GQ magazine has named its "Most Stylish Athlete of 2013" and, in a shocker, the title didn't go to the NBA's most notorious Capri pants aficionado or to the guy who often favors skin-tight leopard prints.
That's right, LeBron James beat out both Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook to take the top spot on the 20-person list, which included eight NBA players.
In his second year as the defending champion, LeBron has made good on his promise, silenced his critics, and now carries himself with the ease of a man who has nothing left to prove. And while his style remains polarizing, you can't deny it works. Whether it's his on-court tenacity or off-court kits, he goes hard both ways. Even his signature kicks have its dedicated devotees and detractors, but you know what they say: Haters gonna hate, but you can't fault the Heat.
The Knicks take home the unofficial "Most Stylish Team of 2013" award by placing three players (Tyson Chandler, Amar'e Stoudemire and J.R. Smith) on the list. Here's how the NBA players fared: James (1), Chandler (4), Wade (9), Westbrook (12), Stoudemire (14), Smith (15), Steve Nash (17) and Nick Young (19).
ESPN.com reported reaction from both James and Wade.
“What do I think about it? They got it right,” James said when asked about being selected for 2013. “[Wade] should be higher. D-Wade has great style, too. He's a lot different than I am, as far as style. But we take that very serious, man, to be able to clean up and look presentable anywhere we go.”
“He's No. 1 in a lot of areas in life, but that ain't it,” Wade cracked. “But congratulations to him -- and whoever he paid to get that. I've got to talk to my guys at GQ.”
This is the rare case where a James victory can be cast as an upset. Wade has been a GQ regular, his personal website has a whole section devoted to style, and he even launched his own line of bow ties. Westbrook, meanwhile, has generated an insane amount of buzz with his post-game outfits, he's admitted to being a shopaholic, and he put in plenty of hours at New York Fashion Week during the offseason. Both players, and Chandler, seem far more devoted to the craft than James.
MTV Style interviewed Rachel Johnson, James' stylist, about her client's tastes, which apparently run the gamut.
LeBron is extremely adventurous. He will try anything. Whether or not he actually will wear it is something else, but he's always been very open-minded about trying new things. That's what I love most about him. He'll look at it, he may not even love it on the rack, but he'll try it. And if he puts it on and he feels good in it, he'll wear it! And it goes not only based on things that I bring him, but he comes to me with ideas about new things that he wants to try, new silhouettes, new fabrics, new colors, new designers. He likes to be versatile, he likes to change it up. He likes to wear three-piece suits, and he likes to wear leather sweatpants and t-shirts, too. He likes to continue to evolve, and he likes his style to be a bit unexpected in terms of what he might wear.
Perhaps James' restraint is what helped put him over the top. "Stylish" doesn't necessarily mean "gaudy" or "eye-popping," and James has cultivated a classic look while occasionally mixing in some bolder options.
Check out some of his many looks from the last 12 months in the gallery below.