The coordinating formal attire of King James & Co. went viral during the NBA playoffs, but how did the league's unlikely fashion trend come to life?
DWYANE WADE and designer Thom Browne were sitting at Cipriani's in Manhattan last October before the Fashion Group International's Night of Stars—an award ceremony honoring designers at the top of their games—when Browne had an idea. What if he created custom, matching suits for the Cavaliers to wear during the NBA playoffs in the spring? Browne, who's been a favorite of LeBron James's for years, loved the idea of the team presenting a unified front.
"They're all the most amazing singular individuals, but with the suits, they would put that aside for the playoffs and become this strong unit," Browne says.
Last fall Browne and his team flew to Cleveland to hold fittings. But a huge roster shake-up in February meant Browne had to start from scratch on several members of the Cavs' roster when it came time for a second fitting in New York City two weeks before the playoffs rolled around.
James bought the suits (yes, Wade got his, even though he had been traded to the Heat in February), each one costing a little less than $5,000. Browne says designing for basketball players isn't a challenge since he makes custom clothing so often—"they're just taller." The suits were made in Italy but channel a classic American look, so Browne used Super 120s twill and kept the cut clean, with single-breasted, notched lapels. The Cavs—see Jordan Clarkson, Kyle Korver, Jeff Green and Tristan Thompson's looks below—won every series in which they rocked their matching bespoke outfits. But when James deviated from the script by pairing shorts with his jacket in the Finals, Cleveland was swept by Golden State. Maybe there's something to be said for dressing for success.
A 14-year NBA vet, the Warriors' forward is a perennial style leader thanks to his versatile and clean-cut choices.
The five-time Grand Slam champion always aces her modern-chic style by effortlessly mixing classic, casual and elegant pieces.
Real Madrid's famed forward nails slim-fit suits and denim looks with ease, while serving as the creative mind behind his CR7 clothing line.
The ballerina flatters her 5'2" body with sophisticated styles, yet another way in which she challenges convention.
Still the King
After being named NBA MVP in 2017, the self-proclaimed Fashion King showed no signs of slowing down this past season, averaging a triple double for the second straight year while arriving for every one of the Thunder's 92 preseason, regular-season and playoff games in a fresh look. The 29-year-old also continued his surge in the style world, launching his label, Honor the Gift, a collection of unisex streetwear inspired by the Los Angeles neighborhood of Hawthorne that helped shape him growing up. What's next for the NBA's sartorial sovereign? After having stormed the streets of Paris for Fashion Week in June, Westbrook will soon head back to train for another season with Oklahoma City—and yet another daily display of his unmatched style.