Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler and Other NBA Stars Wear Lanvin

Since at least the ’70s and the days of Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Dr. J and Wilt Chamberlain, the NBA can rightly lay claim to being the most fashionable sports league on the planet. Home to athletes who aren’t content with just showing up to games or press days in boxy suits, the last 50 years have seen players embrace style and take risks, whether that’s Frazier’s duster coats and capes; Dennis Rodman’s animal print-dyed hair, nose rings and sparkly tank tops; or more recent players’ embrace of short suits, statement prints and unexpected silhouettes.
In the last decade or so, players have embraced fashion — and the chance to show it off — like never before and, encouraged by stylist Calyann Barnett, who counts Dwyane Wade among her clients, the walk from the team bus to the arena has turned into “a concrete runway.” Although the season was interrupted when the NBA announced it would suspend games due to the coronavirus, there’s some good news on the horizon: the league is re-starting games with 22 teams on July 31st.

Since months have passed since we’ve been treated to gameday fits (and, even with the resumed play, fans will not be permitted in the stands), PAPER teamed up with Barnett and Lanvin to create a virtual concrete runway starring five of the best-dressed players — Jimmy Butler, Ben Simmons, Kelly Oubre Jr., Tobias Harris, Tyler Herro — rocking new menswear pieces from the brand (and working on their style while still under quarantine). As you’ll see in the moving images, below, the players show that even as most of us are still social distancing to some extent — and missing NBA games and the fashion that comes with it — that doesn’t mean the players (and all of us) have to abandon style.

“I picked guys who can’t be pigeonholed into one particular style,” Barnett, who curated the list, says. Dubbing Tyler Herro the “Rookie” (“The best part about his style is he is just getting started”), Kelly Oubre Jr. the “Rockstar” (“He rocks high socks, hanging earrings, and has a variety of unconventional shades”), Ben Simmons the “Fan Favorite” (“His style embodies Lanvin’s new aesthetic — elevated well beyond his age, yet still young and fresh. Honestly, he has the perfect physique and hanger appeal when wearing clothes”), Tobias Harris the “Underdog” (“Where most guys are concerned with wearing trends, Tobias focuses on fit and sending a lasting message through his style”) and Jimmy Butler the “Muscle” (“The self-proclaimed urban cowboy… He works closely with his stylist Khalilah Beavers to constantly evolve his style, which is just as explosive as his game”), Barnett assembled a crew who, she hoped, would offer “a snapshot of how diverse the NBA is to someone unfamiliar with the league.”

Below, the players walk down our virtual concrete runway, sharing photos that were shot in their own homes during quarantine, and we talk to them about how the league has influenced their fashion, what goes into picking a gameday outfit and what other players — past and present — have style they admire.

Jimmy Butler, Forward on the Miami Heat

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How would you describe your style before you joined the league and how would you describe it now?My style before I joined the league was whatever I could afford. I mean, everyone has a style, but it was about my environment and survival vs. being fly.

Compared to a lot of professional sports leagues, the NBA has long been known for stylish players — why do you think that is?I think it speaks more to the culture of the NBA vs other sports. The NBA promotes individualism as a catalyst for bringing teams together. Therefore, everyone has the opportunity to create their own brand, whether it’s about style, business, art — whatever your passion, you have the opportunity to showcase, to create, which in turn brings more awareness to the NBA as a whole.

Tell us a bit about the Lanvin fit you’re wearing for this shoot. How does it reflect your style?I love the railroad denim set. It’s the perfect simple matching look I love to wear. Paired with no shirt, it’s a no brainer for me!

Kelly Oubre Jr., Small Forward on the Phoenix Suns

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In what ways has the NBA influenced your fashion?My style before I got the NBA was very disgusting. Every picture that I see of me back in the day, I would always want to be different with the clothes that I would wear, but didn’t know the right approach, so every outfit consisted of something that didn’t go together or was screaming “help me find myself.” When I got to the NBA I was able to find myself through life and the world of fashion.

