This story seems within the July 24, 2017, challenge of Sports Illustrated. Subscribe to the journal here.
You assume Thunder level guard Russell Westbrook attracts a crowd when he dribbles previous half-courtroom? You haven’t seen him buying in SoHo.
Sorting by racks of ripped denims and graphic tees at Topman in decrease Manhattan in March, Westbrook—sporting a full grey Adidas sweat swimsuit, contemporary off a flight from Oklahoma Metropolis to New York Metropolis—is targeted, calmly tuning out the gathering group of photograph-grabbing, Snapchatting followers. It’s virtually as if he’s handled comparable distractions in, say, an opponent’s area, with a crowd of 20,000 round him.
Erick W. Rasco
He slithers between the maze of mannequins and stacked cabinets, stopping to seek out his measurement, when an merchandise catches his eye. (His 6' three", 200-pound chiseled body simply suits into off-the-rack types.) First he pulls a black-grey-and-white ombré bomber jacket. Then a pair of Levis denims with patches sewn haphazardly on each legs. Like a scientist in a lab analyzing a take a look at tube, Westbrook holds up the hanger in entrance of him, learning the match and visualizing his subsequent look. He shrugs, and provides the denims to the “sure” pile creating in his hand.
That is the 2-phrase mantra by which he outlets, but in addition by which he practices, performs, walks, talks, clothes and eats. It’s the phrase he wears on an orange silicone bracelet on his wrist. It’s the phrase that helped him reap the 2017 MVP award after averaging a triple double, a feat no NBA participant had achieved since Oscar Robertson in 1961–62, whereas piling up a report 42 of them. It’s the phrase that seems within the identify of his charity group, the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Basis. It’s the phrase he hashtags on his Instagram posts, which frequently exhibit his unorthodox apparel.
“It goes throughout so many issues, not simply in style however your entire self,” says Westbrook. “It’s so vital to recollect to be your self, no matter what others assume.”
Questioning what occurred to these Levis denims? When Westbrook exited onto the SoHo streets, trailed by a pack of followers, the denim was one of some objects in his buying bag. One month later, in Houston, he arrived to Recreation 2 within the first spherical of the playoffs carrying them, paired with a black-and-white patterned, quick-sleeve shirt— buttoned solely as soon as, close to the underside in the direction of his waistline—and accessorized with sun shades and a black bandanna. He calculated each element of the outfit, all the way down to the silver chains dangling onto his naked chest.
“I put on a mixture of every little thing,” he says matter-of-factly. “I'm going with what I’m feeling and with what seems to be good, no matter how a lot it's. I wish to present individuals the world over that you just don’t all the time must put on excessive-finish. No matter it's, you possibly can nonetheless be trendy.”
If Westbrook’s tastes don’t earn common reward from style critics, amongst his NBA friends he attracts excessive marks for boldness. Most cite the way in which he performs first, then comply with with a point out of his elevated type recreation. “I believe it’s a direct reflection of who he's,” says Warriors ahead Andre Iguodala, No. 9 on the 2017 Fashionable 50 list. “He simply goes onerous 100%, crashing into you. He’s wild. Nevertheless it works on the courtroom. He will get it finished. I’m a fan of him, and his style.”
Jacket and pants by three. PHILLIP LIM. Sweater by MICHAEL KORS. Sneakers by COMMON PROJECTS.
“He’s simply killing it, in his personal manner,” says Bears large receiver Victor Cruz, SI’s most trendy athlete in 2016. “For him, it’s simply: Why can’t I put on that? Why ought to I be pigeonholed into one factor? Why can’t I common a triple double all through your complete season? There’s nothing that he looks like he can’t do, and that simply embodies his total persona. And it makes for nice style.”
Closing in a decade as a professional, the 28-year-previous from Lengthy Seaside, Calif., has change into a whole lot of issues. A report breaker. A statistical anomaly. A style icon. A clothes designer. And most not too long ago, the NBA’s Most Useful Participant.
It appears as if he’s come a great distance from the 5' eight", 140-pound freshman who was reduce from Leuzinger Excessive varsity. However actually, his indelible worldview—and the accomplishments which have include it—began again then, when Westbrook and his mates adopted it to assist them keep constructive and discover a manner out of internal-metropolis Los Angeles.