At a time when dressing sharp has become an important part of the game, it’s no surprise that athletes snagged four spots on GQ magazine’s “The 25 Most Stylish Men of 2012″ list. Three of those four sportsmen come from the NBA, cementing its status as the most style-conscious sports league. Fashion has become an added element of competition for NBA players. Off-court endeavors are often fashion-focused, with players vying for style points. Internships at fashion magazines, appearances during Fashion Week and instagramming photos of their designer threads are among their efforts to achieve sartorial recognition. Here’s a look at the athletes who made the cut.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a best-dressed list of males that did not include David Beckham and here he scored the #3 spot. This year the sports style icon expanded his fashion horizons. He released his own collection of body wear in collaboration with H&M. His superior style sense has already trickled down to his sons as well. It was recently announced that Romeo Beckham is the new face of the Burberry Spring/Summer 2013 campaign.
3. David Beckham
His sons dress better than plenty of grown men (see here and here), so it makes sense that the elder Beckham would still know a thing or two about looking good. The soccer player has been a style icon for years and based on the last twelve months, that title isn’t going away. Unlike years ago though, when the global star was burning through trends and hairstyles, 2012 saw Beckham master a more refined, gentlemanly look that every guy could learn from.
Tyson Chandler has quickly climbed the NBA style ranks and this year he was never far from the fashion spotlight. With his wife Kimberly in tow, he was a front row fixture at Fashion Week in New York, an experience that was chronicled in the December issue of Vogue magazine. After receiving some style advice from Anna Wintour, he also attended the Met Ball and was named to Vogue’s 2012 Met Gala Best Dressed list. With a style that is edgy and grabbing attention of the fashion elite, he landed in the #8 spot.
8. Tyson Chandler
While other athletes can’t sprint fast enough to the big-brand luxury houses, Chandler is happy to rock a steady diet of downtown favorites, from Rick Owens to Alexander Wang—and most importantly, pull it off. He knows his away around the more formal stuff, too, but when the Knicks big man is in his edgy element, he’s in a league of his own.
The other two NBA athletes on the list are a seasoned style pro and a fashion breakout. Dwyane Wade (#12) and Russell Westbrook (#24) competed on-court in the 2012 NBA Finals and off-court in the post-game style showdown. Wade continued to impress with his effortless style and ability to find novel ways to accessorize. Westbrook’s penchant for outrageously printed shirts and thick-rimmed specs made him one of the league’s newest style standouts.
12. Dwyane Wade
In a league where every big-name player believes himself a fashion plate, Wade is the rare exception: a man with great personal style who doesn’t beg for attention. The Miami superstar has a way of putting together sartorial getups with effortless flair (like the Heat!) and a lot of depth (uh, kind of like the Heat?).
24. Russell Westbrook
Westbrook may get flack for his more adventurous postgame looks, but the Thunder player isn’t just about loud prints. The man knows how clothes should fit, and we have to applaud any guy not afraid of working pattern into his wardrobe—even if he did not, as he claims, “invent wearing glasses.”