The Next-Gen NBA stars are leading the way in setting fashion trends amongst athletes.

Athletes, more and more, fancy themselves as fashion icons nowadays. But this wasn’t always the case. Far from it. In the past, athletes fell into two groups where one group would rock up in run-of-the-mill sports kit and trainers and the other group would push the boat out with outlandish and ostentatious logo-branded outfits that were anything but understated.

In the past, athletes were guilty of trying too hard and going over the top with their style. That often smacked of snobbery, pretention and – more importantly – was unattainable and unrelatable by many, especially their legion of young fans.

Today’s young generation of athletes are more conscious of their sense of fashion and are less afraid of expressing their unique styles. And with access to the masses via a number of social media platforms, they can share their looks, build their online style portfolio and gauge the public’s opinions along the way.

The Next-Gens have a much more organic and generic approach. There’s a naturalness to their fashion selections. An effortless and freshness about their fashion sense underlines the fact that increasingly they have a much better handle on their identity and relationship to fashion and style.

They exude more confidence in their dress sense and a willingness to express their personal style authentically. That’s the key – personal style, in the end.

Simply put, the next generation is more stylish and fashion-conscious than any of the preceding generations. This is nowhere more so evident than within the NBA, although other sports have demonstrated a similar trend over the last few years.

In this column, we celebrate some of the best dressed young NBA starlets that are inspiring legions of fashionistas around the country. Obviously, there are many players that could be on this list. We simply highlight a few in no particular order of favouritism.

nba stars fashion

Kelly Oubre Jr.

Charlotte Hornets small forward Kelly Oubre Jr. has a broad style that ranges from cool streetwear to punk and high fashion and he somehow blends the two in a unique way that fits. His look is fun and trendy and it resonates with many. Add to that his good looks and, well, he’s a standout amongst the young NBA stars helping to set the fashion trends in the NBA. He apparently spent a summer interning with Esquire’s fashion editorial team a few years ago, so he’s no stranger to the world of fashion. And he’s often seen at fashion week checking out the latest trends and styles.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has a casual style that is widely appealing with the younger generation. There’s nothing snobby or pretentious about his look. On the contrary, it’s simple, urban chic. T-shirts, jeans, cargo pants, hoodies and jackets accompanied by really nice trainers – all of which can be bought at any retailer and easily emulated. How the Canadian rising star puts these pieces together though is what makes him a trendsetter amongst the league’s Next-Gens. He’s not afraid of a bit of colour, texture or patterns and combines all three with uncanny taste.

Luka Doncic

Slovenia’s Luka Doncic brings a very European flavour to the NBA with his casual euro-chic look. He’s wardrobe mainly encompasses jeans, blazers, T-shirts, and coats but he wears them with effortless ease –not unlike his game. As the 22-year-old Dallas Mavericks point guard is sure to see his fashion sense evolve and mature over the years, so too will his game continue to develop and grown; that’s according to expert NBA picks and predictions that have the Mavericks amongst the teams to spot in the upcoming season.

nba stars fashion

Kyle Kuzma

Power forward Kyle Kuzma, formerly of the LA Lakers championship winning team in 2020 but now set to kickstart the 2021 NBA season with the Washington Wizards, is a bit eccentric with his outfits and that might not be to everyone’s tastes. He doesn’t mind going super tight, or super colourful, and his accessory game is always spot on. He’s even not afraid of pink. Whether you’re a fan of his experimental approach or not, there’s no denying it’s an expression of fearless personal style that warrants a mention here.

Jayson Tatum

Boston Celtic’s All-Star small forward Jayson Tatum’s fashion sense is an approachable blend of casual and chic. He runs the gamut from track pants to tailored suits and is always on point, just like his game. No matter the outfit, he exudes effortless chic that’s subtly punctuated by colour, print, and deft accessorizing.