The first thing you notice about Anthony Davis? His style.
Fine, sorry, that was a lie. The answer, obviously, is his epic unibrow. But the second thing you notice about the New Orleans Pelicans power forward? It’s how he rocks that feral eye hair with swagger and aplomb — not just when he’s dropping 40 points against your favourite team, but when he pulls up to the game looking dapper AF. Sure, pre-game peacocking is as common in basketball these days as bullshit officiating, but when it comes to the NBA’s style wars, we’d argue Davis currently has the hot hand.
The evidence: his capsule collection with Saks Fifth Avenue. While most NBA stars have been shooting bricks with their clothing line attempts — pre-tied bow-ties, Dwayne Wade? Really? — Davis’ collaboration with Saks is an absolute dagger, boasting a more refined — and dare we say, uh, high brow — take on athleisure wear. “It was very tough for me to find clothes [that fit],” says the 6’10” all-star. “So I thought it’d be a great idea to make my own clothes.”
So great an idea, in fact, that Saks released a second season of their Davis collection this month. “Our exclusive capsule collections with Anthony add an athleisure bent and a youthful spirit to the [Saks Fifth Avenue] collection, which our customers love,” says Louis Digiacomo, General Merchandise Manager, Men’s, Saks Fifth Avenue. Clearly, the big man’s doing something right.
While Davis was in Toronto to debut his new Saks season, we picked his brain about the pressures of picking a pre-game outfit, sneakers, and how it feels being a brow style trailblazer.
Have you always been a fashion dude?
Um, a little bit. I think it was kind of triggered when I was in the Olympics with Lebron, Kobe, and all those guys. We all went out to dinner, and me, coming fresh out of college, I always wore sweats. But everybody else had these crazy outfits on and everything like that! So, they got on me a little bit about what I was wearing. At that point, I knew I had to step my game up a little bit.
Do you feel that in the NBA, especially nowadays, there’s pressure for every player to step up their pre-game style?
I think there is, just in that moment walking from the bus to the locker room. You know, cameras are on you, NBA photographers, your team, Snapchat, Instagram — there’s all that stuff that captures the moment for you. I mean, it’s a little pressure. Some guys just don’t care, but for the most part, a lot of guys in the NBA care about what they wear, how they look from the bus to the locker room. You know, guys debate on what they’re wearing. With a lot of guys on my team, when you’ve got something on, they know exactly what it is, how much it costs, when it came out, all of that. I think it’s definitely stepping up now, where guys have to really figure out what they’re going to wear the night before.
Ha, so much thought goes into it! Tell me, what is the secret is to nailing the tunnel walk?
Uh… there’s really no secret. I mean, just walk! It’s not that long! A lot of players are probably not confident with what they’re wearing or just have sweats on, so they sort of walk behind players who are more dressed up. (Laughs). But, I mean, there’s really nothing to it. It’s a simple walk. I haven’t seen anyone really show their stuff off yet, like point to it or something like that. Just be yourself, be normal, walk. It’s going to get talked about regardless. That’s the cool thing about it: you don’t really have to show off what you’re wearing. You just walk and be you and people are going to talk about it.
How do you go about choosing the right pre-game outfit? What’s your process?
I always start with the shoes. I think about what shoes I want to wear, whether it be red bottoms or Balenciaga or whatever. Or even sneakers — I wear sneakers a lot, too. And it goes from there. The jeans are very easy, the shirts come into play next. But, for me, to start off, it’s got to be the shoes.
What shoes are you into right now?
I’m a big sneakerhead. I can’t really wear everything, but I love all the Jordans, all the Nikes. I’m a big time red bottom guy for some reason. I love them. So I’ve got almost every pair of those. I mean, that’s really it, other than Balenciagas, of course. Lots of other stuff either doesn’t come in my size or I can’t wear them.
Speaking of size, I know you experienced a huge growth spurt in high school. Obviously, that was great for your basketball career, but what kind of impact did it have on your everyday life?
I was ducking a lot more. My bed was too small. The biggest thing for me, though, was the clothes, honestly. My mom and my dad were buying me new shirts, shoes, all of that, like every couple weeks because I would just grow out of it. So now they always bring it up, like, ‘All that money I spent on you and the clothes! Can I get five dollars?’ (Laughs.) They would just constantly be buying clothes for me. Especially the pants. The pants were just always short, so they were buying pants a lot.
Do you still have trouble finding suits that fit?
No. I have someone who makes suits for me, just because I don’t want to deal with all that. There’s nothing I can buy off the rack, honestly. If I’m going to the store and I see a suit I like, I’m going to have to get it tailored. And I’d rather do something funky with it if I’m going to get it tailored anyway. So I never go in the store and buy anything off the rack. A t-shirt or short sleeve is fine, but if it’s anything long-sleeved or it’s jeans, it’s going to be tough.
You’ve obviously received lots of attention over the years about your brow. Well nowadays, when you look at fashion blogs and stuff, thick bushy brows are all the rage! How does it feel to have been ahead of the curve?
I didn’t even know that was like… that’s a thing now?
It is! It’s a thing. You know, brows on fleek.
Yeah, I guess I started it! And I didn’t get all the credit for it! I didn’t know that. If it started because of me, then I’m definitely grateful for that. That’s just who I am, man. It doesn’t bother me. But I guess I was ahead of the curve. I should have copyrighted or trademarked it or something — made some money off of it! That’s pretty cool, though. That’s pretty dope.