RUSSELL WESTBROOK knows how to make a statement. The pregame dance routines, the triple doubles, the sartorial decisions—they're all an extension of the self-proclaimed Fashion King's unwavering self-confidence, deepened by his utter disregard for what others may think. Because of that persona—and the style and swag that come with it—Westbrook heads SI's second annual Fashionable 50 list, honoring the most stylish athletes in sports.
1 RUSSELL WESTBROOK
YOU THINK Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook draws a crowd when he dribbles past half-court? You haven't seen him shopping in SoHo.
Sorting through racks of ripped jeans and graphic tees at Topman in lower Manhattan in March, Westbrook—sporting a full gray Adidas sweat suit, fresh off a flight from Oklahoma City to New York City—is focused, calmly tuning out the gathering group of photo-grabbing, Snapchatting fans. It's almost as though he's dealt with similar distractions in, say, an opponent's arena, with a crowd of 20,000 around him.
He slithers between the maze of mannequins and stacked shelves, stopping to find his size, when an item catches his eye. (His 6'3", 200-pound chiseled frame easily fits into off-the-rack styles.) First he pulls a black-gray-and-white ombré bomber jacket. Then a pair of Levis jeans with patches sewn haphazardly on both legs. Like a scientist in a lab examining a test tube, Westbrook holds up the hanger in front of him, studying the fit and visualizing his next look. He shrugs, and adds the jeans to the "yes" pile developing in his hand.
This is the two-word mantra by which he shops, but also by which he practices, plays, walks, talks, dresses 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 player had achieved since Oscar Robertson in 1961--62, while piling up a record 42 of them. It's the phrase that appears in the name of his charity organization, the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation. It's the phrase he hashtags on his Instagram posts, which often show off his unorthodox attire.
"It goes across so many things, not just in fashion but your whole self," says Westbrook. "It's so important to remember to be yourself, regardless of what others think."
Wondering what happened to those Levis jeans? When Westbrook exited onto the SoHo streets, trailed by a pack of fans, the denim was one of a few items in his shopping bag. One month later, in Houston, he arrived to Game 2 in the first round of the playoffs wearing them, paired with a black-and-white patterned, short-sleeve shirt—buttoned only once—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.
"I wear a combination of everything," he says matter-of-factly. "I go with what I'm feeling and with what looks good, regardless of how much it is. I want to show people across the world that you don't always have to wear high-end. Whatever it is, you can still be fashionable."
If Westbrook's tastes don't earn universal praise from fashion critics, among his NBA peers he draws high marks for boldness. Most cite the way he plays first, then follow with a mention of his elevated style game. "I think it's a direct reflection of who he is," says Warriors forward Andre Iguodala, No. 9 on the Fashionable 50 list (page 40). "He just goes hard 100%, crashing into you. He's wild. But it works on the court. He gets it done. I'm a fan of him, and his fashion."
"He's just killing it, in his own way," says Bears wide receiver Victor Cruz, SI's most fashionable athlete in 2016. "For him, it's just: Why can't I wear that? Why should I be pigeonholed into one thing? Why can't I average a triple double throughout the entire season? There's nothing that he feels like he can't do, and that just embodies his entire persona. And it makes for great fashion."
Closing in a decade as a pro, the 28-year-old from Long Beach, Calif., has become a lot of things. A record breaker. A statistical anomaly. A fashion icon. A clothing designer. And most recently, the NBA's Most Valuable Player.
It seems as if he's come a long way from the 5'8", 140-pound freshman who was cut from Leuzinger High varsity. But really, his indelible worldview—and the accomplishments that have come with it—started back then, when Westbrook and his friends adopted it to help them stay positive and find a way out of inner-city Los Angeles.
BEST SNEAKER STYLE
2 VICTOR CRUZ
From the Big Apple to the Windy City, Victor Cruz wants to change the game
Since entering the NFL as an undrafted rookie with the Giants in 2010, Cruz will find himself outside the New York area and on a different team for the first time in seven years. As the new Bears wide receiver readies for the 2017 season, he is embracing change when it comes to his style, finding inspiration in everything from desert camouflage prints to '70s flared pants. "I've been in the safe zone, and now I'm becoming a little bit experimental," says the 30-year-old, who built his style chops on custom suits and his go-to pairings of baseball jackets, T-shirts and sneakers. "Now it's time to experience new things and go outside the box a little bit. Create looks people wouldn't think I would wear. It's about being able to let people judge you a little bit."
