As I sit here, head spinning off my Göteborgs Rapé and sipping on a Black Minor Figures Nitro Cold Brew, desperately trying to avoid copping a stroke of that ‘rona, I’m wondering, what can I do to help the world?
But of course! Compile a list of a few of my favourite NBA outfits in the 2000s.
Looking like Carrie Bradshaw’s next mistake, Manu starts our article off with a bang that rivals that of the formation of our universe.
Starting from the top (sorry Drake) and 20–20 hindsight, we should have seen what was to come of his hair, but for a brief moment in time, this accidental mullet screams smooth-handed Argentinian lefty.
The more you stare at the sweater, the more you need to stop stargazing, as its limitless depth tricks your eye as if you’re staring into a city-night sky. But worry not, Manu has no pollution or interference, he’s simply used up all of the infinite star power in this universe. Moving along with his milky way theme, there are dad jeans, but Ginobili has gone all out with the timeless full-father blue denim and shiny loafers. 10/10 is the biggest understatement I can find to describe this fit.
Before the race-inspired NBA dress code (uh oh), there was prime Rasheed Wallace, on and off the court. David Stern halted the progression of one of the most outspoken players in the history of the league, and we are only left to imagine what Sheed could have worn had this hurdle not been slammed in front of him 40 metres through his sprint.
Ball don’t lie, and neither does the belt, symbolising my favourite team to ever win a ring, Wallace made WWE World Heavyweight Championship belts for the entire Pistons team.
Bonus pic — my all-time favourite centre sporting his belt in what was obviously a cornrow week for Big Ben. Here, watch 6’7 Ben Wallace suppress Shaq with a block timed to the millisecond.
Moving on to the first of the two most iconic photos from the noughties: LeBron on draft night.
The only possible way to defend wearing this suit as an 18-year-old who hasn’t dribbled a Spalding on the same court as his future all-world teammates and opponents is to have the career that the King has had. The foresight he had to cover his body in 27–7–7 G.O.A.T. white displays how ready he was to show the world who he was.
It’s not often someone can drip harder than Kim Kardashian in a baggy suit, but if I was a teacher asking my 2003 draft class who they think could do it, LeBron already has his hand up.
The second iconic photo belongs to the Mamba.
I was sitting beachside at Zicatela in Puerto Escondido when I was told “Kobe died” to which I instantly replied: “no he hasn’t”.
At that moment, I needed to be in my own house to process it, but the fact that I was on the other side of the world illustrated something that I didn’t realise at the time: you can’t process it. Of every sports person and famous figure in the world, Kobe is the only one that I could honestly convince myself did not have the capacity to die.
I spent years hating him on the court. He would drop 40 on my favourite players without breaking a sweat.
This photo was captured after the second chip in the Lakers three-peat, as you can probably tell by THAT jacket, in 2001, when Kobe was my age now.
Everything in this frame is its own story — the finger strap, the knee strap, the hat, the trophy and the fact that he’s sitting in the shower! None of those tales rivals the look on his face, what could this 22-year-old possibly be thinking at this moment? Is it the past season? Is it his life leading up to this point? Is it the rest of his career? Is it Mike? Is it Like Mike?
Knowing how Kobe thought about the world, it was probably none of these things, it was probably the furthest thing from basketball, but unfortunately, we will never be able to get the answers to these questions.
Are you kidding me?
Hands down my favourite outfit of this article is that of the third feature from the 2004 “Goin to Work” Pistons — Mr Big Shot’s.
Let’s just take a moment.
Those two studs, matched with that chain make up the Holy Trinity of ice, don’t even try me. Even though this is a .jpeg I can see my reflection when I look at any of them. Even the glow off of Chauncey’s — what I didn’t realise until I was blessed with this masterpiece — flawlessly shaped dome is more dope than that one time I shot a nerf gun at the back of my brothers head while he was scratching it and he caught it, marking one of the most memorable moments in one of the most unrivalled brother-brother relationships our blue marble has ever seen.
After deep soul searching, 6XL “Vote or Die” t-shirts are now my religion, and the way those low-hanging sleeves are cuffed for no particular reason is the church I go to pray. Pray that one day I can pull off wearing a fucking flip phone on my hip with as much of a “what do you want?” look on the canvas of my faultlessly manicured pencil stache. The way he’s raising his right eyebrow adds another dimension to this perfectly asymmetrical triumph.