So far, the NBA playoffs have been fairly predictable, but nobody knows how the Spurs-Heat finals we’ve been anticipating for a couple of years now will play out, so at least there’s that to look forward to. However, one of the few puzzling developments thus far has nothing to do with the actual games being played—the NBA airing commercials for its new dedicated style section. I’ve known about the league’s new, dedicated style blog thing for about two weeks, but I wasn’t aware it was a legit enough entity to have its own commercials, especially considering it's basically a clinic in struggle blogging. I'm still surprised the league would encourage casual fans to visit such nonsense.
I consume way too much NBA-related content for someone who doesn’t get paid to cover basketball and I get paid too much to write about style considering how little I pay attention to the scene, so I feel qualified to tell the NBA that their style section is wack beyond measure—poorly executed and a rare misstep for a generally savvy, billion dollar corporation. With that being said, let’s explore the various degrees of sucktitude happening over at NBA.com/style.
I get it from your perspective, NBA: Player attire is much discussed in certain corners of the interwebs (like here on this site) and you want to cash in on the conversation. But you’re missing the part where 99% of that discussion is about how special ed these dudes’ attempts at stunting are. If you hired some relevant ass Four Pins #influencers to write your shit, we’d poke fun at the ignorant level of fuckery happening and people would think you were super self-aware and with it. But you’re not. You’ve got no obligation other than to be self-serving. You’re not going to say it looks like D-Wade stole Jenna Lyon’s pants. Plus, the fucking thing is called "All Ball," which doesn’t even make sense. It has no balls. I would have went with something clever like "Belle of the Ball".
Even more basic: Why does a sports league need a style site? I know we break down the fashion of other entertainers whose work has little to do with clothing, but at least there’s a history there. The pre-game tunnel and the post-game presser are not the new red carpet, no matter how often your corny ass writers try to make that analogy. It’s not like fashion sites cover which designers can hoop, at least not until I drop my investigative column “Can Rick Owens Dunk in Rick Owens Dunks?” next week.
The telltale sign of corny white marketing dudes is, without a doubt, trying to force a hashtag. Every single post on the blog includes some variation of “continue the conversation on Twitter using #NBAStyle.” And, would you look at that, here I am using it. I guess they’re smarter than me.
The very first article I read on NBA.com/style was this primer on custom suiting by Boris Kodjoe that begins: "I did not own a custom suit until I was in my late twenties.” Damn Boris, why you gotta make me feel insecure about my J. Crew? I got a couple years to get on your level! Wait, you guys don’t know Boris Kodjoe? Haven’t you seen him on BET’s Real Husbands of Hollywood? Well, then surely you know his janky web-based line of $220 custom suits? Oh shit, nobody knows Boris? Why is he writing about suits for the NBA? Because Charles, Shaq and Kenny (but not Ernie, props to you Ernie) have worn his suits on air? Synergy! Or something.
Content: Spotlight On Mediocrity
I was hoping Boris’ post was an outlier, but digging deeper I found “poop” to be the general quality level throughout. The main recurring feature of All Ball is the Spotlight series authored by the “NBA.com Style Crew”. (How do I join this crew? I believe I am qualified to be a crew member.) So, what is Spotlight worthy, you ask? Modern suits, accessories, playoff shoes, etc. This is how I imagine internal NBA Style Crew conversations go:
"Alright, let’s break down some serious tailoring shit...get some in-depth interviews on sneaker choices?"
"Naw, let’s just look at pictures of players pre and post-game, then just list shit they are wearing, which is unnecessary because there’s pictures, so, um, okay, we’ll add some vague qualifying phrases like 'put together,' 'elegant,' and 'crisp' to glorify terrible decision making."
"But Editor Guy, don’t we want to, like, draw some sort of conclusion or offer commentary beyond the blandest of observations?"
“HA! This ain’t GQ, kid. Get the fuck out of my office.”
Seriously, Trey Kerby’s Reddit-sourced post from the other day about Dwyane Wade’s playoff wardrobe literally contained more NBA fashion reporting than the entirety of the NBA’s own style site.
Other recurring features include: "TBT" (hip AND current) posts featuring the first 10 oldish looking results of a Google Image search for a particular player or team, arbitrary comparisons of players’ style like the battle between LeBron and Brittney Griner wearing white suits on draft day a decade apart (which made slightly more sense than the comparison of old Canadian Steve Nash and choke artist Carmelo Anthony) and breaking sneaker “news” gathered from a variety of NBA related Instagrams and Twitpics.
Much of the blog’s content features videos of segments that ran on NBATV, which I hadn’t seen before because I can’t afford NBATV. These clips generally feature Rick Kamla on meth and old ass Sam Mitchell wondering what’s going on while one of the NBA’s Official Style Correspondents narrates a slideshow of images of players wearing clothes, the visual rendering of the Spotlight features. The all-star roster of correspondents includes:
Baron Davis: I got love for B. Diddy on the court, at least before he essentially quit playing basketball to pursue a career in competitive eating, but how he finagled his loose tie swag into a job as the NBA’s fashion guru is a mystery.
Jill Martin: Jill, you seem nice. Your bio says you’re a best selling author and that’s probably more than I’ll ever accomplish, but I’m wondering who bought your book when one of your articles states, “when the new NBA dress code was enacted, the players were asked to change their look from hoodies to haute couture.” Bolded text added for emphasis.
Lance Fresh: This guy is like THAT DUDE of #NBAStyle. He’s the guy in the aforementioned commercials. He’s got a verified Twitter account. He has pictures with prominent ballers. I’m not one to knock a dude’s hustle. Get those off-court NBA monies, homie. Just don’t expect me to read your exposé on which shoes guys were wearing when they scored career highs.
Following the totally successful Park & Bond model (RIP), #NBAStyle can’t resist writing about its own store and the fashion gems within. I’m not even mad at this though because they featured Comfy Feet slippers, which I owned, loved and wore until they disintegrated into a stinking mass of foam and cat hair (RIP).
Solution: Hire Me
Hey Stern, I know I just spent over 1,000 words trashing your latest endeavor, but it’s only because I genuinely love the league. It’s great that you’re aware of the bourgeoning NBA fashion discussion, but you need to bench the entire crew and hit me with only, like, $4k a month and I’ll Phil Jackson this shit into a digital championship three-peat. At the very least, you need to fly me to NY for a meeting. I’ll even bring an official ass PowerPoint with metrics and whatever. I’ll deliver innovative, engaging content solutions. See how good that sounded? For real though, give me a fat production budget and I will get you some hard-hitting stories: camping out in Russell Westbrook’s closet to analyze his decision making, hitting Art Basel with Chris Bosh and getting Neil Bedford to take hella artsy pics of Nate Robinson’s Jordan collection. Holler at me. I’ll be waiting by the phone.