3 SERENA WILLIAMS
MOST TIMELESS STYLE
4 ROGER FEDERER
5 LEBRON JAMES
6 HENRIK LUNDQVIST
EVEN THOUGH he has been in New York City for more than a decade, the view from a 78th-floor penthouse balcony—of the Financial District and the Hudson River, with an up-close-and-personal look at One World Trade Center—still astonishes Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
"I gotta get a picture," he says, pulling out his phone. The 35-year-old Swede is dressed in an expertly tailored, slim navy blue suit and a crisp, white shirt, accented with a tie bar, cuff links and a TAG Heuer watch. His hair is flawlessly coiffed, his beard and mustache so precisely trimmed that not one hair is out of place. Against the skyline backdrop, Lundqvist, who entered the NHL in 2005--06, looks at home.
"I think [at first] it fit in with New York but not really with hockey," says Lundqvist of his European flair. "I remember all of the older guys were making fun of my suits, my skinny ties and my skinny jeans. But for New York, it blended in right away."
Lundqvist says he's most comfortable in suits, which he wears five days a week during the season. For him, it's not about the brand but the fit; he takes his to a tailor. "I don't like to wear the same suit too many times," he says. "But then I definitely have a few that I wear for more important moments of the year, when I feel like I want to dress up a little more."
Today, Lundqvist finds inspiration watching James Bond movies—"they always bring in the latest technology, cars and fashion"—and on off days, he'll add a rock 'n' roll edge, pairing denim with a leather jacket. Still, Lundqvist has stayed true to his classic style for 12 NHL seasons. And it seems as though others in the league are following suit.
"Hockey is very old school and traditional when it comes to everything around the game," he says. "Now it's changing with the younger guys—they care a little more about fashion."
7 DWYANE WADE
At 35, Dwyane Wade is a veteran of both the NBA and the fashion world. The three-time champ was taking sartorial risks since long before athlete fashion became its own cottage industry. The styles Wade turned heads with early in his career—the hemmed pants, the flashy jackets—are now commonplace around the league. After years of working hard to get his foot in the door, the Bulls guard is now a regular at fashion shows from Paris to Milan.
If Wade is wearing a jacket, it's most likely from Dsquared2, the Dean and Dan Caten-run shop that dressed Wade for his wedding to Gabrielle Union. (Dean, Dan and Dwyane also partnered for a Saks collection earlier this year.) "I have about 10 black jackets, and probably eight of them are Dsquared2."
Joggers are Wade's No. 1 style go-to. He has countless pairs from numerous brands, and he busts them out for almost any occasion. "I can dress them up or down. It has to be a tighter, ribbed bottom, so I can pull it up over my sneakers. I'm a dad but I don't wear dad sweats."
Wade grew out his hair for the summer, which meant he was accessorizing from top to bottom. In addition to dying his 'do different colors, he's been seen around the world rocking bandannas and sunglasses. "I have my hair wavy, so we have to build looks around my hair and beard."
The worst purchase Wade ever made was a $60,000 watch Shaquille O'Neal persuaded him to buy early in his career. "Shaq was like, 'Flash, you can afford it. Treat yourself.'" Wade knew he had spent too much; he doesn't know where the watch is today. "It should be in my safe. I'm ashamed."
Q + A BY JAMIE LISANTI
8 LEWIS HAMILTON
THE BRITISHFormula One driver, a three-time world champion, says that most of his fellow racers don't care about fashion. That has only made it easier for the 32-year-old Hamilton to find his own lane with his effortlessly cool looks.
How would you describe your style?
Definitely urban chic. I love mixing street style with the high-end luxury brands, like Gucci for example. Quite fun.
When did you first start to pay attention to fashion?
Fashion is a growing love that probably started when I got into my 20s. When I was younger, all of my family's money went into racing. We were never a stylish family. We never went shopping, because all the money went into buying tires and fuel and all of that.
Who inspires your style?
As a kid I was heavily influenced by hip-hop. Tupac is my favorite artist, and he had mad style. But if there's anybody, Pharrell [Williams] has really been a style icon for me. He's never shied away from doing something quite bold. He doesn't really care what other people think—he just goes his own way with it. And I love that. It inspires me to do the same. I like doing something that is super edgy and risky.
