He had swag all around him, ice in his veins, and a new championship to his name. For D’Angelo Russell, Brooklyn Nets restricted free agent and the winner of GQ’s NBA Style Showdown competition, the sҽcret to his success is not taking it all too seriously, letting it all come to him. His most prized possessions, such as a pair of A Bathing Ape shorts, might transform from everyday stuff to ultra-chic nocturnal gym attire. On his Instagram Explore page, he can see a random photo of a tennis player that serves as the basis for his upcoming outfit. Even his dogs have collars with the Supreme logo.
Russell defines his style as “unpredictable,” with equal parts flamboyant and conservative, much like his on-court play. One minute he’s crossing a defender over and making a shot so high-arcing it would beαt one of those inflatable tube dancers, the next he’s hitting his man on the break with a crispy bounce pass. His fashion sense is consistent: one day it’s head-to-toe Human Made, the next it’s the lunch pail equivalent of get-to-work sweatsuits.
Russell has had a breakout year on and off the court. He took the Nets to the playoffs, made the All-Star team in the process, and after being left out of last year’s GQ NBA Style Showdown, he cruised through this year’s competition. LeBron James, the King and the winner from the previous year, was deposed by Russell after the latter methodically dispatched powerful opponents like Kelly Oubre Jr. and James Harden. We therefore gave him a call to find out his thoughts on the matter. GQ: Wow, congratulations on winning the NBA Style Showdown. Russell, D’Angelo: Man, I’m grateful for that. That’s just, I’ve never seen that, I looked up and saw that I was competing with a few guys whose style I respect so to win that, that was reαl cool. Being there and involved was cool. Winning is the icing on the cake.
Were you taken aback when you won? Are you reαlly serious about your wardrobe choices? It is definitely something that comes natural, but it caught me off guard, you guys recognizing it, everybody feels like they have their own taste and own flavor to what they do so everybody feels like what they do is the best.
What would you say your style is? What are your procedures and method? I completely wing it. I have no style. I think it’s definitely something on how you feel, the weather, that plays a part. But I just put pieces together and if people from the outside looking in don’t like it, I don’t really keep up with that, I just kind of go with it. And then sometimes I try to clean up, I mix up the classier look and then I’ll go back with a throwback look. You never know. I just try to keep it unpredictable. Be able to touch every lane with it.
The throwbacks looks really stood out. The one that we featured in your matchup in LeBron was the one with the baggy Yankees jersey. Is that a style you’re really into? Yeah, I think it’s all about your own feel. You got guys that go a different route with it, they may go straight name-brand—all the louder brands and stuff like that. I put outfits together from people trying to expand their clothing line. Guys reaching out to me, “Yo, could you wear my shirt? My shorts?” With their logo or whatever it is. And I put my own little swag to it. And I think that just keeps people on their toes because they never—it’s not like you could find those pieces—they’re limited. And that’s just me kind of doing a favor to respect people’s creativity.
When we spoke before this season, you mentioned wearing stuff that fans gave you or going to Greece and buying clothes there, even if it wasn’t from the most hyped up and well-known brands. Do you think that played to your advantage? Maybe other guys’ style comes off as more manufactured when they’re wearing the hottest new Nikes or the latest name-brand stuff. Yeah, because everybody can buy Gucci. Everybody can buy the Fear of Gods. Everybody, I mean, professionals they have the money to buy the same stuff that they see the next guy wearing. They’re capable of doing that. If you have your own taste, you know what looks right and what looks good on you versus someone kind of telling you what looks good on you. And I prioritize [giving smaller brands a chance]. I think it gives the people that are being creative an opportunity to get stuff on people of my caliber and whatnot and then getting them a little bit of love as well.
Even with the recognizable stuff, you mentioned going to the gym and working out in Bape shorts totally by αccident. So true. I’Il get in the gym random times of the day so it’s just like, I was wearing them around the house. Put some basketball shoes on and it kind of just happened. If it’s a suit I would take good care of it, but if it’s just regular clothes or some brand I don’t really treat it like what it’s worth.
I may sleep in it or I may sit in the house in it all day and play Call of Duty wearing it. It’s not something that I’m trying to keep up with.
Do you have a favorite outfit or look that you put together for this previous season? Yeah, man. It was Pharrell’s brand, Human Made. It was the stripe-tan pants with the tan jacket and the white dress shirt. I loved that look. I had my guy Browne [Andrews, Russell’s stylist], put that fit together for me. And just kind of being different with it. So shouts out to him.