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More Than - Jaren Jackson Jr.

"Triple Threat"

More Than - Jaren Jackson Jr.
"Triple Threat"
More Than - Jaren Jackson Jr. Triple Threat

Jackson Jr.

"Triple Threat"


Jaren Jackson Jr. is used to being the center of attention. Not only is he usually the tallest guy in the room, even if the room we are talking about is an NBA locker room, but his attitude and clothes make him even more visible than a guy over 210 centimeters might be. The Memphis Grizzlies forward, however, has learned not to listen to the judgments of others and to listen only to his passions and insights. "I mean I never cared about what they think, I never cared about anything like that so this is why I think I’ve got as far as I got cause I wear the weirdest, craziest stuff. But I like actually to look good and fly sometimes, put something you actually like, put stuff on it that makes sense and that's what we’re doing here." Arriving in Italy, Florence to be precise, for Pitti Uomo where he will launch his first collaboration with the Mauna Kea brand, we couldn't pass up the opportunity not to make Jaren Jackson Jr. the third star of More Than.

Mauna Kea is a 100% Made In Italy brand that right from its name reveals its fascination with exotic and tropical places, now interpreted through the taste and style of the US basketball player. It is an unexpected collaboration, combining the materials and quality of Italian tradition with the hype of the world's most fashion-conscious and style-conscious league, but one that according to Jaren Jackson Jr. was extremely natural. "Obviously I won't collaborate with anybody if I didn’t think it would be a healthy relationship or I don’t think that the clothes were something I didn’t wanna see or something I didn’t wanna wear. But I also wanna have my own collection, my own staple in the industry. I mean I have had this great relationship with the brand over the years and I’m blessed that we’re being able to do something I always want to do. Having my name on the shirt, something I know from the fabric, the quality of the materials is a dream come true."

It all started when his stylist Toni Lowe "the best stylist to ever walk this earth" as he would call her during the interview - included a corduroy biker jacket in one of his looks that won over Jaren Jackson Jr. "It was great, it was dope. I also realize I’ve seen the pieces from Mauna Kea on a lot of people just around but I didn’t know what I was looking at, I wasn’t as aware but I definitely know now." From that almost chance meeting, a long-distance relationship was born, eventually resulting in this capsule collection that brings together some of the garments Jackson Jr. is most obsessed with, which combine a sportswear look with unusual hues and workmanship, with gradient colors and neon patterns running through hoodies and balaclavas.

"I told my stylist everything I wanted. She and I have been collaborating together for years now, and we know exactly what I like, and how to express my personality through the collection. So for many things I didn't even have to follow the whole process closely so much as I was sure it would suit my taste. There are a lot of details that are attached, a lot of distressed fabrics...wide leg pants, that’s what I’m on right now. It’s basically what I’m into because I think I have pretty good taste so I want people to dress what I like and they did a great job creating so I couldn't be happier. Mauna Kea has done a great job of following my input and I couldn't be happier about that."

Jackson Jr, or Triple J as he calls himself in his projects and on his social channels, is one of the young NBA talents who is most attentive to his personal image, which he takes care of down to the smallest detail. However, not to respond to already written codes but to create new ones, experimenting and innovating without regard to judgments. "You're gonna not care about whatever, anybody says at any point at any time because it is a waste of time. Cause at the end of the day people are only going to like what you do if you like it, so this is the only way the things works. if you even care about it, if you like your stuff that’s the key. But if you want a major key, it doesn’t even matter if they like it, It’s just matter if you like it and if you can have a good night sleep".

Even though his Memphis Grizzlies this season have established themselves as one of the most up-and-coming teams in the wake of Ja Morant's leaps beyond the stratosphere and they were stopped in the playoffs only by the Golden State Warriors, Jackson Jr. doesn't compare himself too much to his young locker room mates when he has to choose an outfit. "I haven’t listened to feedback on what I’m wearing since 2017, cause it doesn’t even matter. You can wear whatever you want and they’re gonna say whatever they want. I wore everything under the sun, I wore leopard, I wore zebra, I wore shorts, I wore tight jeans, I wore big pants, I wore striped stuff, I wore a bunch of chains, I wore a dog chain. I can’t think of anything else that I need to prove that I can wear, everyone knows how I am so that's even more fun."

“You're gonna not care about whatever, anybody says at any point at any time because it is a waste of time. Cause at the end of the day people are only going to like what you do if you like it, so this is the only way the things works.”

At only 22 years old, Jaren Jackson Jr. has already gone through many shades of his style, which has been defined and transformed since his early days in the league. "In the beginning I always wore hoodies and shorts although I was always interested in dressing differently, I was not yet ready both financially and creatively to buy all these clothes. Once I had more money and perspective I decided that I would dress up for every occasion, almost like playing a character but it’s yourself and you get to show off to anybody. Clothes speak for you and you can express yourself through them. It's something I really enjoy." Jackson Jr. holds true to the old saying that the clothes make the man, since when he has to explain to me the point that you should always dress well when you come to an NBA game he says, "Look good, play good. If you're dressed well, you'll feel better when you're about to take the court. It doesn't change much from a performance standpoint, but it adds a lot to the fun you're having."

Quoting Deion Sanders, longtime cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, confirms for us how impossible it is in American sports to separate performance on the field from style off it. It is a combination that is becoming more and more present even on this side of the Ocean, and for Jackson Jr. it also means following his passions besides the obvious one for basketball. Last February he released his debut rap album titled Suddenly, joining the long list of athletes who have tried their hand with a microphone in their hands. "Rapping for me is pure fun. It's something I've always done with my friends, I even built myself a nice home studio so when I come back from a game I can record a song before I go to sleep. I call my sound engineer, he comes here and we record. It usually takes 20 to 30 minutes, we've been doing this for a long time now and it's pretty quick as a process."

In addition, the longtime Memphis Grizzlies player has always been a fan of anime, listing Naruto, Death Note and One Piece among his favorites, and he tells us that he "would love to collaborate with a lot of anime studios, I would like to have my own action figure and comic book dedicated to my character," but at the same time he knows how time-consuming it all is. And for athletes forced to juggle a thousand commitments, sporting and personal, it can seem really complicated to carve out space to create and follow interests outside the work sphere. Jackson, on the other hand, finds no difficulty in managing his passions and projects while his career on the field is maturing.

"I don't have trouble balancing all my interests, I have a stylist who helps me with clothes, buying it so I just have to worry about putting them on and see what I like and what I don’t like how to put it together sometimes, but for the most part she does a great job. If I have trouble balancing it I’d cut on something but I don't do everything at the same time. Sometimes I might record a lot for a week and then go months without recording anything. So it depends on the periods," he admits. What he never interrupts is his curiosity about his surroundings, "I find inspiration in everything, I haven't gone around much yet because I've only just arrived but I will definitely try to take an interest in everything around me. Then honestly I am here for my collection and my full concentration is on that." Because, as he explained before, if you put your whole self into the things you love, you don't have to worry about anything anymore.

Talent: Jaren Jackson Jr.
Photographer: Lorenzo Serafini Boni
Stylist: Toni Lowe
Art Director: Alessandro Bigi
Video Editor: Lorenzo Serafini Boni/Leonardo Pedergnani
Production: nss factory
Words: Lorenzo Bottini