Thankfully, we’ve experienced a new era in basketball since the dress code was implemented in the NBA. But while XXXL sizes have been replaced by slim fits amongst the established stars in the league, there is still a yearly reoccurrence of inexplicable wardrobe choices. The NBA Draft, where young players remind us that closet-sized suits, pastel colors and tie patterns still exist, remains a cruel reality.
In honor of Tuesday’s NBA Lottery, we examine 10 of the most horrible Draft Night attires and offer an insight into what may have been going on in each player’s mind.
10. Carmelo Anthony (2003)
Melo is listed at number 10 as he transformed from what you see now to one of the more stylish athletes in the business. Still, he looked like he either was too slow to button up his blazer before going on stage, or thought it might be a good idea to show off how high he can pull up his pants. The color of his shirt reminds us of lemon cake and his hairdo would terrorize the good people of Denver for years to come.
9. Samaki Walker (1996)
While not being particularly good at basketball, Walker’s outfit pretty much provided two additional career paths for him. Either as the missing cast member in Dumb and Dumber or the role as the Riddler in Batman Forever – if you color it green. Sadly, the suit and hat never survived Samaki’s short career.
8. Drew Gooden (2002)
Who needs buttons if you can zip up your blazer? Especially if your box-shaped suit reminds everyone of Spongebob. The journeyman proved over the years that this catastrophic outfit was by no means an isolated incident, sporting a soul patch on his back head for some time and going so far as to braid his beard. Keep on doing what you do Drew. He’s still in the league by the way…
7. Darko Milicic (2003)
If only Joe Dumars knew back then what horror he would inflict on himself, the Pistons and the entire population of Detroit after seeing his selection Darko Milicic posing for pictures. Possibly one of the biggest busts in NBA history, the young center looked like a frightened deer from the shoulders up and an eastern European loan shark from the shoulders down. While the suit cut is not horrible for someone measuring seven feet, his whole appearance (read: bleached highlights) foreshadowed his success in the NBA. Poor Darko.
6. Joakim Noah (2007)
Before Robin Lopez took over the role as Sideshow Bob of the NBA, Chicago’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Joakim Noah, was the real lord of the whacky hairdo. His hair simply refused to surrender underneath the cap, his suit is reminiscent of a yacht’s interior furniture (ca. 1960s) and his bow-tie lives a life of its own in James Harden’s museum of forgotten neck pieces.
5. Karl Malone (1985)
The Internet is still mad for not being invented when the Mailman was drafted. His whole outfit, from the cramped pants to the tie that came up as short as his career (shots fired) is just a classic.
4. Vlade Divac (1989)
There is simply no way that you look at Ol’ Vlade in this picture and not think of the sentence “I make you good price” (strong Eastern European accent mandatory). While being one of the most entertaining players ever on the court, his Draft Night wardrobe was the ultimate proof that Europeans commit fashion crimes too. Am I the only one who would like to see young Vlade play the role as lead villain in Taken 3?
3. Steve Nash (1996)
See above for Steve Nash’s go-to-expression after he sold you a used 1986 Buick. Everything in this picture screams car salesman from Bemidji, Minnesota, and while the Canadian transformed into one of the fashion icons in the league, he was a potential candidate for a role in Clerks 3 in 1996.
2. Peja Stojakovic (1996)
Look how much Peja doesn’t care in this picture. The hair, the cap; the sharpshooter looks like he is about to play pickup hoops right after the draft in your neighborhood while enraging you with his attitude. His pants also seem like they are the fast removable ones from the NBA – you rip them off with one swift move. What does Commissioner David Stern still remember? A firm hand shake!
1. Tim Thomas (1997)
The first place goes to Villanova’s Tim Thomas who showed up 10 years late to the Miami Vice white suits party. On top of that, it seems it’s not even his judging by the “fit.” His expression tells us that his mom bought the suit for him two years prior, not thinking ol’ Timmy would still grow a couple of inches.
But maybe Thomas knew that he was going to be drafted by the Nets and chose this attire to integrate smoothly into New Jersey’s community. Anyway, Thomas still sets the standard for the most ill-advised outfits in NBA Draft history. It remains to be seen if anyone can overturn Tim’s reign of terror on June 26, when the 2014 NBA Draft takes place.
Robert Jerzy for Highsnobiety.com
- Photography: Associated Press, Getty Images