It’s a little after 7 p.m. on a chilly January night at Patron of the New in New York, and Shabazz Muhammad is browsing the racks inside the posh Tribeca clothing boutique.
The 6-foot-6 guard, at this point a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, is dressed in a Balenciaga winter jacket, Fear of God track pants, a Vetements shirt and Vans x Fear of God shoes — just a few of the hottest brands in fashion at the moment.
The 25-year-old Muhammad wasn’t always fashion-forward, however. In fact, it wasn’t until high school that he became interested in fashion. When he was a kid growing up in Southern California, he struggled just to match his clothes, and his mom had to step in.
“I’d put something on and she’d be like, ‘It doesn’t match,'” Muhammad remembered. “And now I think I’m pretty good in doing that. It kind of runs in the family now.”
Muhammad was in town for a game against the Brooklyn Nets, and the below-freezing temperatures wouldn’t stop him from adding to his wardrobe.
NBA fashion has become a part of the game itself in recent years, and players flock to high-end brands and stores to look their best when caught on camera.
Just walking into an arena is like strutting down the runway these days. Those three minutes are photographed, shot on video and ingrained in the minds of NBA fans and fashionistas. It’s where players such as Russell Westbrook have made their mark in the fashion world.
But Muhammad doesn’t just dress to impress. His interest in fashion has expanded to taking part in fashion shows in New York, Paris and Milan.
Inside the store, Muhammad selected a few light jackets to try on, specifically a pink one. Muhammad said he goes for comfort over flash, but this jacket checked both boxes.
Shabazz Muhammad identifies Fear of God pieces he already owns, explaining why they are made so well for basketball players.
It would be a game-day jacket — probably one he would wear when the Timberwolves are on national TV. It’s a Fear of God piece, one of his favorite brands, and represented his laid-back style.
Muhammad counts Fear of God, Amiri, Off-White, Balenciaga and Palm Angels among his favorite clothing brands.
“When I’m looking for clothes, I look for the texture, because obviously, if you’re spending a good amount of money on the clothes, you want it to be comfortable,” Muhammad said.
As Muhammad waded through the racks, he denoted which items he already owned, including jackets, sweatpants and shorts.
Bazz Muhammad’s go-to style? Laid-back and comfortable.
It’s in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles where Muhammad has the most clothing options. It’s not that Minnesota, where Muhammad played for five years before joining the Milwaukee Bucks on March 4, is behind the times, but his fashion sense wasn’t recognized there as much.
“It’s kind of cool to explain to them how the clothes are and how you wear them, so I think it’s a pretty neat thing,” Muhammad said.
Muhammad cited social media as a driving factor in the rise of athletes joining forces with the fashion world, and he said that picking out his outfits is a form of expression for him: “I think it’s pretty cool when you try to style yourself and you get compliments on how cool your fit it.”
Early in his career, he would look to buy more clothes and spend more money. Now, he’s more selective and has a set budget on clothes. The most expensive piece of clothing in Muhammad’s closet is a $4,000 Saint Laurent jacket. The cheapest? T-shirts that are $200 to $300. Even his loungewear is in the upper-price range. He said he would rather get multiple pieces for a few thousand dollars rather than just one piece that costs a few thousand on its own.
“I think it’s really cool now that us basketball players and all athletes are really starting to dress [up],” Muhammad said, “because it’s something that you can talk about, and it’s really fun to go out and shop in your spare time.”