We’re not 100 per cent sure what Russell Westbrook was thinking showing up to games in that stitched-up quilt or those tablecloth pants, but clearly the man’s been doing something right. Last season, the Oklahoma City Thunder guard snagged the NBA’s prestigious MVP Award and also made history by shattering Oscar Robinson’s record for most triple-doubles in a season. Off the court, Westbrook has been racking up the accomplishments too. His daring fashion moves — from rocking custom “Why Not?” Air Jordans to quite obviously trolling Kevin Durant with an orange “official photographer” vest — earned him the title of “Most Fashionable Athlete” of 2017 from Sports Illustrated. So, naturally, he’s now commemorating his own sartorial audacity via a new Rizzoli coffee table book: Russell Westbrook: Style Drivers.
The book showcases some of Westbrook’s most outré looks and includes quotes about self-expression from designers like Public School’s Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, as well as notable figures DJ Khaled, Pusha T, and Serena Williams. We spoke with Westbrook about his personal style, his legacy, and his fashion haters. Turns out he’s a man of few words — he lets his clothes and pull-up jumpers do the talking.
Have you always been into fashion?
Ever since I can remember, I have loved fashion and been interested in the fashion world. Now I am able to explore that and get involved in all different ways.
How would you describe your personal style?
Where do you find inspiration for your style?
I find inspiration everywhere. I travel a lot with basketball, so I am able to see all different people, cultures, and parts of the world. I take inspiration from all of that.
In your book, you say style is a “psychological weapon.” What do you mean by that?
How you dress and how you wear clothes tells a lot about a person. And you being confident in your clothes and showing some swagger can be a weapon, for sure.
You’ve called yourself the “Fashion King.” Why?
I think everyone should have confidence in what they do and I have total confidence in my fashion sense.
Your signature slogan is “Why not?” What does it mean to you, and how does it apply to fashion?
I don’t follow trends. I create my own lane and always ask myself, “Why not?”
There are many fans of your unique style, but also some haters. Have you ever looked back at an outfit and thought, “Hmm. Maybe that wasn’t such a good look after all…”
Over the years, the incredible outfits you’ve worn while entering arenas are said to have upped the style game of players across the league, and even in other sports. Are you surprised by the huge impact the way you dress has had?
Surprised, yes, but I believe that sports is a style driver and athletes help create the Next Trend and Next Big Thing.
Thanks to social media, the way an athlete dresses off the court gets a lot more attention and scrutiny nowadays than it used to. Is this a good thing?
Yes. It gives an athlete the ability to show their personality and style off the court or field.
Who do you think is the second-most fashionable man in sports? (You’re obviously the first).
That’s really tough to say because there are a lot of fashionable guys in sports.
What are some of the biggest fashion mistakes you see men today making?
Copying someone else and not wearing something that is true to them.
What do you want Russell Westbrook’s legacy to be?
Renaissance man. Being able to have my hands in the culture moving forward.
Will fashion be your career once you retire from basketball?
I hope it will be part of it.
What’s next for you fashion-wise?