Not only has New York Fashion Week taken over the streets of NYC, but NBA All-Star Weekend has brought a slew of NBA players and personalities into the City as well. A new addition to the All-Star Weekend festivities, "The NBA All-Star All-Style" event, is the league's first ever fashion show. We were invited to the taping of the show at the Grand Ballroom at the Manhattan Center.
J.R. Smith, James Harden, Chandler Parsons, Klay Smith, DeMarcus Cousins, Zach LaVine, and Jeff Teague were all tapped to appear in the show's three round, elimination style contest. Its judging panel, consisted of GQ Style Editor Will Welch, WNBA star Elena Delle Donne, designer John Elliott, and TNT NBA analysts Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley. With such a...diverse roster of pundits and contestants, we honestly didn't know what to expect.
Considering the NBA is one of the most, fashion-centric leagues—or at least one that tries obscenely hard to be "fashionable," I decided to attend. I wanted to see if some of the NBA's "most stylish" players could really put step up when put to the test. Now that the show aired in its entirety, I can call them as I saw them. This is a Brick by Brick Breakdown of the NBA's First Ever Fashion Show.
2:17 p.m.: I arrive at the venue. Taking my seat, the scene is rather sparse (this would change slightly on the main floor, but not in the press balcony).
2:21 p.m.: Dancers begin to practice an a dance routine on the stage. There's a dance portion to this? I'm confused.
2:25 p.m: I take a photo of the NBA "All-Style" logo. I think of this video. I wonder if "All-Style" is a lie (spoiler alert: it is).
2:39 p.m.: In a span of about 15 minutes, three different men appear wearing suits—with Air Command Forces. The saying goes, "three is a trend." I hope this isn't the case.
3:10 p.m.: It feels like we should be starting soon. Sadly I know this isn't going to happen. (This is eventually blamed on NYC traffic. No one seems to believe this).
Erin Heatherton appears from backstage to talk to a producer. She is even more attractive in person.
3:15 p.m.: Shaq emerges from backstage. He looks very bewildered. As expected, he dwarfs all on stage. I am patiently waiting for him to reenact his Gold Bond commercials. I fear this will never happen.
3:25 p.m.: Most of the celebrity guests have arrived. This includes Colin Kaepernick, Victor Cruz, and Cam Newton. Newton takes a picture with a group of awkward teenage boys that have been standing by the entrance and watching people come in.
3:27 p.m.: 2 Chainz arrives at the exact moment that OT Genasis' "CoCo" starts playing. The scene is officially lit.
3:36 p.m.: A producer notes that the players are taking this "very seriously." Considering that most of the players are late at this point, it's still unclear what this means.
4:05 p.m.: It looks like the taping is about to start. Lebron appears on stage. He actually looks dressed fairly well, but closer inspection shows he's wearing some kind of thin, low-cut shirt over top a striped shirt. I don't understand this decision, but I remember thinking that I didn't mind his hat choice.
He is introducing the show and is interrupted by Kevin Hart. I have to say, Kevin looks clean, and I actually like his look. The only disappointing thing is that his shirt looks as if it was cut from the same cloth as a André Leon Talley caftan. They head backstage.
4:07 - 4:08 p.m.: The host, Carrie Keagan announces the judges. The audience applauds lightly for John Elliott, and Elena Delle Donne, goes relatively silent for Will Welch, and cheers for Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley. John Elliott appears in a coke white ensemble. his outfit is easily the best on the stage.
Charles Barkley looks confused when entering from backstage. That said, he is incredibly funny. His banter with his fellow judges, the contestants, and the host keeps the show light and enjoyable.
4:10 p.m.: Shaq appears in a shiny blue suit. While this isn't inherently bad, from the balcony his pants look like matte corduroy pants. I hope this isn't the case.