What’s your process like for picking out an outfit before a game?Every outfit I wear [reflects] my mood. I’ll skim my closet the night before and get inspiration… or I’ll sleep on it and wake up the next day and take it one breath at a time.

Tell us about the Lanvin fit you’re wearing for this shoot. How does it reflect your style?This Lanvin shoot is out of the box completely and the color scheme that I picked out made me feel so warm inside. Like it was meant to be — the light blue essence and white details resembled a place of peace, so it was only right to go to my most peaceful hideout and shoot next to my family. WAVES.

Tobias Harris, Small Forward on the Philadelphia 76ers

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What’s your process like for picking out an outfit before a game?I’ve been working closely with my stylist Eric White for the last couple of seasons. Eric and I get together one to two times a month to collaborate on the outfits I’ll be wearing throughout the season, and into post and pre-season events. We particularly look at televised games on TNT, ESPN, etc. to decide which outfits should be statement ones per that game. Besides that, I take into consideration the travel for the month and which cities I’ll be in. I think most players would agree that packing is difficult, so the strategy is to always be comfortable while knowing the weather of the city and the time needed to put everything together. The opponent really has no factor on my choices.

Tell us a bit about the Lanvin fit you’re wearing for this shoot. How does it reflect your style?When I think about the Lanvin outfit for the shoot, the most encompassing word of the wardrobe is versatility. I particularly love outfits that are adaptable. With the Lanvin outfit, I feel comfortable going into an array of events. It can be a business meeting, a professional sporting event, a bar, or even the grocery store. The Lanvin outfit allows me to remain comfortable yet also be expressive and flexible with the occasion.

Who are some of the NBA players, past and present, whose style you admire?There are several players whose styles I admire. From Russell Westbrook’s creativity all the way to Chris Paul’s ability to be simplistic with sweatpants and university crewnecks to dynamic suits that are extremely polished. PJ Tucker’s sneaker game is unmatched. Rudy Gay, the Morris Twins, are names that come to mind. Jeff Green is clean cut with his approach to fashion. There are so many players out there who are taking full advantage of letting their fashion speak to their personalities.

Tyler Herro, Shooting Guard on the Miami Heat

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Tell us a bit about the Lanvin fit you’re wearing for this shoot. How does it reflect your style?I feel like the outfit I chose to wear for this shoot feels like an international overseas fit. The combination of the hoodie and shorts went along well with the trench coat style and gave me a runway feel. I thought that the glasses were a good complement and accessory for sure. Thought it all went well together.

Who are some of the NBA players, past and present, whose style you admire?I don’t have any one or two guys that I really look up to or follow. But, I definitely mess with how certain guys dress like James Johnson, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Nick Young, Kelly Oubre, those guys know how to dress.

Ben Simmons, Point Guard on the Philadelphia 76ers

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What’s your process like for picking out an outfit before a game?I like to keep my game days simple so my fits are usually picked out days in advance to make sure I can keep focused on the upcoming game. Nationally televised games, or if you’re in a particular city, you wanna step it up a little bit but honestly I like to keep it as simple as possible so I can stay as focused as possible.

Compared to a lot of professional sports leagues, the NBA has long been known for stylish players — why do you think that is?The NBA has always been good at embracing the individualism of its players and giving them a platform to express that. It has been embraced even more now with the pre game walk ins being televised and photographed and with platforms like Instagram, its allowing the league and players to amplify their appreciation of fashion.

Tell us a bit about the Lanvin fit you’re wearing for this shoot. How does it reflect your style?Clean, simple and comfortable. This look is something I’d wear pre game then out to dinner with friends after, the look is versatile which is perfect for my lifestyle.

Talent Curation: Calyann Barnett
Fashion: Dominic Louis
(For Jimmy Butler) Styling: Khalilah Beavers, Photography: Darryl Omar(For Ben Simmons) Styling: Wesmore, Photography: Alex Subers(For Tobias Harris) Styling: Eric WhiteSpecial Thank You: Worldnet

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