoming as famous for his polished ensembles as he is for being an NBA player. At almost seven feet tall, Stoudemire has fashion houses like Gucci custom-tailor items for his lanky frame.
Andre Iguodala: Philadelphia 76ers player Andre Iguodala captured a lot of attention during the Simon Spurr Spring 2012 show held in 2011 in New York City. This layered look (which also featured a cardigan that can’t be seen here) was accented with a weathered leather backpack. Swag!
Chris Paul: The Los Angeles Clippers baller was named the most stylish NBA player by AskMen.com, saying, “If you are just starting to get into clothes and dressing nice, you have to get your essentials together. You have to have your white shirts, your blacks, your grays, khaki colors, and denim.”
Derek Fisher: The Lakers player has been named as an NBA star with the best fashion sense. He plays it relatively simple, but within his style range consistently pulls off clean, classic looks.
Kevin Durant: The Oklahoma City Thunder superstar is receiving accolades for the individualism shown in the looks he sports for his post-game press conferences — particularly his high-fashion backpacks. Is he bringing skater chic to the NBA?
Blake Griffin: The Los Angeles Clippers star has been described as having an “impeccable sense of style” by NBC Sports.
Demarcus Cousins: The Sacramento Kings dribbler has used the services of the style firm Élevée to craft a revised personal image based on beautiful clothes.
John Wall: The men’s style blog grungygentleman.com named John Wall one of the most stylish men at the 2011 Espy Awards. His cool combination of camel and cream certainly exemplified his tasteful, self-assured fashion sense.
Baron Davis: This Knicks player apparently loves fashion so much, Davis is producing a documentary decrying the sad decline of men’s style called American Schlub. With his unique looks, that is certainly something no one would ever call him.
Carmelo Anthony: Like many NBA stars in recent years, Anthony of the New York Knicks can often be found attending fashion shows — certainly a departure from sportsmen of the past. Here he attends the Tommy Hilfiger Women’s Spring 2012 show at New York City Fashion Week.
Chris Bosh: Miami Heat player Bosh and wife Adrienne attended the Spring 2012 shows at New York City Fashion Week in 2011, showing his dedication to a life of high style. Some see the act of cutting his dreadlocks as part of his larger style evolution.
Tyson Chandler: Urban lifestyle site GlobalGrind.com calls the New York Knicks center a “baller, gentleman,” and “artist.” Chandler told the site that he now designs his own clothes, and that ”[e]ach individual has a unique sense of fashion.”
Dwight Howard: The Daily News reports that, “Howard has been rumored to be all set to join Deron Williams for the Nets’ move to Brooklyn.” That didn’t stop him from rocking impeccable style during the NBA All-Star weekend. Here he attends an Adidas Y-3 fashion show in 2011.
Tony Parker: Parker of the San Antonio Spurs certainly increased his fashion quotient during his marriage to Eva Longoria. His style is now seen as a perfect match for the watchmaker Tissot, which signed him as an ambassador in 2011.
Joe Johnson: Rumors that the Atlanta Hawks player might be sitting out this weekend’s All-Star activities due to an injury have not hurt his reputation as a classic fashionisto. Here, Johnson displays his traditional prep approach.
Kobe Bryant: LA Lakers star Bryant caught a lot of flack for this eccentric L.A. Times fashion shoot, but theGrio.com gives him points for taking risks — an essential element of exploring personal style.
Derrick Rose: Chicago Bulls star Rose is so fashion forward, he covered ESPN magazine’s style report issue in 2011.
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The 20 most stylish men in the NBA listed below are proof that an evolution in black male style has taken root in the collective masculine psyche. Gone are the days when most professional basketball players wore oversized suits or sweats while hurrying to and from the courts. Today, an NBA baller is more likely to use the walk to the stadium or the post-game press conference to preen in artfully assembled sartorial choices that make an impact.
Rather than borrowing from traditional hip-hop’s vocabulary for fashion inspiration, basketball stars of today take cues from personal stylists and designer runways. The NBA’s biggest names, such as LeBron James and Kevin Durant, now source an array of influences to showcase looks ranging from the casually European to American prep. This expansion of expression for black men with taste has been preceded by stars such as Kanye West — one of the first black men to eschew the bulky clothing and ostentatious logos that used to be popular in rap. But many are surprised to see West’s artsy fashion fluidity filtering into the NBA in the form of refined self-displays and tightly-tailored clothes.
In a sport known for hyper-masculine bravado — otherwise known as “swagger” — a concern over clothing seems antithetical to a professional basketball player’s brand. To the contrary, the fashionistos on this list are garnering more attention than ever for donning bright colors, paying extra attention to accessories (like the now perennial nerd glasses), and sitting front row at fashion shows.
In an era of expanding style for black men, these ballers are taking the helm as the next generation of male fashion icons. In honor of NBA All-Star weekend, we salute the 20 most stylish men in the NBA.
Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb