As we move into December and get a glimpse at the winter weather before us, it is slowly but surely transitioning into the best time of the year to be a sports fan. The NFL season has entered crunchtime after an exciting Thanksgiving weekend, and the National Basketball League and National Hockey League are in full swing. Winter calls for rivalries, hype moments, and the Leafs beginning their journey to what is sure to be inevitable loss in the first round. What you don’t hear so much about is what happens just hours before the game; the players partake in an informal (but still competitive) runway show. Yes, you heard that right. While being the most talented athletes on the planet, the big names of the sports world are also known for their love of fashion and knowledge on how to put a stellar outfit together. Let’s say you’re a professional athlete who just played an incredibly mediocre game. Even if your stats were sub-par, if you walked into the dressing room wearing something eye-catching, I guarantee you’d still make it on Sportscentre. This article will take a look at each major sporting leagues’ (NBA, NFL, NHL) finest dressed athletes, and hopefully give you some inspiration on how to show up to your next intramural game. 

When it comes to athletes and fashion, the attention is usually fixated on one league in particular: the National Basketball Association. In 2006, former NBA commissioner David Stern established a dress code that all players were expected to follow or risk being fined. The dress code aimed to prevent players from wearing “street clothes” to any team sanctioned events. The code was perceived by many to be racially motivated, and very few teams formally adopted it. Nowadays, the code is still in effect, but not active. Players can wear whatever they want to any event, which opens the door for many to show off their unique sense of style. Here are some of the more widely recognized style gods of the NBA.

Would this even be a sports fashion article without mentioning Russell Westbrook? Love him or hate him, Russ undoubtedly has the most recognizable style in the NBA. Known for his fairly quiet personality, he makes up for it with explosive outfits and combining brands that  no one would think of. As we approach the end of his career, we must ask which will be his greater legacy: his unbelievable triple-double ability, or the powder blue suit he is wearing in the photo above? Only time will tell.

James Harden is not only making a case for the best scorer in the league, but also for the league’s best dressed. He can dress it up in a flashy lime green suit and turtleneck, or go more lowkey with a baseball set and shoes to accent. As a former teammate of Russell Westbrook, it was always fun to see who would show up in the more impressive fit on game night. One of his key pieces that ties every outfit together is his signature beard. No one in the NBA has a beard like Harden, and I doubt we’ll ever see one quite as legendary again. 

He’s the poster boy for tearing relationships apart, it’s Kelly Oubre Jr. Many only know him for his legendary ability to steal anyone’s girl, but his fashion also has the ability to steal the show,  its certainly not something to overlook. Being one of the younger faces in the league, Kelly aims to show off that youthful mentality with popular fashion amongst our generation. Wearing a Supreme dirt bike vest to a Tuesday night game? With leather pants? You can count on Kelly for that. 

The National Football League doesn’t have as much pregame coverage compared to the NBA or NHL, but they still give us sneak peeks at what the athletes are wearing as they arrive to the stadium. Everyday, I scroll through TikTok and see at least three or four NFL teams highlighting their players’ style. Not only is it a good marketing tool, it makes the athletes seem more impressive to the spectators. If you can show up to a football game in a three-piece suit and throw five passing touchdowns, you’ve certainly earned my respect. Let’s take a look at who I’m talking about. 

DeAndre Hopkins is not only one of the best receivers in football,  he also shows up to every game like he’s hitting the town right after. Whether it’s wearing a cozy sweater and seersucker pants, or going crazy in a skirt and cheetah-print blouse, he makes his presence known on and off the field. DHop shows us that it’s possible to look equally as good in both a thousand dollar outfit and a jersey. 

Odell Beckham Jr. was the man responsible for probably the greatest catch in the history of football. While that may have put him on the map as an athlete, he’s also responsible for keeping fashion in the NFL alive. He’s had articles written about him for GQ, has been to the Met Gala multiple times, and has the craziest cleat collection I’ve ever seen. Who wouldn’t want this guy on their team? 

This is a bit of a controversial selection, but Cam Newton deserves at least some recognition. Sure, maybe he’s not very good at football, and well, maybe he’s unvaccinated, but the guy can dress! He’s certainly football’s king of hats which he often pairs with matching suits and pants to deliver a unique look. I don’t really like Cam Newton, so that’s all I’m going to say for now. 

The National Hockey League has a different approach to style. There is a dress code in effect where players must wear suits or formal attire to every game. Each team can modify this code to their own liking, but you don’t see too much streetwear presence in the NHL. This means that the best dressed players are often the sharpest dressed, but I’ll give some credit to athletes that have excellent style outside of sports. Here’s a few that come to mind for me. 

The undeniable, longstanding fashion king of the NHL is none other than P.K. Subban. Known for his incredibly sharp suits and matching hats, P.K. has had a hold on the league’s fashion game for as long as he’s been a player. He’s inspired a new generation of style in the league, introducing colour into an otherwise dull world of black and gray suits. There would be no special attention paid to NHL fashion without Subban. 

A name that often gets thrown around for his off-ice fashion is Auston Matthews. Honestly, I don’t see the hype. I find that wearing three-inch shorts with an oversized t-shirt and hat does not make you a style icon. But, I’d be killed if I didn’t mention him in this article. I’ll give it to the kid, he makes any suit look great and can pull off looks that I couldn’t dream of wearing. Maybe I’m just jealous.

Brent Burns is known for two things: his innate defensive skill, and his gigantic beard that seems to have a life of its own. However, Burnzie doesn’t get a lot of love for his bolder fashion choices. Full green leprechaun suits, man buns and military backpacks – he does it all! He ties each of his looks together with his signature hockey smile (two front teeth missing). I’ll always appreciate how this man who looks like he could end my life with one slapshot can clean up nicer than anyone in the league. 

Did I miss anyone? Agree or disagree with me? Let me know what you think in the article comments.


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