Issue 104: Wait, You’re Wearing That?! The Worst NBA Draft Outfits

The NBA Draft is a special time. Sixty players realize their dream of being selected by an NBA team, and we all get excited about the potential of stars joining the league.

Even if your team doesn’t have a high pick, it’s still fun to watch a player get selected because there are always fun moments along the way.

You might have a player sneakily pop out of the stands and come onstage to shake the commissioner’s hand, or perhaps one player’s young kiddo steals the spotlight.

And every year, we get to see some impressive fashion.

Now, I’m certainly no fashionista myself and it’s a wonder if I can even get my tops and bottoms to match. But I also am not about to make millions of dollars and likely have an entire team of people helping me get dressed.

That’s why these are some of the most ridiculous NBA Draft outfits ever worn.

Trae Young, 2018

I used to joke with an old coworker of mine about the concept of “business shorts.” If it was too hot for pants (as it often is in Texas) but you don’t feel like donning a dress or a skirt, you split the difference and rock shorts.

Of course, we’d never actually go so far as to do that, because we have standards.

Trae Young, meanwhile, put his business shorts on full display during the 2018 draft. Though I suppose with his recent turn as NBA villain, we shouldn’t be surprised.

Kevin Knox, 2018

While Trae Young was sporting shorts, Kevin Knox was showcasing a different type of sport — online gaming.

At first glance, Knock’s suit seemed fairly subdued. A plaid vest underneath the sport coat? That’s a fun touch.

But wait, there’s more: Knox opened up his suit to reveal a branded Fortnite lining.

I have never played Fortnite but I’m sure it’s great. I just don’t know if it’s “sew it into my suit” great.

LeBron James, 2003

Back in the early 2000s, there was a swarm of players that wore enormously oversized suits. It was just the thing to do.

For LeBron, it seemed fitting. Here was a player that was larger than life — the hype train surrounding him even back in 2003 was stunning.

But that doesn’t mean this suit isn’t rough on the eyes. The cream-colored number with super baggy pants hasn’t aged well. Luckily, LeBron’s game has.

Amar’e Stoudemire, 2002

Future NBA star or Vincent Adultman? You decide.

Drew Gooden, 2002

When Austin Powers hit theaters, I was immediately hooked. I don’t think I understood every joke at the time (I was nine, after all), but that didn’t matter. British accents and groovy 60s visuals were all I needed, baby.

As it turns out, Drew Gooden was also a big fan. Surely, that’s the only reason he sported this delightful gray number with nary a button in sight.

I’m not the only one who thinks this, either. I’ve seen comparisons to the Tin Man, too. Both work.

Samaki Walker, 1996

Before we had Lil’ Nas X taking us down the Old Town Road, we had Samaki Walker.

The cowboy hat is an extra nice touch because all NBA players receive a hat from the team that drafts them. They’re supposed to put it on when they go onstage to shake the commissioner’s hand (Adam Silver today; David Stern when Walker was drafted).

It would have been FANTASTIC if Walker balanced the team hat on top of the cowboy one. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

Karl Malone, 1985

Sometimes I’ll buy a tie and realize “this is kind of a long tie.” Or maybe I just don’t know how to tie them and they end up being longer than they should be.

Whatever the case, not once have I thought you know, I should cut this tie off at the bottom to shorten it up.

I don’t know if Karl Malone actually did that, but his tie certainly doesn’t do him any favors, looking more geometric than a hypotenuse house party.

Pair it with a blue blazer and tight white pants and it’s a lewk, for sure.

Other Reads and Watches

The NBA selects Terrence Clarke, who tragically died in a car accident in April

Tom Ziller with a great writeup on why draft grades are stupid

Jesse Spector on why basketball leagues should adopt the 3×3 format

Damian Lillard gets roasted by the U.S. Women’s National Team

That’s all ’til next time. Thanks for reading!


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