You might think it’d be easy to dress well as a pro athlete: the millions of dollars, the endorsements, the constant spotlight. But you’d be wrong.
Finding clothes that fit properly and look good on an oversized, musclebound body can be a real pain. And locker room culture — even in 2016 — can be harsh on dudes who want to stand out from the crowd. Sure, guys like Joe Namath and Muhammad Ali always brought the heat, but they were exceptions, never the rule.
Nobody understands that better than Cabbie Richards, the affable TSN host known for his unconventional, off-the-court interviews with some of the biggest names in North American sports. For close to 15 years, he’s watched as athlete style has evolved from sloppy and blasé to something more refined, considered, trendsetting.
Here, Cabbie breaks down the 10 most impressive superstar sartorialists he’s encountered on the air.
Cabbie Says: “Dwyane Wade, to me, is a trendsetter. In the mid-2000s, the NBA introduced a dress code, and guys were just wearing oversized suits and baggy jeans — the fashion was terrible. D-Wade was the first guy to wear slim, tapered pants that actually looked like they fit, and loafers instead of sneakers. He plays in Miami, so his choices are bolder and brighter — he’s known to rock a lot of pastels and white. This guy is just so versatile and confident. He looks good in suits, but he owns that casual chic look. And his accessory game is dope — he’s always on point from the tie bars straight down to the socks. He thinks about every last detail.”
Cabbie Says: “When Nash went from Phoenix to LA, his style game completely went up. He got rid of the shaggy hair, and went from more of a clean, classic look. Nash is one of the few guys to rock three-piece suits consistently and nail it. But he also lives in Hermosa Beach, CA, and he skateboards, so he can also rock that more comfortable, beach-y style. Steve’s just got that grown man game. It’s chill and classy and fits his whole vibe — he’s got a sharp wit and a dry sense of humour, and his style is reflective of his personality.”
Cabbie Says: “This dude is 6’9”, which is not an easy size to dress for. But he knows what looks good on his body. Tristan always wears great slim-fit pants, designer sneakers or shoes — his shoe game is always proper — and I love his big, bold prints. He’s a dude that will say to his boys, ‘Yo, let’s take a pic for the ‘Gram.’ He’s very much a millennial in that way, and he dresses age-appropriate: that is, like a young, rich dude with a great sense of style. I respect that he’s not just dressing to be like, ‘Oh, look at me.’ It’s comfortable, but it’s cool.”
Cabbie Says: “P.K. is very much himself. He embraces being different. He reminds me of a young Walt Frazier — he’s got a bit of an older soul, and loves the maroons and rich colours. As brothers, we love the loud colours, and P.K.’s got a big personality, so it just fits. It’s very old school: he wears a lot of fedoras and gets most of his clothes custom tailored in Montreal. I love that he bucks the trend of hockey players. Hockey culture can sometimes supress personalities, but P.K.’s like, ‘Forget that, I’m going to stay true to myself.’”
Cabbie Says: “People call DeMarre out all the time for dressing like Future with the hats and the hairstyle. But you know what? Future’s cool! I love his look — he takes big swings and just looks good. He wears a lot of chains, which I dig. And me, personally, I kind of envy guys who can wear hats because they have slimmer faces. I love the loud colours, his shoe game is on point, and the thin braids with the dyed tips really work for him.
Cabbie Says: “Kobe’s style speaks to his background: it’s classic American with a slight European inflection. The last two or three years, he’s been rocking nothing but clean, crisp suits, mixed with the occasional custom Nike print from his own collection. It’s always on point. His look is all business, which is very much his persona, like he’s coming to destroy you.”
Cabbie Says: “Lupul is very contemporary. When he’s out in Toronto, he doesn’t wear a lot of loud prints; it’s more subdued colours: grey, black, navy. A lot of designer sneakers and sleek casual jackets. In the summers, though, he lives in California and goes to lots of music festivals — Bonnaroo, Coachella, all of that — and he dresses way more West Coast. He’ll wear classic Vans and clothes that are right for the beach, but still considered and put-together.”
Cabbie Says: “Melo takes chances. A lot of chances. He’s got a complete wardrobe, a mix of everything: it’s trendy, it’s street, it’s boardroom. Melo’s just a versatile guy in general — beyond basketball, he’s invested in a juice company and he’s working on some tech start-ups — and that’s reflected in his clothes. His outfits aren’t always for me, but what he does really works for him.”
Cabbie Says: “Like with Steve Nash, I love Chad’s grown man game. When he makes public appearances, he’s always in a slick suit. I remember last year at the MMVAs, he showed up in a baby blue suit, just perfect for summer. He loves the brighter colours and gets his suits tailored to an absolute tee.”
Cabbie Says: “JB is a Montreal dude. His style very much reflects where he’s from. It’s a European cool, it’s contemporary. His haircuts have that Euro soccer player-infused look. He always looks comfortable, but it’s elegant — he cares about his looks. Some NHL guys show up to practice in flip-flops and cargo shorts, just because they can. That’s not Bernier. He might be headed to a laidback dinner on a random Tuesday, but he’s going to arrive looking like he gives a bleep.”