Tonight the 2012 NBA Draft takes place at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. While dozens of young men will become millionaires as they instantly have their pro ball dreams come true, it’ll be interesting to see how they dress for the biggest moment of their life.
One NBA legend who can teach these young’ns how to not only have a Hall of Fame career but look damn good while doing it is Walt "Clyde" Frazier. The two-time NBA champion and current New York Knicks play-by-play commentator is one of the most stylish athletes in sports history. We caught up with Frazier at the Samsung Galaxy SIII launch to talk about the hipster wave taking over the NBA, his thoughts on the Knicks and his style tips for Average Joes.
Interview by Ralph Warner (@SoloWarnerBro)
What’s your opinion on the emerging fashion trends in the NBA?
It’s good for the game, man. I’d rather see guys dress stylistically than the way they had been. They had to implement the dress code. Guys were all bummy, pants hanging off. At least now they’re taking some pride in the way they look. I think it’s good for the game.
If you had to list some of the best dressed guys in the NBA, who would they be?
First of all, I think of Dwyane Wade because I’ve seen him and he’s different. He wears different styles. LeBron James has the body, but I don’t like the way his clothes fit, so I would go with Amar’e [Stoudemire]. He’s very good for the Knicks. Amar’e’s got the body and he’s got the tapered fit. Kevin Durant is a tall, slim guy looks good in his clothes. Kevin Garnett, too. Garnett looks like a model when he dresses.
What about Russell Westbrook?
Westbrook’s a little eccentric for me. His style is—I wouldn’t say he’s a good dresser, just different.
The thing with basketball players is whatever they put on they are going to look good because they are like models: tall and slim. So when they put on a suit, guys look sharp. And it’s just the style. That’s why I like Wade. I’ve seen his style and he brings something different to every game. It’s creative.
How about Craig Sager?
He’s a little like Westbrook—a little eccentric. Some of his stuff is dazzling though.
Style is a big part of our magazine. What are some style tips that you would give to the Average Joes?
The Average Joe that’s just starting out: a black suit or a dark blue suit because you can use that for every occasion. Then after that, perhaps, a grey suit and then a sport jacket. Then you can mix-and-match the colors with the black and the grey and the blue. The same with accessories. A lot of the time you can use the same tie with those colors. I think that’s basically how guys should start out.
A lot of people don’t have the money or are not willing to spend that kind of money [on clothes]. But you can still be fashionably dressed on an smaller income by mixing-and-matching those colors together.
Moving on to the offseason, what do you think the Knicks need to do in order to become a contender in the East?
They’re going to need help because we have a shortage of money—salary cap money. Hopefully we can re-sign Jeremy Lin. We might lose J.R. [Smith]. We might lose [Steve] Novak. So if that happens we’re not going to have a bonafide bench. I think they may have to re-sign Landry Fields, too. They have to make sure they win the Bird Rights appeal, I think that's going to be crucial if the Knicks are going to improve they are going to need those rights in order to re-sign those players.
Do you think Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony can coexist a bit more smoothly next season?
I don’t think they really have to because Amare can go with the second unit at times and ‘Melo can go be the first unit. So, I don’t see it as being a big problem. A lot of people here saying, “Amare doesn’t want to go to the second unit because of his ego.” I think he has to get past that now and do what is best for the team and winning. So that’s what the Knicks should focus on. And I like the re-hiring of Mike Woodson because of his defensive strategy and his habit of holding the guys accountable.
You were one of the first athletes to ever have your own sneaker deal, the Puma Clydes. What’s your opinion on the progression of sneaker endorsement deals and athletes like Derrick Rose making nine figures from such contracts?
Timing is everything. The world is casual now. If you go through the airport, there are more people wearing casual shoes than dress shoes. So that’s why the sneakers have taken off. And it proves that if a guy endorses a shoe, it really helps the sales tremendously. That’s why I think basketball players will continue to prosper with those kind of endorsements.
Lastly, if you had to set a starting five of the all-time Knicks roster, who would it be?
Starting five—Frazier and [Earl] Monroe in the backcourt. I’d have to go with [Willis] Reed. [Bob] McAdoo, he wasn’t there that long, but McAdoo as a forward and I have to go with [Dave] DeBusschere to complete things.