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It’s Christmas in October, folks: The 2017-2018 NBA season officially begins this evening. If you’re a fan of basketball, opening night is like Pizza Day in middle school, or when your crush texts you first, or when you find a perfectly ripe avocado at the grocery store: a delightful thrill. We finally get to watch the off-season dust begin to settle, and I, for one, cannot wait.
You know what else I can’t wait for? All the high fashion. I love seeing what players wear to show up to games. I’m always surprised. During the 2016 playoffs, I noticed that LeBron James had started wearing almost exclusively double-breasted suit jackets, usually with a turtleneck underneath (I don’t think anyone’s been so committed to this trend since the dudes on the covers of yacht-rock albums in the 1970s). Klay Thompson’s outfits always crack me up, too, because he shows up to games dressed like a generic J.Crew model from the early aughts while his teammates walk in front of him wearing sleek, bespoke suits.
The G.O.A.T. of pre-game fashion, however, is Russell Westbrook. He’s gotten weirder with his choices than any other player — he’s strolled into arenas wearing patchwork shirts, plaid, short-sleeved jackets, full red T-shirt/pants/shoes combos, full-body camo, tiger stripes... you name it, and this guy has probably rocked it.
But Russ’s most significant pre-game outfit was, of course, when he showed up to the Oklahoma City Thunder’s first game against the Golden State Warriors wearing a photographer’s vest. It was a fairly savage dig at ex-teammate and Warriors small forward Kevin Durant, who enjoyed photography and long walks on the beach in 2016 when he wasn’t busy leaving Oklahoma for Oakland. Russ would never let you know that he was subtweeting KD, though. He told reporters who asked about his strange outfit choice that there was no story behind the vest; he just liked it.
With all the drama that goes on in this delightful sports league, I can only hope that he will once again send not-so-subtle sartorial messages. As Donatella Versace once said, “Fashion is a weapon that you can use when you need it.” Well, so is a good dunk. And there are few people on this earth besides Russell Westbrook who can choose to fight their battles with both.