NBA style is heading to London.
The National Basketball Association said the Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers are set to play the league’s seventh regular-season game at The O2 arena on Jan. 12. The game marks both teams’ first trip to the U.K.
The Nuggets and Pacers don’t spark as much buzz as the current champs, the Cleveland Cavaliers led by LeBron James, or last year’s titleholders, the Golden State Warriors, which recently added Kevin Durant to its overachieving roster headed by Stephen Curry. But both the Nuggets and Pacers can boast plenty of swag.
Gary Harris, the Nuggets’ guard who made the announcement from the NBA’s European office in London on Thursday, schleps his gear in designer bags by MCM and Louis Vuitton.
While Danilo Gallinari, the Italian forward who led Denver in scoring last season with 19.5 points per game, usually covers his 6-foot, 10-inch frame with sweatshirts, teammate Kenneth Faried experiments with edgy streetwear like quilted biker jackets, distressed skinny jeans and T-shirts with shirttails.
On the Pacers’ side, Paul George dons teal-colored suits to the ESPYs when he’s not leading the Indianapolis-based franchise in points, prepping for this year’s Olympics or making the NBA All-Star lineup.
His new teammate, point guard Jeff Teague, doesn’t wilt from tattoos, bold prints and snug shirts that mold his biceps.
The timing of the competition doesn’t allow for the players to sit in the front row for the men’s fashion shows in London. Nor can they drop into Pitti Immagine Uomo, which is slated for Jan. 10 to 13 in Florence, Italy.
It certainly can help amplify the NBA’s reach in Europe and on social media. Already a proponent of bringing the athletes’ personalities to the forefront, NBA commissioner Adam Silver noted that almost 25 percent of the league’s players were born outside of the U.S.
Despite England’s recent vote to exit the European Union, the players can’t wait for the trip — if not for the court competition, then for the mini catwalk strut toward the locker rooms.
“I think it will be a great experience for us and the fans,” George said.