NBA fashion then and now

This season marks 10 years since the NBA said goodbye to shorts and t-shirts and hello to business casual suits and ties. Regardless of what you think about the league’s mandatory dress code, the players have embraced it, turning an arena tunnel into their own catwalk with their outfit details as calculated as their warm-up regimen.

To mark this anniversary, we examined stars who were playing before the dress code went into effect.

LeBron James

LeBron was the coolest teenager on the planet when he entered the league. And while his fashion has changed, his game hasn’t.

Kobe Bryant

Props to Kobe for repping his hometown team back in the day. These days, Mamba pulls off bold patterns and rocks shades indoors. And that bag he’s holding? Whatever it is, we like it.

Dwyane Wade

Before Russell Westbrook became the face of the NBA’s fashion movement, there was Dwyane Wade, who still holds court as one of the NBA’s most fashionable. And his boldness sure has grown since his early pro days.

Dirk Nowitzki

Even a dress code can’t force a practical guy such as Dirk into anything too far out of his comfort zone. His hair, on the other hand? Timeless.

Vince Carter

Reminder: Everyone was wearing those jeans back then. Carter may not have the hops he used to, but his style off the court hasn’t missed a beat.

Carmelo Anthony

First, let’s all pause and marvel at that contraption that we think is playing music, especially that cord. These days, playing in the fashion capital of the U.S., Melo wears oversized hats and flashy suits. Vintage is in!

Kevin Garnett

This is an awesome reminder that the sparkle and bedazzled movement even hit the NBA. Today, it’s a more professorial look, nicely complemented by some chic frames.

Paul Pierce

Jeans, tee, leather jacket: all classics. But how about that collection of CDs? Emojis aside, the Truth has proven that he is still up to date on recent trends.

Tim Duncan


Newsflash: Tim Duncan has never been flashy, even when sporting a Sean John shirt a decade ago.

Will we laugh looking back on the new generation of fashion-conscious ballers 10 years from now? Probably. I mean, Russell Westbrook might have his own gallery:

What a difference 10 years makes.

Photography: Getty Images and AP Images

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