Welcome to Cloth Talk! An ode to the phrase coined by DJ Khaled, NBA.com's Gilbert McGregor and Kyle Irving delve into all things style in the NBA. From uniform reveals to sneaker choices and everything in between, the two experts give their takes and provide clarity on concepts that are impossible to ignore.
Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): The 2020-21 NBA season is coming to a close, which means awards season is on the horizon. And while we'll spend plenty of time debating which players deserve certain honours elsewhere on the site, today, we're leaving the on-court performances on the sidelines to take a closer look at which players owned the pregame runway.
In a shoutout to @leaguefits, my personal favourite account to follow on Instagram, Gil and I are here to make our selections for these end-of-season awards, purely based on fashion:
- Rookie of the Year
- Cozy Fam MVP
- First Team All-NBA
LeagueFits will have their own personal "All-Drip" selections, but everyone's sense of style is unique so our answers will almost certainly differ from theirs. Before we get into it, is there anything I missed?
Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): I don't think I could have set it up better myself, I'm just intrigued to see where you and I agree, where we differ and who takes home the crown.
Let's get it.
Irving: Alright, I'll tee it up for you to start us off. Who you got for Rookie of the Year?
McGregor: It feels like Tyrese Haliburton gets the most love - and understandably so - with the vintage Kings jerseys and gear, which I can appreciate but some looks don't quite hit the mark as much as others. I'm gonna go with a different lottery guard, Killian Hayes. The Euro influence is evident, and he got off to a great start with the draft-night suit paired with the Off-White 4s.
He clearly likes those 4s but I'm all about versatility and consistency, which we've seen from the 19-year-old. He recently paired the same 4s with a cozy fit.
Don't do too much and stay within yourself, that's all I can ask for from a rookie. That makes Killian my ROY. Now I'm wondering where you're going with it.
Irving: You're right, this honestly might've been the toughest place to start. And you going with Killian has me second-guessing my decision because I like that pick so much, haha.
This player's season may have been cut short on the court, but his impact was felt in the pregame tunnel. I'm going Deni Avdija.
Avdija took some risks with some of his fits this year, but all-in-all, he's got some swag to him, man. When he keeps it simple, he's got it going.
McGregor: I think there's no time like now to quote his teammate, Russell Westbrook, who essentially said back at All-Star 2019 that a fit could never be a 10-out-of-10 if no risks are taken. So I'm not mad at it. I actually like that choice a lot. We both go with the international flavour to start.
…now, onto the Cozy Fam. I'm REALLY interested to see where you go here.
Irving: Well first things first, a quick explainer on Cozy Fam. It's basically just players that rock sweatsuits or comfortable fits in the tunnel. And it's a tough one to decipher because there are players that bring the heat when they choose to go cozy but don't always go cozy. Looking at you, Chris Paul.
McGregor: This kinda feels like Sixth Man of the Year. Like you have to show up cozy for a certain percentage of games to qualify, haha.
Irving: That's a great way of putting it. But selecting between players that go cozy more often than not, I'm gonna have to give the crown to the Ja Morant.
McGregor: The Tech Fleece King!
Irving: Exactly. Morant has an entire rainbow of Tech Fleeces and sweatsuits and he always comes correct with the kicks to match. Whether it's a pair of retro J's, exclusive Nike's or the bread-and-butter Air Force 1's, the 2020 Rookie of the Year always makes cozy pop with subtle matching on his shoes. I'd like to imagine he has an entire closet dedicated to his Tech Fleece suits and cozy fits. Who you going with for Cozy Fam MVP?
McGregor: Man, this was close.
It came down to two guys that qualify for very different reasons and I really came close to picking OG Anunoby - this guy wore UGG slides to a Game 7 - but I think he fits more of the "on your way an 8 a.m. class" MVP mould than Cozy fam MVP mould.
It was close because Kevin Durant almost didn't qualify, but he gets the nod because Cozy fits have been his go-to on the sideline last year, while he's reserved the real fits for some of the nights when he's active.
He mixes in vintage sweatshirts and hoodies (which, I'm not sure how he finds the oversized fit at his height) with the sweats and typically goes for low Jordan 1s, and I've also seen him pull out the Ben & Jerry's SB dunks. And, still, he barely makes the cut-off, but he makes it.
I mean, hey, Manu Ginobíli won Sixth Man of the Year with 23 starts in 2008.
Irving: I'm laughing, for real, at the OG-"on your way to class at 8 a.m." comparison. That's too good.
But I see you with the Durant selection. I had him in consideration as well but was surprised to see how often he veered away from cozy fits this season. Like you said though, when you spend that much time sidelined, it's inevitable you're going to have to dress up for games.
