NEW YORK — Challenging an NBA player to shoot a few hoops can be an exercise in frustration for ordinary people, but that didn’t stop dozens of fans from lining up at Saks Fifth Avenue’s Brookfield Place men’s store Tuesday night to face off against the New Orleans Pelican’s all-star Anthony Davis on a Pop-a-Shot machine.
Davis cheerfully took on all comers, offering tips to kids and effortlessly squaring off against investment bankers as he visited the store to promote the fourth edition of his Saks Fifth Avenue x Anthony Davis collection.
Davis, whose mother was an avid Saks shopper and encouraged him to work with the retailer to fulfill his fashion dreams, said he’s intimately involved in the creation of the line that Saks’ Tom Ott called “a melding of contemporary and ath-leisure.”
Davis, dressed in pieces from the collection, said although he knows his skills are better suited to a hardwood court than a sketch pad, he works closely with the store’s design team to create “what I like to see.” He added that he’s increasingly drawn to fashion and although he’s “not as deep in it” as some of his NBA counterparts, he’s working on it. “Anywhere I go, I like to look good and smell good,” he said. “I can probably talk fashion all day.”
He said that like any athlete, “I love wearing sweats, but I also love wearing suits — they’re the best things ever. And I love jeans, a shirt and a jacket. It all depends on the type of event I’m going to.”
At 6 feet, 10 inches, Davis said the only thing he can ever buy off-the-rack is a shirt, so his collaboration with Saks is even more important. “When you design your own clothes, you never have to go shopping again,” he said with a laugh.
Although he doesn’t rejoin his team officially until October, Davis said he’s still working out and will use the off-season to take in some movies — “Wonder Woman” and the new “Planet of the Apes” are tops on his list — and “play video games — I’m pretty boring.”
Ott, Saks’ senior vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s wear, said Davis’ collection, which is part of the retailer’s private brand offering, has been a win since being introduced two years ago. “Business has been terrific and the stores love the product,” he said. “It provides a more relevant and youthful portion to our private label and really differentiates our floors.”