A look on what the NBA is indulging

GQ in the NBA

GQ is a very prominent men’s fashion magazine. GQ is just one example of how fashion is becoming such a large component in the sporting community. Lebron James has graced the covers of many magazines as a kid, such as Sports Illustrated and ESPN, however as he excelled in the sporting world his views and passion for fashion were able to be showcased. Lebron has been on the cover of Vogue and this is his second time on the cover of GQ. This GQ issue really got into the works of how the players in the NBA are implemented into the fashion world and are making steps to make their name not just on the court but on the runway as well. The issue goes over the top five styles of Lebron and four prominent fashion icons in the NBA. The issue also categorizes and points out NBA players with certain tattoos, shoes, hairdos, or anything special. For example, Anthony Davis is pretty famous for his “brow”, so GQ also keyed in on that component to get a connection from NBA fans to fashionistas. It is a good marketing strategy for GQ, because with NBA playoffs about to go into full swing, people are all over the NBA. This issue not only draws in the regular GQ readers but also people who will walk by the stand and see Lebron on the cover and want to get the issue to see if there is any info on the NBA. This issue is a great depiction of how NBA is becoming a bigger topic in the fashion industry and even more so vice versa.



Ballin’ Beards

Although different hairstyles are a stand out in the NBA due to their freedom from being affiliated with a university, something else that these men let loose with is their facial hair. For starters, these grown men have the capability to grow a fiercer set of hair on their chin than those in the NCAA.

There are many beards that come and go in the NBA, however there are three current beards that stand out more than the rest.

First off is Birdman. Chris Andersen seems to work his way into every post on this blog whether it’s about tattoos or his hair, but he is a very decorated athlete.



Birdman’s beard has been a recent sighting, however he has been able to grow and shape his beard to make it one of the most talked about right now.



Next beard up is Kevin Love. Love has a very thick beard that cant be missed, he could easily be mistaken for a lumberjack.

The most notorious beard that never fails is the beard of James Harden.



He is notorious for his hefty hair at his chin. Harden’s fans have set up a Facebook page in honor of his beard alerting others that they should “FEAR THE BEARD”. When his former team, Oklahoma City were in the playoffs, many store fronts had large beard signs out front to represent his fashion. Footlocker also has made many commercials that have Harden’s beard being the butt of the joke.

Whether it’s a new look or a withstanding trend, beards are something that will always be around these NBA men.

The Fro

An afro is a great hair style from the past. In the 70’s and 80’s it was common to see many African  American athletes with a full “Fro”, however it is a rarity these days.Robert Griffin III, a former Baylor Bear and current Washington Redskins quarterback, decided to rock the Fro and the Bear’s basketball jerseys.

Griffin makes reference of “Dr. J” Julius Irving and his infamous hairdo.

Dr. J was known for having the best hair in the ABA (the American Basketball Association).

The era of this poofy do began in the ABA, which was founded in the late 1960’s and merged with the NBA in the mid 70s.

Since Dr. J already took the award for the best Fro, lets hash over some of the best hair styles we have seen in the NBA.

Now Robin Lopez has been known for some crazy hair for a while, his curly locks are something that people can’t miss and even more so helps him stick out from his twin basketball playing brother.

Joakim Noah is also known for his hair, whether it is untied crazy and loose or wrapped up into a little bun on his head.

These players are known for their loose and untamed hair, however these next two players are known for their shape and style of the do.






As I mentioned earlier, Chris Andersen is known for his very drastic look on the court and there is no exception for his hair. Andersen always rocks the spiked and gelled mohawk.





Another fine tuned head of hair is Norris Cole, for the Miami Heat, who has perfected the flat top.

Hair is something that is particular to each person and is great example of how people can show of their style and flare in a new way.

NBA All-Star Audio

Taylor Axelson and Jaylen Souchek join me to discuss the latest fashion trends that hit the hardwood during the NBA All-Star Game last weekend. The All-Star game is a great platform for designers to try something different and to allow athletes to show their personality apart from their team.

Taylor Axelson is a Daily Iowan TV sports reporter. Axelson has worked on ESPN Radio as well as on CBS and FOX sports. She has a high knowledge of sports and the community that is surrounded by them.

Jalyn Souchek has also been a Daily Iowan TV sports reporter for the past two years. Souchek  covers each Iowa basketball home game and is the basketball beat reporter for DI.

nbajerseyThe NBA All-Star

Stephen Curry, Carmelo Anthony, John Wall shoes

Stephen Curry, Carmelo Anthony, John Wall shoes

Tatted up

Tattoos are a key feature in the appearance of NBA players, and athletes in general. In a basketball uniform these tattoos can be very visible due to the tank top jersey. Tattoos are a visible way that players can showcase their personality.

NBA players are the ones known to have the most tattoos and the
meanings of each of them greatly range.chosen 1 tattoo
Lebron James got this tattoo to portray his “Chosen One” talents,
as one of the greatest players of his time.





However, James is not a player that people would think of when they think of tatted up players. Chris Andersen “bird man” is a player for the Miami Heat and is known for his out of the ordinary appearance on the court. His very colorful tattoos are something that stand out and are easily recognizable.

birdmanlittlebirdmanHere is a picture of a little boy dressed up as Bird Man for halloween, he has sleeves to replicate the tattoos of Bird Man.





