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The style of the NBA Draft 2024

Curiosity, news and style lessons in the NBA night dedicated to new talents

The style of the NBA Draft 2024 Curiosity, news and style lessons in the NBA night dedicated to new talents

"There is no second chance to make a good first impression". This must be going through the minds of the boys who every year are about to take their first steps as NBA players, on the traditional Draft Night at the end of June. For the young talents coming into the league, it is the night of their presentation to the public, the one where they get to know the starting point of their "upstairs" adventure; at the same time, the event that has been held at the Barclays Center in the last two days - the novelty of 2024 was precisely the split between the first and second round - is the moment to introduce themselves, not only to new fans, but also to the global basketball audience.

The time to give a first taste of their value on the court comes later, with the Summer League (scheduled for the next few weeks) and the start of the Regular Season (October). In front of the cameras, however, the rookies make their debut on Draft night, on a stage that has become increasingly glamorous over time, with a growing attention to the outfits worn by its protagonists. In parallel with the spread of new trends among players and the evolution of NBA rules regarding dress code, in the last 20-25 years the bond between American basketball and the fashion world has become increasingly deep. From pre and post-game looks to costumes for occasions and holidays, from countless brand-athlete synergies to gala evenings such as the All-Star Weekend and, of course, Draft Night. Two occasions where style is often expressed in extravagance and eccentricity.

A long tradition

The Draft represents a crucial moment in the career of anyone who takes part in it, as well as the setting for many iconic snapshots in the history of the game. Unforgettable, for example, is the all-white outfit with which LeBron James reached the stage in 2003, as well as the subsequent photos with Carmelo Anthony, both in their oversized suits. Or, more recently, the very, very particular patterned jackets of Andrew Wiggins, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Scoot Henderson, and Bol Bol. Or the short pants of Trae Young, the purple-and-diamonds of Paolo Banchero, the blinding red of Gradey Dick, and the extreme total looks of Jalen Green and Keyonte George. This year's edition was no exception in this regard, in fact.

If the 2024 class will be remembered for the French exploit (three picks in the top six, including numbers one and two, after Wembanyama in 2023) and for Bronny James' arrival in his father LeBron's Lakers, the visual impact also played its part. The first pick, Zaccharie Risacher, opted for a fairly sober suit, but the same cannot be said for his compatriot Alex Sarr, who was called up immediately after. His outfit - vaguely inspired by the 2000s in terms of color and fit, but embellished with shiny buttons and a necklace - opened the dance in the usual battle of extravagance. Let's continue with the picks, focusing on some cases that deserve, and demand, attention.

Another Draft of Creativity

Definitely not shy, fourth pick Stephon Castle: a suit inlaid with diamonds, and the first of many rookies to take the stage with a considerable amount of weight around their necks. After giving our eyes time to adjust, commissioner Adam Silver then called Ron Holland, with a suit adorned with diamonds that was described during the ESPN broadcast as "the Milky Way"; with a huge purple atom as a pendant on his necklace, and matching glasses. Tidjane Salaun, on the other hand, inaugurated a recurring trend in all the recent Drafts: jackets with colorful designs on the inside, promptly opened in front of the cameras and often dedicated to the history or origins of the athletes; sometimes, to social messages (Tyrese Haliburton's "Black Lives Matter" in 2020) and sponsors (Kevin Knox's "Fortnite" in 2018).

And here's Donovan Clingan, with a bow tie and double chain, and above all with a series of photos with his mother - who he lost when he was a kid - printed on the inside of his jacket. On the same wavelength, moving to the end of the first round, the conspicuous Brazilian flag that appeared as soon as Tristan da Silva unbuttoned the buttons of his black suit (with red sleeves). Cody Williams caught the eye not only for the combination of gold necklace and pins, but also for the longest handshake ever with his brother Jalen, before joining Adam Silver on stage. Elegant but lavish, Rob Dillingham's outfit instead began to put traditional observers in difficulty. For those who used the adjective "kitsch" to comment, however, it is difficult to disagree. Devin Carter and Jared McCain, whose style starts with their hairstyle, chose to do without a shirt, leaving a lot of skin exposed to the sun. To this somewhat Miami Vice style, they added a series of not-so-subtle accessories, including rings, glasses, and necklaces.

Last but not least, Ja'Kobe Walter and Kyshawn George, showed off the two most extravagant outfits of all. The first with a purple suit, à la Banchero but with a brighter shade, and with extravagant patterns; on the outside, and above all on the inside, an explosion of colors - as those who were able to look away from the huge pendant around his neck will have noticed. Kyshawn George, on the other hand, caught the cameras' attention even before he was picked, having himself filmed at the Barclays Center while practicing his ball handling - with a golden ball - waiting to be called. Shortly after, he took the stage with a fun mix of styles: bootcut pants (also extended to the wrists), bright and original colors, with a series of diamonds around his neck, ears, and chest. All that's missing are the glasses, he probably left them in the taxi.