How has your style evolved since your 1990s hip-hop days?
I see images today of what I wore previous years, and my taste has shifted. It wasn't until my 20s that I started to explore what I was most comfortable in and found my own way forward. That's something that has been growing for years. I like to think my style today is the best I've had so far.
What's one thing you always pack when traveling?
I really do live out of my bag. I'm on the road nonstop, months at a time. So I do tend to overpack. Much better to arrive somewhere and have options, than be like, Damn, I wish I had that! I always have a good pair of jeans—that's an essential for my travels.
Do you have any plans to design your own line?
Right now it's about my own growth in the fashion world. I like to meet the designers and pick their brains. It's such an art form. I love finding out where they get their ideas. I have quite a creative side, and that's definitely something I'd like to tap into in the future. But its not something you can just do. I've been racing for 25 years, and it's taken me a long time to get to where I am. Just like when you look at all of these fashion designers, it's not like they stumbled across it. If I look in 10 years' time, I'd love to have a line of my own designs or collaborate with someone that I've inspired.
9 ANDRE IGUODALA
WHEN IT comes to his style, Andre Iguodala first considers the future.
"If you saw me in 30 years, I don't want to you say, 'What the hell was he thinking?'" says the Warriors' sixth man and two-time NBA champion. "Frank Sinatra is good with that. You look back at what he had on in the 1960s—it's timeless."
To channel Ol' Blue Eyes, Iguodala is building a look of staple pieces—shirts, jeans and a blazer, to be exact—that fit to perfection. "I'll be like a cartoon character," says Iguodala, 33. "Something that will catch your eye every time you saw it, even though you saw me in it before."
The 6'6" forward's penchant for dressing to impress is rooted in his childhood in Springfield, Ill., where he learned that he represented his family with his attire. "You have school clothes, you have church clothes, you have play clothes," he says, admitting that he was teased at school for wearing button-ups with collars.
Some of that ridicule continued when he entered the league. Iguodala says 76ers teammate Allen Iverson used to mock him for his polos and slimmer-fitting clothes, which didn't fit with the baggy style then. "That was just what I was comfortable in," Iguodala says. He didn't change, and he started to add his personality to his look.
"In everything you do, you represent yourself, your family and your brand," he says. "So whatever perception you want people to have of you, you gotta show that."
10 MARIA SHARAPOVA
11 CRISTIANO RONALDO
12 TOM BRADY
13 MISTY COPELAND
14 CAM NEWTON
15 P.K. SUBBAN
WHETHER IT'S his oft-criticized goal celebrations or his exuberant attire, P.K. Subban cuts a polarizing figure in the NHL—but he doesn't care what others think. "There's gonna be some people who like it and some who might not, but really and truly, I feel comfortable, and that's all that matters," says the Predators' 28-year-old All-Star defenseman. He says his go-to ensemble for a night out is leather pants paired with a fresh white tee, but his killer (and colorful) suits and extensive hat collection have become as unmistakable as his bow-and-arrow pantomime on the ice. "My style is true to who I am and definitely different," Subban says. "I'm always looking for things that are uncommon and unique."
16 SKYLAR DIGGINS
17 BRYCE HARPER
18 CARMELO ANTHONY
19 RUSSELL WILSON
20 MARCEDES LEWIS
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER
IN 2014, Muhammad and her two sisters started a clothing company, Louella—named after one of their grandmothers—out of their need for modest, but fashionable, clothes. "As a public figure, especially within the Muslim community, I was always looking for long-sleeve dresses to wear," says the 31-year-old U.S. Olympic fencer. "But I realized there weren't many options." When creating new designs, Muhammad says she thinks of a millennial who wants not only to be on-trend but also to show her personality—in other words, someone like herself. "When we feel good, we look our best," she says. "I think now more than ever, athletes are expressing themselves with what they wear."
THE STATEMENT MAKER
ODELL BECKHAM JR.
