Why Do So Many Ballers Channel Steve Urkel These Days?

We really didn’t expect star NBA players to jump on the geeky bandwagon… I mean, aren’t jocks the mortal enemy of geeks? What’s a-goin-on? But lo and behold, MVPs everywhere have been spotted getting Urkel-fresh in in varsity cardigans, lensless wayfarers and sailboat-ready terrycloth polo shirts. There’s even an Adidas t-shirt out now emblazoned with the alter-geek-os of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant (I have to admit, they’re pretty cute). I guess wearing those bulky letterman jackets and pull-on gym pants off the courts was getting a bit too costly at the dry cleaners. Here are a few star b-ballers who have defaulted to the Dark Side of the Courts. 

LeBron James
On the court, James is a ball-dunking demon, but off, James often sports lensless horn-rimmed wayfarers and crisp, collared schoolboy button-downs. He’s also a fan of pairing button-down suit vests with retro kicks, striped cardis with tweed ties and private-school crested blazers with… well, anything, really. We think he’d fit right in on the grassy lawns of Oxford, don’t you?

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Russell Westbrook
Never without his signature fire-engine red specs, Westbrook has even claimed to be the original “Nerd Swag” arbiter in a recent interview with the NYTimes. “I’ve been wearing glasses since I’ve been in the league,” he said. “I think everybody else just started wearing them now.” Them fightin’ words! A bespectacled James quickly retorted, “There’s no stories behind it. It’s a look. It’s a fashion thing. But he absolutely didn’t start it. I know I’ve been wearing mine for about two years now. I don’t know who started it. None of us started it. It could have started back in the ’70s or ’80s. Fashion comes and goes over decades.”

There you go. James – 1, Westbrook – 0. 

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Dwayne Wade
It’s not easy being an all-star MVP: after all, you can’t really control what color of finger casts they have at the doc’s office. That’s why we think Wade is a genius for finding the perfect shade of plaid blue-green to contrast with his teal mini-cast. Bonus points for selectively posing next to an FD&C lime-colored Gatorade bottle. 

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Kevin Durant
Durant is bringing the sexy back—literally. The 23-year old small forward for the OKC is seldom seen in public appearances without his beloved backpacks. He also has a penchant for tangerine-colored skinny ties, frilly pocket squares and little floral lapel pins. We love a man who has some feminine flair. 

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Amare Stoudemire
Stoudemire can check off “sitting front row with Anna Wintour” off his bucket list in addition to “best use of a full blue sateen suit outside of a ‘70s movie.” The fashionably forward center player for the Knicks can often be seen wearing a checked bowtie, sleek black spectacles and preppy cardigans.

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Does this Carmelo Anthony Ad Represent Knicks Fans Worst Fears?

I’m not a huge basketball fan (soccer’s my game), but here’s what I’ve been able to glean about the too-early-to-tell-but-possibly-disastrous Knicks trading snafu: Carmelo Anthony is now a member of New York’s beleaguered (but recently pretty good!) team; he was traded for a bunch of talented young players, including Danillo ‘the Rooster’ Gallinari; Anthony’s name is the type that’s writ large; this brings the Knicks tally of superstars – Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire – up to two. Also, they have a sterling team of marketers, as evidenced by this Odyssean video giving Anthony a hero’s welcome, set to music by Diddy Dirty Money.

You’d have to be blind – or, you know, reading – not to notice the Knicks ads on the subway these days, which pair black and white images from a time immemorial, back when the team was a winning and everything was in black and white, to colorful live-court photos of the present. They’re catchy. They give me a tingly feeling up and down my arms. Apparently, the sports franchise is working with a cabal of advertising gurus – Hock Films, The KMco, Caruso Productions, Crossmedia – to pump out all this frisson-inducing material. Then there are videos like the one below. (When did they start making ads for specific games that weren’t the Super Bowl?)

But what’s funny about the latest video is that it effectively equates Anthony with Diddy – a megastar. Which is precisely the thing certain die-hard fans – possibly the most thankless in the NBA – are wary of. (Something something Carmelo’s not a good defender.) It’s a laudable piece of cinema, but one wonders: Is it all too effectively calling out Knicks fans’ worst fears? Either way, enjoy.

Hilary Swank to Follow Path of Amar’e Stoudemire, Design ‘Athleisure’ Line

Adding “designer” to her resume, Hilary Swank is currently looking for fashion designers to partner on a clothing line of gym clothes for women, appropriately referred to as “athleisure.” What originated as a line of motivational t-shirts has blossomed into a full line, assuming she finds the right fashion designer to collaborate with on production of the line (similar to the path of Amar’e Stoudemire, who has reportedly teamed up with Rachel Roy to produce a sporty clothing collection).

As celebrity clothing collections often go, only time will tell as to the success of the line, but at least Swank appears to understand (and even relish) the athletic lifestyle (did you see her in Million Dollar Baby?).