Assistant Coach Jackson and Kings players dish on the many unique styles on the team. Plus, NBA legend Walt Frazier offers insight into how he defined his eclectic presentation.
From platinum-accented polyester suits to adventurously colorful jeans and jackets, the Kings locker room is never behind on contemporary trends.
“John Salmons dresses the best, and then probably Francisco (Garcia) and (James Johnson),” says Assistant Coach Bobby Jackson, wearing tan slacks and a checkered suit jacket.
“It’s about coordination, what goes together and patterns. Some guys think they’re stylish, but they can’t put an outfit together – to each his own.”
Salmons – whose clothing line, Salmons & Brown, recently debuted at N.Y. Fashion Week – describes his designs as “cool-classic” while commending the sartorial sense of the majority of his teammates.
“The good thing about fashion is it doesn’t really matter what other people think as long as you like what you’ve got on,” he says.
“It comes down to the fit of your clothes, how you put it together, color combinations and just the style. A lot of it has to do with style – how you style yourself.”
While the swingman is unanimously designated best-dressed by his contemporaries, he’s hardly the only Kings player to showcase his individualism and trendy wardrobe.
“I don’t care what people think I’m wearing,” says Johnson. “Today, I cuffed up the pants so they stop short. I’ve got on some red-bottom wingtips, a light blue jean-jacket and the little checkerboard (pattern) up top (on my cap).”
The Wake Forest product – whose essentials include various ties, socks and hats – explains the key to style is being original rather than imitative.
“You can’t look like a mannequin – you can’t go to the mall and pick out everything you see on the mannequin and then try to wear it,” he says. “You have to have your own sense of style, but at the same time, you have to know how to put it together. You can emulate just a little bit, but at the same time, you have to throw a pocket scarf in there to match your shoelaces or something like that.”
Isaiah Thomas, describing his own style as simple with an emphasis on matching, lists No. 52 as one of his fashion idols on the team.
“James, I like his (look) because he does it himself – you never know what he’s going to wear,” says Thomas. “If you have it, you have it – you can make the clothes work. Maybe in a couple of years, I might try to learn some things from Johnny or ‘J.J.’ or ‘Cisco.’”
The frontrunner for most improved dresser, according to him and many of his teammates, is forward Travis Outlaw.
“Best-dressed is definitely a tie between Johnny and me now – we’re battling for fashion tips,” he says.
“I just woke up one day and decided I’m going to start dressing up and started putting some fabric together,” he continues. “I’d say I have a classic look. I wear a little bit of everything – jeans, khakis, suits – whatever feels good that day.”
Jimmer Fredette downplays his own flair while picking Salmons and Garcia as Sacramento’s trendiest stars.
“I’m definitely not one of the best dressers,” says No. 7. “I have just plain clothes, not anything too special. I’m sure I’m not one of the most extravagant guys, but I think everybody does a decent job.”
In addition to doling on-court advice, veteran Chuck Hayes – who typically wears a hoodie over a dress shirt or sweater as part of his “not over-the-top” style – discloses he may need to give rookie Thomas Robinson a few pointers in apparel stores.
“Thomas dresses like he’s still in college, which is okay, but it’s the worst (on the team),” he says.
Aaron Brooks, however, is the first to admit he’s likely Sacramento’s least fashionable player.
“I don’t have any style – I’m just trying to get to the game and not get fined,” he reveals. “I figure the less I spend on (my clothes), the more I like them.
“(What I’m wearing now) is actually really fancy compared to what I normally have on,” says Brooks of his light gray jeans and black polo shirt. “I usually wear a sweatshirt.”
No. 22 admits he wouldn’t hesitate to call the fashion police on the fellow Washington native.
“It seems like ‘A.B.’ picks his clothes out in the dark,” says Thomas laughing. “He’s the worst – by far.”
Although Salmons believes Brooks’ biggest faux pas is repeating the same outfit, he jokes he used to dress similarly to the Oregon product when reflecting on how much his stylistic approach has evolved since entering the NBA.
His teammates concur they’ve grown into drastically better dressers over the years.
“I’ve learned a lot from my rookie season to now,” says Jason Thompson. “Before, you think you want the bigger sizes and want it to just look nice. Now, (in addition to) looking nice, (it’s important) it suits you well and you change the different colors with the weather.”
“I used to wear a lot of baggy clothes and hanging around with guys like Johnny probably changed my style a little bit through the years,” affirms Garcia, with tailored blue slacks neatly hanging in his locker. “I’m just trying to represent myself and the organization the best I can.”
No. 32 adds rather than spending extravagantly on designer names, he’s focused on finding a proper fit and customizing to his taste – a sentiment echoed by many of his peers.
“You don’t have to have name brands – you can wear regular (clothes) and do your thing with them,” says Johnson. “I’ve always had swag – (no matter what brand), I’d make them look nice.”
“Spending a lot of money was never my thing,” says Marcus Thornton, adding he occasionally opts for a different look by donning a unique pair of glasses. “I still have the same mindset from when I was little – find the best bargain and just keep it simple.”
The Louisiana native, who says he picked up his favorite pointers from former teammate Jarrett Jack, divulges his fashion idol is one of hip-hop’s popular artists.
“Fabolous – I like his swag,” says No. 23. “Every time I see him, he’s together, and I like that.”
Thompson, meanwhile, says he’s long appreciated the unique presentations of a pair of NBA broadcasters.
“I would say one of the unique guys who is funny with fashion is Walt Frazier,” says No. 34. “He’s known for his different colored suits, and also Craig Sager, as well.
“But when it comes to fashion, ‘Cisco’ and John are the guys kids should look up to.”
– Frazier, one of the NBA’s original trendsetters and icons, discloses style boils down to creativity and confidence.
“It’s a perception – like cool is a perception,” says the former All-Star and current N.Y. Knicks broadcaster. “(My style is) flamboyant, provocative, eccentric – I think I cover the entire spectrum. Sometimes, I wear something and they go, ‘Only you could’ve pulled that off!’ because of the way I bring it.”
After initially drawing inspiration from his father, the Hall of Famer says he admired Motown groups The Temptations and The Four Tops while striving to set himself apart with monogrammed shirts and distinctive hats.
“I go from head to toe,” he says, donning a light blue suit and pink button-down shirt. “Some guys are dressed, but they don’t have the shoes or they don’t have the pocket handkerchief. I try to be the consummate dresser.”
– Of his former NBA teammates, Assistant Coach Jackson says Kevin Garnett, Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler are among the most fashionable, while ranking a former Kings All-Star at the bottom of the list.
“Vlade (Divac) is not known for his style,” he says with a chuckle.