The NBA draft is a moment many talented prospects dream of their entire lives, from preparing for team-focused workouts down to the attire they will don on the night of the draft. Many players typically seek tailored suits, and some make a resounding statement, for better or for worse. With 2022 No. 1 pick Paolo Banchero receiving mixed reviews on his purple suit Thursday night, we decided to sift through some of the most memorable suits from draft night throughout the years.
Samaki Walker, 1996
The No. 9 pick in the 1996 draft made a statement with a cream-colored suit and matching bowler hat. Over a quarter century later, Walker’s suit is still discussed as one of the most memorable suits in draft history. Walker was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers 2002 championship team and enjoyed a 15-year NBA career with six different teams.
LeBron James, 2003
The all-white oversized suit James wore in 2003 was one of the most memorable draft suits of all time. James was the No. 1 overall pick and even late NBA commissioner David Stern even tried to wear James’ pristine blazer. The suit could hardly match the hype James received as the “Chosen One,” but the four-time champion’s attire on draft night set the stage for a Hall of Fame career.
Jalen Rose, 1994
Rose’s suit is heralded as one of the draft’s most memorable, as the 13th pick in 1994 wore a loud red suit with white pinstripes. The former Michigan “Fab Five” member enjoyed a 13-year career in which he earned the 2000 Most Improved Player Award and averaged 23 points in the 2000 NBA Finals. He is lauded now for his razor-sharp haircuts and precisely cut suits as an NBA analyst on ESPN.
Drew Gooden, 2002
Gooden’s choice of suit is heralded as one of the most unique worn on draft day. The No. 4 pick in the 2002 draft wore a beige suit that featured a buttonless look to fit his six-foot-ten frame. He also donned a white-collar shirt with a gold tie to bring the whole ensemble together. The former Kansas star played 14 seasons in the NBA with multiple teams.
Kelly Oubre Jr., 2015
Oubre introduced his one-of-a-kind fashion sense to NBA viewers with a wine-colored shantung silk suit. The self-proclaimed “Wave Papi” took his outfit up a notch with wide-rimmed personality glasses and gold embellished Christian Louboutin shoes. Since being the 15th pick in the 2015 draft, Oubre’s style has been closely followed by media markets, as many have applauded his creativity and execution to rock the most unpopular outfits.
Bol Bol, 2019
Not man 7-2 athletes could pull off the style Bol Bol displayed during the 2019 draft. Bol rocked a black turtleneck under a double-breasted suit with spider web detailing across his left shoulder. He revealed that his outfit was designed by hip hop star Young Thug’s brand “Spider.” He has flashed the ability to thrive in the NBA with his unique skillset of agility and quickness. While his suit may have been basic, it was one of the most unique outfits worn on draft night.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, 2018
Gilgeous-Alexander turned heads with his abstract choice of suit in 2018. The Canadian wore a light olive brocade colored suit with floral patterning surrounding the suit. He didn’t stop there. The suit was tailored to his muscular frame and even showed the public that he wasn’t wearing socks with his all-black low-cut dress shoes.
Darius Garland, 2019
Garland didn’t let his abbreviated career at Vanderbilt keep him from making a statement on draft night. He wore a nehru-collared white button shirt with a ecru Kimono. The explosive guard is coming off of his first All-Star appearance and led the Cleveland Cavaliers to 44 victories.
Tyrese Haliburton, 2020
Haliburton went with a floral explosion, with hints of meaningful expressions embroidered inside of his light-colored blazer. The Indiana Pacers guard had “Black Lives Matter” written on the left side and “920 to the League” on the right side to represent his Wisconsin roots. Haliburton’s bright suit caught the attention of the masses and is among the most memorable worn on draft night.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, 2019
Alexander-Walker is the cousin of Gilgeous-Alexander, and it’s easy to see that flare runs in the family. Alexander-Walker wore a grey snakeskin tailored suit with a white-collared shirt. He even added a little spice to his outfit with a Western-inspired Bolo tie. Similar to his cousin, he did not wear socks with his sleek black shoes.
Jalen Green, 2021
Whether he’s going to the draft or starring in the “Rock With You” music video, Green turned heads with his silver pinstripe suit. Green has been known for his acute fashion sense, and he set a precedent during draft night in 2021. His fashion sense almost matches his court sense. He caught fire in the last month of the season, averaging 22.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists and taking home Western Conference rookie of the month honors for March.
Andrew Wiggins, 2014
Wiggins came to the 2014 draft looking as confident as if he knew he was going to be the No. 1 player off the board. The 6-8 forward wore an all-black suit with a blazer that cannot be forgotten, featuring white rose floral patterns to go along with a shawl collar. The former Kansas star was recently crowned an NBA champion with the Golden State Warriors.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NBA draft fashion: Most memorable suits in draft history
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