Forget how the Houston Rockets are going to fit on the court, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and P.J. Tucker are going to be rocking heat all season.
After Russell Westbrook got traded to the Houston Rockets this offseason naturally everyone’s mind went to “how will he and James Harden coexist?” Which, sure that’s a major concern the Rockets should 100 percent figure out. However, what is far more exciting to think about is the level of style Westbrook, Harden and P.J. Tucker will be bringing to every Rockets game this season.
If you’re not ~hip~ to NBA fit pics, let me give you a beginner’s guide. First, you should definitely follow LeagueFits on Twitter and Instagram for all NBA and WNBA fashion. But for the uninitiated, just know that for the past few years NBA players have been using the tunnel walk into the arena on game days as their own personal runway.
Some teams — looking at you, Warriors — lack even a single fashion god on their roster, making their tunnel fit pics irrelevant. Others, like Houston, have a couple of guys who make pulling up to the arena a whole event.
Last season, the Rockets had a solid fashion trio of Tucker, Harden and Chris Paul, with P.J. acting as the undisputed drip god being the league’s sneaker king and all. All season the trio arrived at the Toyota Center in an array of styles from some of the most well-tailored suits around to Harden’s bandana-all-over look that made the meme rounds on Twitter. Some may call it ridiculous or pull out the latest clown gif to use in response, but most of these fits are truly unique looks that only the person wearing them could pull off.
As exciting as it was to see what heat Tucker was going to be bringing to the arena in the form of sneakers, that level will only be amplified to a greater level now that Westbrook — one of, if not the best, dressed player in the league — has joined the Rockets.
Say what you will about Westbrook’s play — he might not make the smartest decisions on the court, his 3-point shooting leaves a lot to be desired and there’s a legitimate debate to be had about him stat-padding to get those triple-doubles the last two seasons. He’s an imperfect player who could never will the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Western Conference Finals by himself.
That being said, Westbrook’s style and fashion icon status mixed with Tucker’s penchant for scoring the most exclusive sneakers, and Harden being uniquely himself, is undoubtedly the most exciting thing about the Rockets this upcoming season.
There will be tons of think pieces written about the first blown game the Rockets have, or how the locker room isn’t jelling with Westbrook. Houston could very well have a problem on their hands (I had to, sorry), but whatever negative media attention they receive this season, the overwhelming amount of style that will emanate from the post-game press conferences and game-day arrivals will at least offer a small distraction.
I don’t want to say that having the best-dressed team in the league won’t help the Rockets on the court, but I’m not not saying that either.
Taking LeagueFits 2019 All-Drip Team rankings into account, the Rockets now have two former MVP candidates on their roster, and no I’m not talking about the hardware Westbrook and Harden already have on their mantles. I’m talking about Westbrook and Tucker, two of the best-dressed players in the league who were both finalists for Drip MVP last season.
How does this help the Rockets on the court? Maybe it doesn’t, but Westbrook will be entering a locker room that isn’t fully “his” for the first time since Kevin Durant infamously left Oklahoma City for the tech capital of the country. It’s akin to being the new kid at school, except you’re transferring from a school where you were the big fish into a world where everyone wants to know how you’ll fit in with the already well-established culture.
My point? Westbrook, Harden and Tucker will have something that bonds them together. Yes, Westbrook and Harden have experience sharing the floor together, but that was 10 inches of Harden’s beard ago, in an era where neither of them had MVP trophies and were not “the man” of their team.
It can be the common denominator that brings them together through all the growing pains that this team will undoubtedly go through as the season wears on. It won’t be the key to unlock the Rockets’ success, but just imagine Westbrook, Harden and Tucker rolling up to the Toyota Center in coordinated outfits ready to destroy whatever opponent they’re taking on that night. Is it corny? Yes. Will it become a meme? Absolutely. But at least it signals that these guys are talking about more than just X’s and O’s.
After all the reports that came out after Durant left OKC stated that maybe Westbrook and Durant weren’t as close as we expected, perhaps Westbrook and Harden can use their affinity for fashion as a way to create a more than just work friends relationship. The Rockets have too much invested into this team as currently constructed for it to not work, so if it takes a couple hour-long conversations about the latest menswear fall line for this team to figure it out, then so be it.