That brings us to All-NBA selections. Saving your MVP for last, who's cracking your First Team this season?
McGregor: Before I ring off names, I want to preface it by saying my criteria - or thought process - usually goes like this:
- Would I wear it? I usually try to keep it simple with some subtle pops.
- Could I wear it? I'm not capable of those risks to get a 10/10 like Russ said, so I've got even more respect for those that do.
At 6-foot-3 with arms wayyyy too long for my body, I understand how difficult it can be to throw a fit together. So, speaking from that spot. I'll start with four of my guys and, of course, save the MVP for last.
I'll start with Jordan Clarkson, who takes risks to wear things that I would consider in theory … but, nah, can't pull it all off.
This is quietly one of my favourite fits of the year.
Then I'm going Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who has the ability to make a variety lot of pieces work together, almost effortlessly
Terry Rozier is another guy that I rock with.
And, since I'm already super guard-heavy, I gotta give a shout to the Artist himself.
Even though I wouldn't dare try to pull some of this off.
Let alone if I was a 7-footer. My guy TJ Warren gets an honourable mention, and probably would've gotten a nod from me had he not been out all year. I appreciate his penchant to mix in streetwear more than anything else.
Irving: Hard to argue with any of those choices so far. Nickeil and Terry were on my shortlist too, and Serge is one-of-a-kind with what he does. I can respect Clarkson's fashion, but like you said with your criteria, I'd look like a fool trying to pull any of that off, haha.
I'm gonna start off with someone I already mentioned above, who never fails whether he's dressing up or going cozy. The Point God, CP3.
Next up, I'm going with a teammate of my Cozy Fam MVP. A player that had plenty of opportunity to get some fits off after missing over half the season recovering from an injury. Jaren Jackson Jr.
Kinda like you said with that Clarkson fit, this is up there for my Fit of the Year. Could I pull it off? Absolutely not. And I think that coat just called me poor. But it matches too nicely with Travis Scott 1s - the kicks at the top of my sneaker wishlist - and black jeans.
I know you saw this one coming eventually. I have to show love to my guy Jayson Tatum. He rarely, if ever, misses.
And the last one might surprise you a bit. This player came out of nowhere on the fashion spectrum and quickly became one of my favourite dressers in the league.
Shoutout Ty Jerome, man.
McGregor: Man, I am losing it at JJJ's jacket calling you poor. Cause, I mean, it definitely said the same to me. I'm glad we both were able to give a shout to the bigs, which, ironically, neither of us would dare to try what they did.
And, man… Ty Jerome getting the respect he deserves. I really had no idea. That's big-time, the Better Days x Pleasures x Off-White is a solid combo. Perfect road trip attire.
Got my stamp, too.
And of course the two Jordan Brand guys in CP and Tatum. Sometimes they're just not playing fair with the colourways they receive.
Irving: It's time for the moment we've all been waiting for. I'm genuinely excited to see who you got for MVP.
McGregor: I mean, there's been one name that neither of us have said and I think it might make this unanimous. He also literally posted while we were chatting, and that's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
I think at this point his reputation on the style side precedes him and, oh yeah, he was in the best statistical season of his career, too. With respect to the league, his style is unique to him and it's a lot of fits that not a lot of players could pull off.
I mean, this sums it up better than anything else I could say:
Are we on the same page … or was I way off?
Irving: I'm glad you brought Shai into this, because I was dying to get a chance to drop this picture in here. The toughest fit pic of... well, really, all of eternity.
The caption too, paying homage to Canada's own, Drake. It's a masterpiece. But with that being said, I'm actually going in a different direction for MVP.
And I want to be clear: this is based on my own personal preference of style. So while what SGA is doing is 1-of-1, my favourite dresser in the league and MVP is...
McGregor: Mr. That's tuff.
Irving: You got that right.
He's undefeated in my book. Keeps it simple yet always looks so clean.
McGregor: I actually had this discussion with someone a few years ago, but it's big Premier League soccer player vibes from DS, and I mean that as a huge compliment, too. Very much simple and very clean. So, pretty much… are we saying the 2019-20 OKC Thunder were the best-dressed team ever? We've shouted what, three of their guys?
Irving: I think that's exactly what we're saying. That SGA, CP3, Schroder backcourt wasn't just cold on the court. They owned the pregame runway, too.
McGregor: And then Ty Jerome … former Thunder in KD and Serge. Not to mention Russell Westbrook, who also deserves a shout.
There's something there in OKC, I just can't quite put my finger on it. We'll have to figure that out next time we do this, we might even be due for some team rankings.
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