4:11 p.m.: The first round, "dressing for the boardroom," begins. The Hawks' Jeff Teague is the first to go. His look is clean, if not a little boring. This would become a reoccurring theme throughout the show. It's the definition of "no-style style," so conservative it couldn't offend anyone, but so well-fitting that it passes menswear muster.
4:13 p.m.: Will Welch says Teague "looks like he doesn't wear a suit." The crowd boos. When it comes time to score the first look. Charles Barkley struggles with his tablet. When they reveal the scores, everyone has writing on their tablet, except for Charles—whose tablet is blank. Everyone laughs, and Charles rolls with it.
I realize that Charles Barkley is arguably one of the greatest NBA players alive, and I wish he would be on television more.
Teague's leaves the stage with a score of 39.
4:16 p.m.: After a backstage segment where Teague speaks with LeBron and Kevin Hart, J.R. Smith is announced. The crowd erupts in cheers at his name.
J.R. Smith emerges from backstage wearing a suit with an extended emerald overcoat and a fur scarf. I immediately think, "#ThisManIsOverlyLit".
Kenny Smith disses J.R.'s playing abilities during his time with the Knicks. J.R. simply grins.
J.R. earns 46 points, when you look at the judges tablets, but they incorrectly count Charles Barkley's score of "10" as a 9, and say he scored a 45. They continue to just roll with this throughout the first round.
4:24 p.m.: Chandler Parsons is the next player to the stage. They announce that he's wearing a Tom Ford suit. He looks clean, but over-accessorized. He carries a briefcase and wears a trench coat. All told, it's a lot khaki-colored items.
When the judges analyze, Kenny Smith docks points because of the unnecessary briefcase and the trench coat.
Parsons scores a 42. Backstage Kevin Hart remarks that Parsons looks like "if Justin Bieber were tall."
4:30 p.m.: DeMarcus Cousins is up. He steps out in cargo pants, a gray turtleneck, and a blazer. He hangs his head as if asking himself, "what am I doing here?" through the entire ordeal.
John Elliott approves of his outfit, and so does Charles Barkley. Charles is scolded by the host for announcing his score to the contestant before he is supposed to. He makes a 50 Shades of Gray reference. Awkward laughter fills the room
Cousins scores a 39, tying with Teague.
4:40: Klay Thompson is the next to walk the runway. His outfit looks like he was roped into going to a wedding at the last minute.
Charles Barkley says he looks like a mannequin. I agree with this statement, though probably not for the same reasons.
When speaking to LeBron and Kevin Hart backstage, he says he feels pretty. They ridicule him. I get the feeling that in that moment he immediately regrets not only saying that, but being a part of the show. In that moment, I feel sorry for Klay Thompson.
He scores a 40.5.
4:46 p.m.: Zach LaVine is next to the stage, and aside from having the sneer of a high school bully plastered on his face, he looks simple. Unfortunately, his tie looks too long or something is wrong with his jacket—either way, the proportions seem off. Kenny Smith says that his look shows "how a suit is supposed to fit." That may say more about NBA style than anything else.
LaVine scores 42.5 points. Before showing the final contestant, they announce that J.R. Smith is currently in first place. Of course he is.
4:55 p.m.: James Harden is the final contestant. He comes onto stage while iLoveMakonnen's "Tuesday" plays. He does a brief Shmoney dance.
This is a fire moment, except when you realize that Harden is wearing Harry's baby blue suit from Dumb and Dumber and rose-colored, glittery sneakers.
Surprisingly, Will Welch calls this a "spring 10," but docks points because it's winter, and this color doesn't work for the season.
Harden scores a 38, Immediately knocking him out of the competition. On the way off the stage, the host plays with his beard. Ladies and gentlemen, Harden gives us the biggest brick of the night.
At the end of the first round, J.R. Smith, Chandler Parsons, Klay Thompson, and Zach LaVine are announced as semifinalists. They will be moving onto the "date night" round.
5:00 - 5:12: The "date night" portion commences. As opposed to the time given to single looks, each NBA player is given a model to walk with. I decide that the most effective way to describe this is: "NBA players wear 'Streetwear 101' outfits while awkwardly walking next to hot models as Wale performs."
