NEW YORK — For Andre Iguodala, it’s all about versatility.
Whether it’s on the court or at the post-game press conference, the shooting guard and small forward for the NBA champion Golden State Warriors has developed the skills to play well — and look good — in a variety of settings.
“If the game changes, I don’t have to come out of the game,” he said during a Coffee & Conversation hosted by WWD on Monday morning, a day after the Warriors blew out the New York Knicks, 116-95. “And I translate that to fashion.”
So whether it’s one of his 300 pairs of sneakers mixed with tapered ath-leisure wear, or a custom-made Ralph Lauren Purple Label suit, Iguodala is comfortable.
His love affair with fashion started at a young age, he told the gathering at the Andaz Hotel, when his mother made sure he and his brother were “well put together” for school, after-school games and church on Sunday. Every wardrobe had its distinct purpose. “She wanted my brother and I to dress well.
“And my mom is the reason I have a shoe problem today,” he added with a laugh. “She had a lot of shoes.”
His dad was also a dapper dresser, he said, whether he was wearing a suit or athletic wear.
It was that diversity that Iguodala took to heart at an early age and it still shines through today. “Fashion means expressing myself and shows who I really am.”
It also impacts his choice of fashion brands. “Ralph Lauren has four or five different lines and I can wear them all,” he said.
In addition to Ralph Lauren, his favorite brands include Rochambeau, with whom he had a collaboration for joggers and other athletic wear; Simon Spurr; Public School, and Daniel Patrick. “And I always go back to Purple Label.” In terms of shoes, he’s a self-admitted sneakerhead, saying “that’s where fashion and sports come together.”
In fact, he has an entire closet in his home devoted to shoes, where lights from the rear illuminate his choices. On the sneaker front, he’s most partial to Michael Jordans, and said he admires his fellow athlete because he is “able to connect to everybody with his shoes and has really changed how young people look at fashion.”
As far as dress shoes, he likes Ferragamo, Del Toro, Saint Laurent and Balenciaga. And while Bally and John Lobb are also favorites, “they don’t make them in my size.”
That’s undoubtedly a problem for other NBA players as well. But like Iguodala, they have made it work.
Among his peers, he singled out Tyson Chandler and Russell Westbrook as among those he most admires for their personal style. “I would never wear his clothes,” he said of Westbrook, “but he sticks to himself.”
He said the NBA’s leading position as fashion trendsetters among the U.S.’ professional sports leagues started when the organization instituted a dress code in 2005 to “appeal to our fan base” and attract the “big dollars” of the corporations that support the teams. Although the requirements resulted in some pushback at the beginning, he said, players soon came around. “A lot of guys didn’t like that, but you have to adapt to change,” he said.
Dressing well transcends basketball, he said, pointing to Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton as a dapper dresser — although he wasn’t quite sure about the “painted on” patterned Versace pants he wore Sunday when he arrived in California for this weekend’s Super Bowl.
With most athletes, he said, dressing well is just part of creating their own brand — one that will take them places when their time in professional sports is done.
“They do it to help out their brand,” he said, “but they have to be careful not to get caught up in it.”
As far as his own post-NBA career is concerned, Iguodala said “planning on sticking around to continue to innovate and help larger men find clothes.”
He bristled at the label of “big and tall,” saying that should be abolished because not every guy who is tall is also big. He pointed to his experience as men’s style director for Twice, a resale site, as an avenue he’d like to explore further in the future. “My job was to get men to enjoy buying clothes,” he said. He worked to get them to “appreciate a few staple pieces” and then branch out beyond those.
He’s also interested in getting more involved in the wearable tech space, sees a future designing a fashion line for tall men and also hinted at the development of a system that would allow people to know their sizing across multiple brands.