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

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

Sorting thru racks of ripped jeans and photo tees at Topman in decrease Manhattan in March, Westbrook—carrying a full gray Adidas sweat fit, clean off a flight from Oklahoma City to New York City—is targeted, evenly tuning out the gathering institution of picture-grabbing, Snapchatting fanatics. It’s almost as although he’s handled similar distractions in, say, an opponent’s arena, with a crowd of 20,000 around him.

Erick W. Rasco

He slithers between the maze of mannequins and stacked shelves, preventing him from finding his size whilst an object catches his eye. (His 6′ 3″, 200-pound chiseled frame effortlessly fits into off-the-rack styles.) First, he pulls a black-grey-and-white ombré bomber jacket. Then a pair of Levis jeans with patches sewn haphazardly on both legs. Like a scientist in a lab inspecting a test tube, Westbrook holds up the hanger in front of him, analyzing the match and visualizing his next appearance. He shrugs and adds the jeans to the “yes” pile developing in his hand.

Why now not?Crowning the Fashion King: Russell Westbrook is SI's Most Fashionable Athlete 2017 3

This is the two-word mantra using which he shops, however also utilizing which he practices, plays, walks, talks, attires, and eats. It’s the phrase he wears on an orange silicone bracelet on his wrist. It’s the phrase that helped him gain the 2017 MVP award after averaging a triple-double, a feat no NBA player had executed for the reason that Oscar Robertson in 1961–sixty-two, at the same time as piling up a record forty-two of them. It’s the phrase that looks within the name of his charity company, the Russell Westbrook. Why Not? Foundation. It’s the phrase he hashtags on his Instagram posts, which regularly displays off his unorthodox attire.

“It is going to such a lot of things, now not simply in fashion, however, your complete self,” says Westbrook. “It’s so crucial to remember to be yourself, irrespective of what others suppose.”

Wondering what befell to the one’s Levis denim? When Westbrook exited onto the SoHo streets, trailed with the aid of a percent of fanatics, the denim turned into considered one of some gadgets in his purchasing bag. One month later, in Houston, he arrived at Game 2 in the first round of the playoffs sporting them, paired with a black-and-white patterned, short-sleeve shirt— buttoned simplest as soon as, near the lowest closer to his waistline—and accessorized with sunglasses and a black bandanna. He calculated every detail of the outfit, down to the silver chains dangling onto his bare chest.

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“I put on an aggregate of the whole thing,” he says matter-of-factly. “I go with what I’m feeling and with what appears accurate, regardless of how a lot it is. I need to expose human beings internationally that you don’t constantly have to put on high-end. Whatever it’s miles, you can still be elegant.”

If Westbrook’s tastes don’t earn standard reward from style critics among his NBA peers, he attracts high marks for boldness. Most cite the way he performs first, then follow with a mention of his accelerated style game. “I assume it’s an instantaneous reflection of who he’s,” says Warriors forward Andre Iguodala, No. Nine on the 2017 Fashionable 50 listing. “He goes tough 100%, crashing into you. He’s wild. But it works on the court. He receives it executed. I’m a fan of him and his style.”

Jacket and pants with the aid of three.1 PHILLIP LIM. Sweater using MICHAEL KORS. Shoes by way of COMMON PROJECTS.
Jacket and pants via 3.1 PHILLIP LIM. Sweater via MICHAEL KORS. Shoes by way of COMMON PROJECTS.
Taylor Ballantyne

“He’s just killing it, in his own way,” says Bears wide receiver Victor Cruz, SI’s most stylish athlete in 2016. “For him, it’s simply: Why can’t I put on that? Why must I be pigeonholed into one thing? Why can’t I common a triple-double for the duration of the whole season? There’s nothing that he looks like he can’t do, and that embodies his whole personality. And it makes for exceptional style.”

Closing in a decade as a seasoned, the 28-12 months-old from Long Beach, Calif., has come to be lots of factors. A file breaker. A statistical anomaly. A fashion icon. A clothing fashion designer. And most lately, the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.

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