MR . ALWAYS FRESH
BEST STREET STYLE
BEST SUIT STYLE
IN JUNE the 29-year-old Eagles safety (and his business partner, Jay Amin) opened Damari Savile, their brick-and-mortar menswear store in downtown Philadelphia. "We want to wake up that inner rebel in everyone and look at the individual instead of the trends," says Jenkins, who also owns a bow-tie business in Philly. "I only make what I actually want to wear. I open up the fabric book and I'm like, What do I want in my closet? And I start there."
BEST REDCARPET STYLE
"I'M A DAD—BUT I DON'T WEAR DAD SWEATS."
"PHARRELL HAS BEEN A STYLE ICON FOR ME. HE'S NEVER SHIED AWAY FROM DOING SOMETHING BOLD."
Athletes are constantly on the move, often for weeks at a time. When living out of a suitcase, these must-haves help them travel in style
SMYTHSON WATCH CASE
used by VICTOR CRUZ
"I don't go anywhere without it. It's leather, it's beautiful, and it holds my watches and jewelry. All of my chains mean something to me, so I want to make sure they are in something that keeps them safe."
TUMI HANGING LEATHER TRAVEL KIT
used by RUSSELL WESTBROOK
"It's versatile, and it can fit everything I need in it without looking bulky. And it still looks cool."
worn by P.K. SUBBAN
"I won't leave home without my hats! Custom ones reflect my unique and personal style. I even have special suitcases for them when I'm on the road."
THOM BROWNE GLASSES
worn by JEROME BOATENG
"I always have a few pairs of my glasses with me. Last year I made my own collection with the German brand Edel-Optics. I'm always looking for new and special designs that fit my personality."
worn by SERENA WILLIAMS
"My style is a mix of classic and trendy, but right now my favorite piece in my closet in my oversized denim jacket."
RAG & BONE JEANS
worn by MILES CHAMLEY-WATSON
"When you travel so much, you have to pack light. You need the essentials. For me, that's a good pair of jeans, the perfect white T-shirt and a bomber jacket."
HUGO BOSS TEE
worn by LEWIS HAMILTON
"If you're just going for a late brunch or something, a classic kind of tee is definitely a go-to. Wide-neck ones are my favorite right now; I have, like, 10 of them in different colors."
THE STYLE EXPERTS
SI's panel evaluated athletes not only for what they wear but also for how, where and why they wear it
Stylist and brand consultant, KMCME
Stylist and CEO, Thomas Faison Agency
Executive editor, INSTYLE
Former NBA player and fashion icon
Athlete stylist and creative director
Deputy style director, PEOPLE
"HE'S THE MOST PROVOCATIVE, ECCENTRIC, ENIGMATIC DRESSER AND PLAYER IN THE NBA."
"I'M REALLY INSPIRED BY DESIGNERS MORE SO THAN CELEBRITIES OR ATHLETES. IN FACT, ONE OF MY FAVORITE DESIGNERS, CAROLINA HERRERA, INSPIRED ME TO GO TO SCHOOL FOR FASHION."
"STRONG ISN'T JUST SEXY: IT'S INCREDIBLY CHIC IN SERENA WILLIAMS'S CASE. POWER IS HER STYLE STATEMENT, AND EVERYTHING FLOWS FROM THAT."
"I'D NICKNAME LEBRON 'OMNIPOTENT.' WHEN YOU SEE HIS BODY AND HOW HE DRESSES, HE'S LIKE ADONIS."
"MUCH LIKE HE IS IN HIS ROLE ON THE GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS, IGOUDALA IS AN ALERT AND ASSERTIVE PLAYER IN THE STYLE GAME."
"EVERYTHING LOOKS GREAT ON MODEL-ATHLETE MARIA SHARAPOVA, WHO'S LATELY BEEN ACING THE ELUSIVE ART OF CASUAL COOL STREET STYLE."
"RONALDO'S STYLE HAS VERSATILITY FOR MILES, BUT HE'S AT HIS BEST IN A LEATHER JACKET, T-SHIRT AND DENIM."
"FROM CALVIN KLEIN TO ARMANI, THIS QUARTERBACK DOESN'T SHY AWAY FROM LEADING THE STYLE ON HIS TEAM."
"WHETHER IT'S A TOP HAT, SNAPBACK OR FITTED, MY HAT ALWAYS TIES EVERYTHING I'M WEARING TOGETHER."
"VONN'S LOOK DOESN'T JUST SAY CONFIDENCE; IT SCREAMS IT."