Somewhere in Brooklyn, probably at a lo-fi bar in the Williamsburg neighborhood with local microbrews and small-batch bourbon flowing, a hipster is smiling, with appropriate irony.
NBA players not only have adopted wearing "nerd glasses," they also have commandeered the fashion trend that began years ago with hipsters and seeped into haute couture.
After Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder, all four players at the main dais wore glasses: Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade with serious black-rimmed ones, Russell Westbrook with his oversized, red-rimmed pair.
Sometimes there aren't even lenses in the frames.
Westbrook tried to take credit for bringing decorative eyewear to the NBA. "I've been wearing glasses since I've been in the league. I think everybody else just started wearing them now," he said Wednesday.
So he started this? "Hey, I ain't saying nothing, but I'm just saying," he said.
Or maybe credit filmmaker and NBA fan Spike Lee, who played big-glasses-wearing Mars Blackmon in She's Gotta Have It and Air Jordan commercials. "Spike Lee's been wearing glasses for a long time," Wade said. "I don't know if they're prescription or not. Trends, they come and go. With the nerd glasses in the NBA, it's just something fun to do right now. I'm sure next season it'll be out the window."
NBA fashion extends beyond the glasses, from Westbrook's wild, nautical-themed shirts to Wade's pink pants with accoutrements such as a pink finger bandage and pink-soled sneakers.
Wade joked that he was inspired by sports reporters. "I don't want to dress like y'all," he said.
He said he remembered his dad driving a delivery van and wearing a suit. "Just like everybody, we all have something that we like outside of what we do," said Wade, who has been to New York's Fashion Week and went to Fashion Week in Paris and Milan a year ago.
"I just put a little spin on it, you know, have a little fun with it. And over the course of time my tastes have changed and I take more risks."
Last summer in Europe, Wade ran into NBA superfan Jimmy Goldstein, a man comfortable with his own style. With his long, wiry gray hair, he is ubiquitous in the front row of playoff games, wearing leather pants, jacket, hat and boots.
Goldstein likes how NBA fashion has evolved. "I'm appreciative that these guys are getting more into the clothing part of fashion rather than jewelry," Goldstein told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. "I think it's on an upward swing right now for players and fashion. I'm all for individuality and coming up with something that's unique for yourself. I do the same thing."
David Leonard, associate professor at Washington State's Department of Critical Culture, Gender and Race Studies, says the fashion choices must be seen through the prism of the NBA's dress code, begun in 2005: "(In) the ways in which we are seeing players conform to the dress code while also asserting their own style and identity."
The dress code "reflects a particular anxiety that fans, the media and the league have had about what NBA players represent and questions about hip-hop and the way race is wrapped up in these discussions," Leonard said.
Westbrook boiled it down: "I've just got a style of my own, and I'm going to keep it that way."
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