9 NBA Draft Fashions That Are Burned Into Our Memories


One of the best things about recurring events like the NBA Draft is that they naturally birth recurring traditions; traditions which usually center around a quirky subplot within the event itself. Prominent examples of these organic traditions include ranking the Super Bowl commercials, or giving a thumbs up/down at movie previews like Siskel and Ebert (suck it, Roeper). A dandy piece of entertainment at the NBA Draft is that viewers inevitably turn into Tim Gunn, mocking college-age kids who dress up and play icon. It’s adorable.

My personal style is essentially Nick from New Girl (probably due to our similar financial situations).  If I was going to parade around on national television, I’d pay someone who knew about these things to dress me right, just like my mom did when I was little so other kids wouldn’t laugh at me (kind of worked). But here lies the problem. Legions of handlers have started getting these future draftees away from the Steve Harvey collection and in front of working mirrors, a nearly mandatory move considering today’s NBA players make personal fashion a priority. For us, this obviously sucks. The fashion awareness of the NBA fraternity is trickling down to the pledges, and it’s ruining my once healthy tradition of draft night mockery.

But I’m an optimist.  I still believe that Andre Drummond has the potential to wear a red jacket.  Maybe Thomas Robinson will give a subtle nod to the upper ceiling of his ability by wearing an homage to Karl Malone (a satirical retro-suit is easily the Holy Grail of potential outcomes here, kind of like getting a Sega Genesis for Christmas in 1991). So here’s a look back at past draft-day fiascos, and let’s cross our fingers (and toes) that we get an outfit this good in 2012:


Samaki Walker (1996) - In retrospect, this suit should have been the first sign that Walker would make some bad judgement calls. He last made headlines by attempting to eat his weed prior to getting pulled over by police in 2011.


Erick Dampier (1996) – Dude played in the league for 15 YEARS! Amazingly earning more than Michael Jordan. Obviously his expensive tastes kept him working.


Tim Thomas (1997) – No words. Just emotions.


Chuck Person (1986) – It was 1986.  I was eight months old and wearing off-brand Huggies.  Maybe pink cummerbunds were cool back then.


Karl Malone (1985) – The GOAT of draft day apparel.  Short tie, white pants, purple jacket, future hall of famer.  Come on, T-Rob, you can wear this!


Jalen Rose (1994) – Current ESPN analyst. Good to see he has grown up since the draft.


Drew Gooden (2002) – If you search “Drew Gooden” in Google images, you’ll see that this was far from his worst style move. You know what, the longer I look at it, the more it grows on me.


Maurice Taylor (1997) - #neverscared


LeBron James (2003) – I don’t care how many rings or $8,000 suits he wears, LeBron won’t live this down! Haters, keep on hatin.

The 2012 NBA Draft airs Thursday, June 28th at 7 p.m. EST on ESPN.