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In 2005, then NBA commissioner David Stern implemented a dress code for all active NBA players attending games. Players were furious,the NBA being mostly comprised of black players considered this some type of racial halo that was directed toward them specifically, and while I don't think Stern cared about ruffling most players feathers, Allen Iverson,ai then the polarizing star and NBA's most electrifying player, the ban was no doubt implemented to put a collar on Iverson who's celebrity was inflating by the minute.  Specifically  his cornrows, tattoos and "gangster rap" attire. Iverson's commercial effect is still felt in fashion today but Iverson is a different story for a different day. It's 2016 and all NBA players should be writing thank you cards to Stern as his dress code, instead of "white washing" or "gentrifying " the league as many had expected, forced players to further they're brands by embracing  fashion and the stylists that came with it.  Now 11 years later you run into the same wall of repetition that was apparent in '05. The status quo is skinny jeans, torn t'shirts and bedazzled Balmain leather jackets. Take Andrew Wiggins, the Minnesota Timberwolves second year scoring machine, showing up to All Star weekend in what appears to be a silver snake skin biker jacket by Giuseppe Zanotti..... Andrew-Wiggins-Giuseppe-Zanotti-jacketThis is a perfect example of a player with money, that over pays a stylist to dress him in a designer he's never heard of. This is the problem i'm getting at, it's obvious that most of these players don't have personal style (your young Andrew, i'm sure you'll get it together). Lest we forget the horrendous trend a few years ago where players were wearing glasses with no lenses, fake bandades , ill matching bow ties?5Glasses.BandAid The list goes on and on.  In 2008 I was cruising a Scottsdale mall in Arizona and couldn't help but notice a 6'10 Amare Stoudemire perusing the shopping center himself. At this point he was still wearing baggy cargo shorts and a Wu Tang shirt, nothing special, pretty run of the mill actually. Over the years Amare has publicly converted to Judaism,  upon his signing to the New York Knicks, taken on a more "man about town" lifestyle. The one thing i had noticed was that Amare had learned to dress.... dress well in fact.amare I'm sure he has a stylist but good style is about how the man wears the clothes as opposed to how the clothes wear the man. I pleasantly came across this article on artsy covering Amare as an art collector and dealer. Keep in mind Amare came up from the rougher areas of the Carolinas and Florida, dodging a major recruiting scandal that forced him to go straight to the NBA where he shined on the Phoenix Suns until micro-facture  knee surgery slowed his explosive game down. The article is a great read and I encourage you to read it in it's entirety, but here are some snippets
Stoudemire bought the house in 2011 for a cool $3.7 million following a mega-deal with the New York Knicks, and the following year began to fill it with art. His Instagram account, with some 366,000 followers, is dotted with ’grams of new acquisitions—paintings by up-and-coming artists Devin Troy Strother and Hebru Brantley, a print by Basquiat—and, well, one where he’s taking a bath in red wine post-practice.
The article later goes into more detail about his collection and how he is the go to for other players in the NBA looking to invest in Art
From there, it was full speed ahead. Stoudemire’s Miami home is filled with some 70 works, including pieces by Pruitt, Warhol, Brantley, and a recently acquired Basquiat (“a brilliant piece and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me”). It serves as headquarters of the Melech Collection (“Melech means king in Hebrew”), his platform to promote emerging artists and bridge the gap between art and professional sports. “As athletes we should look more to art,” he says. “We buy these amazing homes—let’s decorate them with some brilliant art.” And that means hooking up his friends, too. “I’m actually becoming the curator and dealer for my guys in the NBA,” he says, recalling the time Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons called him up about the painting by 33-year-old Oklahoma-based painter Robert Peterson he’d spotted on Stoudemire’s Instagram feed. “I was able to speak with the artist and get him a good deal for whatever painting he wanted.”
I give Amare props (not that he needs it)  for moving past the the norm that is NBA players wearing high fashion, and pushing deeper into a cultural understanding of a well rounded individual. Props to the kid from Lake Wales Florida, your doing bigger things then basketball.
Credits Words by Michael Cherrito Image sources: slam.com, artsy.net, stylehunter.com, sportsnet.ca


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