The Best And Worst NBA Draft Attire Of The David Stern Era

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I wound up getting sucked into ESPN’s coverage of the NBA Draft last night, particularly because the abundance of trade storylines concerning my hometown Philadelphia 76ers were more riveting than Aaron Hernandez’s arraignment and the George Zimmerman trial combined. If I didn’t know any better, fat Andy Reid and phailing Phillies GM Ruben Amaro were running shit in the Sixers war room, because the drafting maneuvers the franchise pulled last night were utter madness.

In watching the draft last night, I, like most of America, obviously found myself judging each player’s attire as they took the stage when selected. I’m a strong believer in the whole “dress to impress/confidence exudes when you look better,” kind of thing, and naturally, I always appreciate a fine suit. Honestly, there wasn’t an excuse for any player to show up looking like a scrub last night on the biggest evening of their life, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised at the class and dapperness purveyed by the 2013 draft class.

Hands down, though, two fellas stole the show in the style department last night. Hailing from deep within basketball’s heartland, the #6 and #7 overall selections respectively, Nerlens Noel and Ben McLemore opened the doors for future sports fashion trendsetters by rocking suits that utilized their school’s jerseys as the liners.

Call it what you want, but I’m calling it awesome.

Nerlens Noel


Ben McLemore


If I had to side, I’m actually going to say McLemore’s attire was the best of the evening. It goes without saying, but the bowtie won me over. In fact, the Kansas shooting guard was the only player selected in the top 10 to sport the gentleman’s go-to neck hold.

Seeing all these players decked out last night on the verge of fulfilling what is surely a childhood dream for all of them got me thinking: what are some of the most memorable NBA Draft day looks of all-time?

Without further adieu, here are the best and worst (since 1984-85) to ever cross the stage and encounter that awkward handshake with David Stern that halts the sea of boos, if only for a brief moment.


Wesley Johnson (2010, 4th overall)


Looking like he’s ready for formal. FaF.

James Harden (2009, 3rd overall)


Stellar watch, nice construction on the bow-tie, and good pinning on the jacket. Well played, Harden.

Kobe Bryant (1996, 13th overall)


Maybe I’m partial because he’s a Philly kid, but I just love how Kobe’s tie says all you need to know about the year 1996.

Hakeem Olajuwon (1984, 1st overall)


Pure class right shown here by the future 12x NBA All-Star. Enough said.

Damian Lillard and Meyers Leonard (2012, 6th and 11th overall)


I’m unclear if they both knew they were going to be Portland bound, but these guys killed it last year. These are the kind of suits that you approach a Vegas craps table sporting, then walk away up $10,000.


Joakim Noah (2007, 9th overall)


Don’t give a shit if he is wearing a bow tie. I hated this dude at Florida, and still hate him in Chicago. I respect his game, but damn, can you accentuate goofy anymore than this?

Ronnie Brewer (2006, 14th overall)


I’m pretty sure his tailor might’ve been Helen Keller.

Samalki Walker (1996, 9th overall)


I’ll let Blink 182’s Tom Delonge sum this one up:

Drew Gooden (2002, 4th overall)


Is that a suit or a fucking straightjacket?!

Jalen Rose (1994, 13th overall)


Rule of thumb: you never fuck with a guy boasting pinstripes that wide on a suit that looks like it was stolen from a prominent member the Cosa Nostra circa 1950.

Lebron James (2003, 1st overall)


Maybe I understand the whole “wearing white because I’m the angel savior of the league” mentality, but come on, LeBron. I realize you were only 18, but you could’ve done better, playa’.

Did I miss anyone in particular? Leave it in the comments, guys.


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  1. Mr Sperry

    Most of their ridiculous wear is part of the hipster/GDI revolution taking over the dress style of the NBA. Straight garbage if you ask me.

    ^ ThisTake a lapReply • 10 months ago

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