Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin didn’t let knee surgery stop him from recruiting Terrence J, Robbie Rogers and players from Hollywood and the fashion industry to join Team Griffin on Wednesday night.
Hiding a recovering knee under a royal blue suit from Ermenegildo Zegna’s made-to-measure service, the 6-foot, 10-inch-tall power forward proved to be a good sport in posing with fans and raising money for the Oklahoma basketball organization that helped give him a big boost toward his college and professional career.
Riding together in the elevator ascending to the top floor of Zegna’s store in Beverly Hills, a burgundy-suited Terrence J told him, “I’ve got to support my guy right here.”
Other guests decked out in Zegna on the balcony overlooking Rodeo Drive were Julian Morris, Mo McRae and Justice Smith. Stylist Jessica Paster and retailer Josh Peskowitz represented the fashion crowd, and the grade-school set had its proxy in an eight-year-old boy wearing braces and head-to-toe Nike-gear tinted Clippers colors. The kid didn’t hesitate to point to his hero while standing two feet away and yell to his dad, “He’s right there.”
Griffin was about the same age when he started dressing up in suits. “Whenever my dad would always have to dress up, I always wanted to dress exactly like him,” he said. “So I would try to throw on a suit when I was little-little. It was always something fun for me.”
Eventually, Griffin needed a suit when he was in college. He got one — for $10. “I bought a suit from a former friend of mine,” he said, “and now I have stepped up my suit game quite a bit.”
His older brother didn’t dispute that. He wore hand-me-downs “for a time until he outgrew them,” Taylor Griffin recalled. “He’s come a long way obviously.”
Ever since his agent bought him his first Zegna suit for the NBA draft in 2009, when the Clippers used their overall first pick to bring the slam-dunker to L.A., Griffin has acquired more than 10 suits. “I’ve always had my eye on Zegna suits and always loved their tailoring,” he said. With made to measure, he has a specific style strategy. “I always try to get those base colors, like the black and the gray and the tan and whatever, out of the way and then move from there to stuff that is a little bit more fun,” he said. As for the blue tint of his suit, he said it popped out at him.
Rogers from the L.A. Galaxy is also entranced with blue. The first collection for his clothing line, Hampton & Baker, is based on the jean jacket. Partnering with Warren Baker, who styles Rogers as well as young actors such as Miles Teller and Josh Dallas, he said they chose to focus on that particular item for their passion project because “we have the heritage of denim here in California.” So far, the spring collection has landed on the backs of actors like Alfie Allen from “Game of Thrones” and Matt Bomer from “American Horror Story,” who donned a white denim jacket on “Good Morning America.” “That was a good get,” he said.
Looking forward to fall, Rogers plans to add a bomber jacket and cropped peacoat. If it weren’t for the chance to play with the Galaxy, he would be studying design at the London College of Fashion. He finds the crossover between fashion and sports “interesting.”
“Some guys are really into it — David Beckham does it the best,” he said. “Some athletes can get carried away.” Case in point: the ESPY Awards, which are the Oscars of the sports world. “The ESPYs are the worst-dressed event,” he said. “Sometimes people get it, sometimes they don’t.”