Perhaps it has something to do with their work uniforms or their exorbitant salaries, but most male athletes love nothing more than a daring fashion look. And that concept was on full display at last night’s ESPYs, where there was a mix of traditional and experimental sartorial moments.
On the OG front was Russell Wilson, who depended on Tom Ford to deliver a classically fashionable statement, in the form of a velvet tuxedo jacket. Apologies for the pun, but the buttoned up look was a total touchdown. The same goes for skier Gus Kenworthy, who was inseparable from his boyfriend, actor Matthew Wilkas, on the red carpet. His contrasting white tux jacket and black trousers felt crisp and fresh—ideal for a hot summer night.
But we’re more interested in the players who strayed from the usual suiting rules. Take, for example, Mike Conley Jr., who donned a slim cream tuxedo, woven with a geometric print of blue circles. The look even garnered a dedicated story on Huffington Post, titled “The Most Talked-About Suit At The ESPYs Sure Was Something.” It was a risky look, but hey, at least it wasn’t a boring Brioni plaid suit (we’re looking at you, Michael Phelps).
However, some of the athletes’ fans didn’t seem to appreciate these creative suiting looks. Take, for example, the shimmering pink satin suit donned by Orlando Scandrick of the Dallas Cowboys, which was certainly a sartorial risk. His Instagram fans put his choice on blast. “[M]y dude, why you on the Red Carpet looking like Shrimp?” One commenter asked.
In response to the art deco printed blazer worn by Jay Ajayi of the Miami Dolphins, one fan admitted: “Jay I love you my man, buttt idk if I’m feelin that pattern.”
There were also a spade of athletes who opted not to go along with the whole black tie vibe. Russell Westbrook, who was crowned Best Male Athlete last night, merely slipped into a pair of green of sweatpants by Fear of God, plus a black short sleeve button down, and called it a night. Perhaps Westbrook is just settling into the early sleep deprived months of fatherhood; he and wife Nina Earl welcomed son Noah, in May.
Another member of the casual club was D’Angelo Russell, who wore a pair of jodhpur pants in a camo print, which were made by designer Waraire Boswell out of vintage army fatigues from the Belgian Congo. The repurposed pants were paired with sand colored desert boots and a t-shirt that showed off nearly half of the Brooklyn Nets player’s toned chest.
Male cleavage? That was another trend. Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan even made a joke onstage about his white shirt that was open enough to expose the top of his abs. “Excuse my shirt…It’s hot outside. I had to get some airflow,” he quipped. It certainly added a little character to his caramel colored suit, patterned pocket square and green suede loafers.
However, our best dressed accolade is reserved for Jarrius Robertson, the dapper 15-year-old who scooped up the Jimmy V Perseverance Award for his ongoing battle with biliary atresia, a rare kidney disease which he has been afflicted with since infancy. He also happens to be a Saints superfan and counts quite a few athletes as his friends, including Saints quarterback Drew Brees, running back Mark Ingram and defensive end Cameron Jordan. The hilarious and charismatic teen worn a printed tuxedo jacket, a black bow tie and accessorized it all with a sleek chain and some thick framed glasses. It was playful, dressy and it even showed off his stylish side.
Click through to see all of the good—and not so great—red carpet risks taken at the ESPYS.