The gents who make a living with the roundball these days – aka NBA basketball players – tend to be a mixed bunch when it comes to fashion and style and often despite buying some very expensive stuff many don’t quite get it right. However, there are some who notably do. . New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire is so into high fashion that he has his own clothing line sold in high end department stores only and has also appeared in his own spreads in Vogue. LeBron James does a nice job with his casual, preppy (but always expensive) look as does his teammate Dwayne Wade. But none of them can really hold a candle to the NBA’s original style icon Walt “Clyde” Frazier.
When Walt Frazier came to the New York Knicks as a rookie out of Southern Illinois University in 1967 the New York media realized right away that this Atlanta boy was a different kind of NBA star. He wore a fedora very similar to the one Warren Beatty wore in “Bonnie and Clyde” almost all the time when he was not in uniform and on the court – hence the nickname – and as soon as the money started rolling in Walt “Clyde” really began to turn on the style.
Through the New York Knicks glory days of the late sixties and early seventies – which brought the team their only two NBA titles in franchise history in 1970 and 1973 – Walt was a star on the court but just as well known for his style off it. Years later he admitted that he spent half of his rookie $10,000 salary on his clothes.
By 1970 he had become a bonafide NBA star (with a paycheck that befit his status) and he was arriving at games in his customized Rolls Royce
and all of his offcourt footwear was handmade and usually crafted from exotic animal skins ( mantaray is his favorite, with alligator a close second) His suits were always impeccably tailored, if rather loud and his had a great fondness for capes.
At 67 Walt “Clyde” Frazier is still with the Knicks – he has been color commentator for the MSG network for over twenty years now and he is also still a style icon. The shoes are still made from exotic animal skins and all of his suits are still handmade to his very specific requirements by New York tailor Mohans and even his ties are custom crafted. People with no interest in basketball tune in to MSG game broadcasts just to see what “Clyde” is wearing and the new crop of young Knicks are happy to admit that they seek out Frazier as much for his opinion about their clothes as they do for his verdict on their game. Walt “Clyde” Frazier is in the Basketball Hall of Fame of course but he is also a true style icon for the ages.