Only J.R. Smith is comfortable looking on stage. This is not surprising.
The only noteworthy thing that occurs is LaVine's custom Minnesota Twins jersey. I can't decide if this is the biggest flex of the afternoon so far, or the most honest "IDFWU" reaction to being cast in the "NBA All-Star All-Style" fashion show. Naturally he doesn't make it to the final round.
As the judges "calculate the scores" all of the players stand awkwardly next to their model companions.
The judges deliberate and then J.R. and Chandler Parsons advance to the next round.
5:25 p.m.: The announcers remind us that the second performance, by Flo Rida, is coming up in the next round. At this point 2 Chainz and Colin Kaepernick get up and walk to the back of the theater. They are not seen again, probably because they snuck out of this fashion fiasco.
5:27 p.m.: Music erupts as Fly Girl-like dancers emerge from backstage. This is meant to herald the beginning of the "All-Star Game outfit" round. Roughly 10 seconds after the music starts, it stops abruptly. This is blamed on "technical difficulties." What this actually means is that Flo Rida forgot to come out on stage.
5:29 p.m.: Flo Rida appears looking like well... what actually passes for "style" in Florida. He is obscenely bedazzled. He begins to perform. People from the general public are starting to leave.
J.R. and Chandler Parsons march from the center of the stage, down to the end of the runway. During this march, the two walk side-by-side. When they get to the end of the runway, the pair stand silent and stoic as Flo Rida and his hypeman dance around them. His hypeman's pants remind me of the scrambled porn I used to have to watch in the '90s.
They solemnly walk back to the center stage. Each is then escorted, one by one, back down to the edge of the runway with one of the dancers.
J.R. is wearing a burgundy coat that resembles a bathrobe, a pair of pants that look like light wash jeans with a strange racing stripe detail on the side, finished by a printed scarf. The stripe does not make him seem any more aerodynamic. Parsons is wearing slim denim, a cream sweater, a chambray shirt, and a brown blazer. His outfit is topped by an unnecessary hat.
Both outfits have their flaws, but considering that J.R. seems to carry himself with more nonchalance, and the fact that Parsons is wearing a silly hat and looks as basic as a Gap ad, I personally think J.R. deserves to win.
5:30 p.m.: When asked who should win, both men stare at each other and mumble to the judges. When the host reminds them about being competitive, J.R. flatly says he doesn't know why he should win.
5:35 p.m.: After the judges consult each other (which really means they sit quietly and barely speak to each other), a winner is determined. It is revealed that someone will be handed "the diamond bow tie" to mark their win. Shaq appears virtually out of nowhere with said bow tie.
Charles Barkley begins to announce the winner but is interrupted by those host because they need to add in a commercial break. No matter how this plays out, Charles Barkley is the real winner tonight. Whoever goes home with the diamond bow tie still goes home with... a diamond bow tie.
5:38 p.m.: J.R. Smith is crowned the winner of the NBA All-Star All-Style show. He quietly accepts the award and begins shaking everyone's hand.
For some reason, Flo Rida reappears from the shadows and begins singing. While it's clear that all the contestants were invited back on stage, only the models reappear. Everyone stands around on the stage while Flo Rida attempts to keep what's left of the crowd in their seats. This has little effect.
Suddenly, Shaq begins twerking, and that image is forever seared into my psyche. I will probably need therapy for this. So ends the NBA's first fashion show... with Shaq dropping down and getting his eagle on.
Final Thoughts: Aside from being one of the most arduous experiences for those involved, this was an interesting experience. Considering the NBA and it's players are constantly lauded by media and fans for being so fashion-focused, this was more of a showcase of "basic" outfits than anything else. It seems like the NBA's style can only either be unimaginative, or off the deep end. Either way, if this happens next year, I'm holding out hope that we'll be able to see looks like this.