PJ Tucker at fittings on 5th avenue.

PJ Tucker is excited about men’s fashion weeks. The Houston Rockets forward boarded a flight to Europe on Thursday evening for his second Milan Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week, and this time, plans to do things his way.

“When you’re at fashion week, you want to go to every single show and you get burned out like that, so this year I’m being selective and doing the ones I want to do and have some fun.” He expects to attend Versace, Neil Barrett, Valentino, Off-White, Heron Preston and Raf Simons.

Tucker has a lot of fun with fashion, which he described as his “hobby” while shopping at the Versace Fifth Avenue store in New York City on Thursday in a white knit with split-side seams, olive pants with a tapered ankle and matching fedora. He also stopped by the Valentino store to pick up a red monochrome ensemble from the pre-fall 2019 collection and hit Stadium Goods in the evening.

Tucker with Valentino designer Pierpaolo Piccioli.  Quentin O'Bear

The fashion bug bit the Raleigh, N.C.-native in the late Nineties when velour sweatsuits and jerseys were prevalent, but his time playing in Europe in the mid-2000s was more of a starting point for his present-day style. He names Fear of God as one of his favorite brands, isn’t opposed to shopping at Levi’s and Zara, and lists Tom Ford as one of his favorite designers. “I really dig Tom Ford,” he said. “It fits big dudes, but it’s the cleanest, most elegant-looking clothing ever.

“When I went to play in Europe in 2007, I really got into high fashion,” he said. Seeing older Italian gentlemen in brands like Brioni and Isaia, accessorizing “dope pocket squares, glasses and suede loafers” really stuck with Tucker. “That has always been my initiative, to do my own thing and take things that don’t really go together and put them together,” he explained. “Wear a tuxedo jacket with some track pants, whatever I feel like, whatever I think is dope.”

NBA and fashion fans keep a close eye on Tucker’s footwear and style when he walks through the arena tunnel with teammate and 2018 NBA MVP James Harden, who is also praised for his style, but Tucker’s buzz began seven years prior when he played for the Phoenix Suns.

“When I was in Phoenix, people started noticing and looking every day to see what I was wearing, but it never really affected me,” he confessed. “When you do this every day, it’s just something you do. Even in Europe I was getting dressed up for every single game. Nobody may be watching but it’s just me. It’s how I live and it’s how I move.

“I always tell people that he’s a stylist’s dream,” said Kesha McLeod, Tucker’s creative director. “He already has style and I think that’s the great thing about how we work and our synergy. It’s pretty much building it up from there and making other brands aware of what he’s doing, how he dresses and just putting him on a big stage.”

McLeod, who is the stylist for Harden, Serena Williams, Chris Bosh, La La Anthony, New York Yankees pitcher Dellin Betances and Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews, among others, describes Tucker as “the quintessential client” because he understands sewing, draping, suit alterations, and just “gets it.”

“He speaks the same language as a lot of stylists and designers, which is a rarity when working with any client,” she said. “You just have to be prepared working with him. He knows what he’s talking about so you should know as well.”

Tucker collaborated with designer Giuseppe Zanotti on a sneaker and Ovadia & Sons on a racing shirt with a Monaco Grand Prix poster-inspired print, and has plans for more collaborations in the near future.

“I’m trying to take it up a notch,” he said. “I’ve had some conversations with a few people. This year, I want to turn it up even more.”

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