Iconic Style: The Top 5 Most Stylish Pro Athletes of All Time
Think athletes don’t have style? Here are Jack Elway’s five most fashionable.
When we think about pro athletes, we think about their records, stats, and on-field performance; but how they dress off the field is nearly as important to their brand as their overall success rate.
Celebrity athletes have to look good on the red carpet – but relatively few have significantly altered our fashion perspective. Here are five sports legends who changed the game… of style.
When you think of old-timey baseball, Babe Ruth might be the first player that comes to mind, and for good reason. This record-breaking, greatest-of-all-time player (one of the sport’s greatest hitters and greatest pitchers) was the epitome of Jazz Age excess. In an era when everyone was trying to out-drink, out-party, and out-dress each other, Babe Ruth managed to accomplish all three with flying colors and still deliver at the plate. He wasn’t the handsomest of men, but he still single-handedly made baseball sexy. That takes serious style.
”Broadway Joe” was so unquestionably rugged and cool he could appear on national TV wearing pantyhose without anyone batting an eyelid. A Pro Football Hall of Famer, Namath opened his own swank nightclub, guest-hosted The Tonight Show, and flamboyantly wore full-length fur coats on the sidelines, while his teammates wore NFL-sanctioned sports apparel.
Whether it’s on the court, on the red carpet, or in the world of international diplomacy, Dennis Rodman marches to the beat of his own drum. Known as much for his peacock-like attire as being a part of the legendary 95-96 Chicago Bulls era, Rodman was the first to bring the punk aesthetic to the NBA.
The greatest basketball player of all time always makes bold and interesting (if not always wholly successful) style choices, but it’s his shoe line that has helped launch him into the style pantheon. Air Jordan has been an iconic brand for more than 30 years; no other athletic shoe line even comes close. Even though some may sneer at MJ’s sartorial choices, he’s probably the biggest style influencer in the history of professional sports.
David Beckham got a pass for being a pretty boy because he crushed it on the field; before him, soccer/futbol players weren’t exactly known for being red carpet-ready. Beckham injected a badly-needed dose of elegance into a rough sport – previously known more for brawling in the stands than for having a sense of panache. He’s fearless when it comes to style, and manages to pull off some looks that are close to absurd. Even his biggest fashion fails – like the notorious 1998 sarong – are pretty awesome.
Honorable Mention: The Coaches
Sid Gilman: Known as the architect of the modern game, Sid Gilman did more than sit at the top of the famous coaching tree; he looked great doing it.
Tom Landry: With his well-tailored suits and trademark fedora, Landry looked every inch the suave leader.
Pat Riley: Slick, streamlined, and smooth, Riley was a dapper guy who added to the glamour of the already glittering Los Angeles Lakers.
Check back for more insights, tips, and trends from Jack Elway.