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Russell Westbrook is the Kate Moss of the NBA

by Darnell Mayberry Published: September 12, 2013

As Russell Westbrook continues to embrace his inner fashion bug, the Thunder point guard is forcing the fashion industry to pay attention to his unique style.

The New York Times caught up with Westbrook during his recent trip to New York City for his first New York Fashion Week. You can read the newspaper’s piece here.

Westbrook attended multiple fashion shows over the weekend and rubbed elbows with some of the industry’s biggest names. He called the shows “amazing” and said escaping from his routine basketball circle was “refreshing.”

As he opened up about his fashion tastes, Westbrook said he’s always been into fashion but didn’t always have the means to be as big into it as he is now. “It was basically what I could afford,” Westbrook said of his fashion choices growing up in the Los Angeles area. “Trying to find the best bargain, I kind of shopped all over the place.”

That all began to change, Westbrook said, when he was drafted fourth overall in 2008. He kept things simple as a rookie, but saw an opening. “Nobody was doing anything that would attract the fashion crowd,” Westbrook told the New York Times.

“People got on the podium in whatever they were wearing that day,” Westbrook said. Even the more impressive threads didn’t impress Westbrook. “It was cliché,” he said.

Westbrook has found a way to stand out.

His attire after playoff games have become as much of a talking point as his play during them. He’s often daring and, perhaps unlike most, doesn’t care one bit what anyone thinks about him.

“He’s not taking direction from someone else,” Matthew Bedard, editorial director for Flaunt, a Los Angeles-based fashion magazine, told the New York Times.

Designer Richard Chai said in the article that Westbrook is not afraid of tackling stereotypes. “Especially in sports, you’re supposed to be very ‘manly’ or look a certain way, but I love that he wears prints, even animal prints,” Chai said.

More and more, national publications and corporations are lining up to feature Westbrook. He graced the cover of ESPN the Magazine’s fashion issue, was the first athlete to appear on the cover of Flaunt and was showcased in GQ, Vogue and an ad campaign for Levi’s.

“Russell is part of a newer generation, players that take fashion as a real badge of cool,” Jim Moore, creative director for GQ told the New York Times. “For years and years, you had that Pat Riley and Michael Jordan idea of off-court style; they were all going to the same tailors and they were almost getting too fancy with it.”

Moore went on to say that much of what makes Westbrook ideal for fashion is not just his bold choices but also his willingness to embrace who he is. “The fact that Russell wears such a slim cut, shirts that are almost too tight, is so liberating in a way,” Moore was quoted as saying in the New York Times article. “He’s not afraid to show off his physique.”

Jill Demling, entertainment editor of Vogue, called Westbrook the “Kate Moss of the N.B.A.”

Westbrook was quoted in the piece as saying he wants to “shift to a different lane and find my own way.” He said he would one day like to have his own line.

He even explained those lenseless red frames he popularized during the postseason. A nod to Clark Kent, Westbrook said.

“Personally, the things you see on the runway are the best pieces, and the items I happen to like,” Westbrook told the New York Times. “And they’re controversial pieces that people talk about. Somebody is not going to like it.”


by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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