Another NBA player that is covered in ink is J.R. Smith. As seen in this picture, Smith is covered with tattoos, leaving little room for any more.

JR SmithSmith had around 70 tattoos “before I lost count.”  Smith actually said about tattoos that he “hated them” when he was younger, and told himself “he would never get like this.” (As stated on:

Even a handful of our own Iowa Hawkeyes are inked up. Aaron White, Anthony Clemmens, Kyle Denning, Josh Oglesby, Melsahn Basabe, and Devyn Marble all sport the ink. The Daily Iowan did a cover of senior, Devyn Marble’s favorite tattoos.

Tattoos range from person to person and can either be meaningful to the person or something that they simply liked as proven by Marble.

NBA sleeves

Classic pictures of the NBA with short shorts, tank jerseys, and tube socks are something of the past. One addition to the uniforms are the sleeve.


The sleeve is somewhat of a fashion statement, but also practical. The sleeve became popularized in the NBA in 2000 when Allen Iverson had elbow bursitis. The sleeve provides compression for the injured area, which can help keep muscles warm as well as reduce any possible swelling. Also, as can see on Hibbert’s (shown above) sleeve there is padding on his elbow. There are also leg sleeves that have padding on the knees, as well as compression shorts that have padding on the hips and thighs. The research hasn’t fully showed beneficial results, however the “placebo effect” is in play for the sleeve. Players at the NBA level will feed into any superstition that can assist them to play better, especially if it is a fashion statement as well.

If you turn on any NBA game, you will find multiple sleeves on the court. The NBA doesn’t allow full length-tights, so this is a way that players can get around the strict NBA guidelines. It may be a fashion statement or a crutch to lean on for the aches and pains, but one thing that is for sure is that the players love them.  The sleeve isn’t as prominent in the NCAA, because athletes are given equipment by the athletic training staff when necessary. Having a uniformed look on the court as a collegiate team is something that is more important to those with in the big leagues. With high income and more flexibility, the professional players are more likely to be showing off their sleeved limbs, and we have Iverson to thank for that.


History on the Hardwood

Before we start dissecting the comparison of the NBA and college ball, we need to see how far the uniforms have come.

Since the era of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, the uniforms looked and fit differently than they do now. The short shorts and sleeveless shirts were a staple trend in the 80’s. Although the hems may have grown, the colors and creativity has faded.


For example, the old-school Denver Nuggets jersey  is filled with up to five colors and shapes to draw the eye to the uniform.

nuggets new

In comparison to the 21st century Denver Nuggets jersey, that has two colors and a simple franchise name.

Basketball fan, Chelsea Holt said, “In the 80’s the logos and color schemes told a story and created a picture for each team.” That is not the case today, when you turn on the TV, it is difficult to tell which teams are playing due to the limited colors and simplistic design. The teams and uniforms have begun to blend together.

Although the colors are something that people may miss, there is one thing that the players are glad that are gone.


“No more short shorts,” said Hawkeye Aaron White.

Longer shorts became a major trend in the early 90’s, when the Fab Five popularized the idea.  The Fab Five were a group of five players at the University of Iowa in the early 90’s. They trended the idea of baggy shorts and black socks, and from that point on the hem lengths have stayed around the knee.

This change was also relevant in the women’s side.

womens bball

This is a view of a women’s typical uniform in the early era. As you can see the hemlines are short and there is a lot of skin shown.


Here is a picture of the Iowa women’s basketball team, where the hemlines have lengthened and the amount of skin showing is limited.

Even though the uniforms have changed, each person wears them in their own way. “Some wear them baggier and some wear them more fit, which I don’t think was the case in the 80’s,” said avid fan, Mitch Plimmer.

The unique style that the 21st century players abide to, brings character to their simplistic uniforms. With the desire for connection with these high society athletes, it is an interesting way to see a player’s personality in the way that they are “balled up”. With the history out of the way, we will start to cover the trends that make each athlete their own.

Swag Kings

As mentioned before, there is a high desire to see what people are wearing especially in the professional sporting industry. With the high desire to see what people are wearing, there is a high outcome of opinions and comments on the outfits as well.

Russell Westbrook has taken the crown for trying new things, and in the past couple years the trends have started to flood the NBA teams. Kevin Durant, Amar’e Stoudemire, Lebron James and Dwyane Wade are names that we are used to hearing on SportsCenter or seeing in the latest SportsIllustrated, but now we are hearing about them on E! Network or seeing them in the front rows at Fashion Week.

Major fashion magazines, such as GQ, have started to pay attention to these celebrities. GQ wrote an article about the top names in the NBA as players and as fashion icons. There is also a blog that streams pictures of the latest outfits that NBA players are sporting. These “swag kings” are making name in the fashion industry purely for their street attire, and with the NBA in full swing, and fashion week recently ending there will be many opportunities to catch the latest trends that are hitting the runway and the locker rooms.

There is a constant competition of who can get the best look, but sometimes best doesn’t mean the most fashionable but the most talked about. The outlandish trends as well as the classic styles will help the players keep their competitive edge off the court.