The Worst NBA Draft Day Outfits Of All Time

NBA Players have gotten stylish, but that wasn’t always the case.

1. Tim Thomas

Year: 1997

To say that Tim Thomas’ suit was too big for him, would be like saying that Topanga Lawrence was too hot for Corey Matthews. It’s true, but it doesn’t begin to get at the bigger (heh) issues at play here. It’s hard to tell from this photo, but the shirt he’s wearing is metallic gray and short sleeved. This may be one explanation for the pained look on his face. That very well could be the look of someone realizing that they look like an ass on national TV. It also might be the look of someone realizing they’re headed to New Jersey.

Possible Explanation: Tim Thomas went to the tailor to get measured for this suit, but the tailor lost the measurements. So he had to eyeball it based on what he remembered of Thomas. When you’re a regular sized guy like our tailor friend, the difference between 6’10” (which Thomas is) and 7’2” (which this suit looks made for), doesn’t seem all that large.

2. Erick Dampier

Year: 1996

Ah Mr. Dampier. Before becoming a contractual albatross around the neck of almsot every franchise who has had the (mis)fortune of paying your salary, you were just a big goofy kid wearing a fuschia suit, checked pants and one of those weird shirts that people in the ’90s thought were cool. Simpler times.

Possible Explanation: This was originally a white suit, but on the day of the draft Erick spilled some fuschia Kool-Aid on it. Without time to buy a new jacket, he just made more Kool-Aid and dyed the rest of the suit. You know, like that Mentos commercial only with less benches.

3. Samaki Walker

Year: 1996

LOOK AT SAMAKI WALKER’S HAT.

Possible Explanation: I have it on good authority that Samaki Walker is a time traveller from the 1920s. He had originally come forward to try to find the solution to prohibition, but along the way discovered that he was somewhat athletic. After the 2006 season, it is said that Walker began playing internationally, but anyone who is anyone knows that he traveled back to his own time bringing the game of basketball and a bunch of booze.

4. Larry Johnson

Year: 1991

This shirt is one of the greatest things humanity has ever created. I mean sure it looks like multi-colored diarrhea, but if it can turn the badass, number one pick of the NBA draft into the bartender at a luau, then it has some serious power.

Possible Explanation: Larry Johnson had just come from bartending at a luau.

5. Drew Gooden

Year: 2002

You’ll never be able to convince me that Drew Gooden knows how to button buttons. This is a man who once grew a soul patch on the back of his (otherwise) bald head. He needed a zipper and this was the only way to hide it. Period.

Possible Explanation: It’s also possible that he made this himself. It might be two sewn together bed sheets. This will require further exploration.

6. Jalen Rose

Year: 1994

This suit just goes to show that Jalen Rose has always been about finding a way to “give the people what they want.” It’s loud. It has colored pinstripes. The tie has a ridiculous design on it. It’s everything we expect from bad NBA Draft fashion. Thank you Jalen.

Possible Explanation: This suit would have been secretly awesome in a Zoot Suit-sort of way had Jalen had the right tie. And Jalen did. But then he realized that he would go down in NBA Draft fashion history if he chose the most absurd tie possible to pair with the outfit. And he was right on all counts.

7. Peja Stojakovic

Year: 1996

That’s a corduroy suit. Peja is hilariously bizarre. QED.

Possible Explanation: In Serbia a blue corduroy suit is the award for the player who was the best three-point shooter that year. Peja’s closet is all blue corduroy suits.

8. Gheorghe Mureșan

Year: 1993

This is really just an example of a suit/shirt/tie combo being all kinds of crazy. You have a white shirt with thick blue, green, and gold stripes. You have a gold tie. And a gold suit. Just because all three have the word gold in their descriptions does not mean they go together. Bonus points for the pink background really bringing out the hideous.

Possible Explanation: It’s unfair to make fun of Muresan for this. These were literally the only three items in the store that fit him.

9. Chuck Person

Year: 1986

Person (center) is rocking a white tux with a pink bowtie. This is great, because you can’t blame the era on this one. A lot of these are products of fashion’s constantly changing face. Not this one. At no point in our country’s history was a white tuxedo with a pink tie seen as a hot or stylish thing to do. Chuck Person tried to make that happen. He failed, but the man deserves a holiday for the attempt.

Possible Explanation: The tuxedo rental place got Chuck confused with another tall black guy who was going to homecoming that week. Turns out Chuck’s laid back, so he just rolled with it.

10. Robert Horry

Year: 1992

Big Shot Bob (It needs the alliteration Rob. I don’t care what you say!) is another victim of the ’90s. The suit isn’t so bad, but the tie? Oof. It’s a good thing he could hit jumpers late in games.

Possible Explanations: Either Robert’s surprisingly crafty and cut up Larry Johnson’s shirt to make his own tie (see #4), or this tie was given to him by the same witch that gave him the ability to make any jump shot in a pressured situation. The only condition of her magical gift is that he wear this tie on draft night. I’ve heard Robert’s still not sure it was worth it.

11. LeBron James

Year: 2003

What is with the white suits? Whenever I see a white suit, I see a guy saying “Hey Jack, I’m better at eating and drinking than you are. See? I can wear this suit and not spill a drop of anything on it.” It’s cocky. It’s rude. And to be honest, it really hurts my feelings.

Possible Explanation: None. This is just before LeBron got a stylist.

12. Steve Nash

Year: 1996

Another ridiculous tie, but this photo gets bonus points for Steve’s awesome expression. It’s like he’s posing for an employee of the month photo at a high end sporting goods store.

Possibile Explanation: The fact that he’s Canadian? Do they like ridiculous ties in Canada?

13. Joakim Noah

Year: 2007

I think Joakim Noah’s Draft attire is often unfairly maligned. Was it crazy then? Sure. But now, in the time of Kevin Durant’s backpack, Russ Westbrook’s shirts, and James Harden’s… uh… whole thing, it doesn’t look so bad.

Possible Explanation: Joakim Noah’s just a weird dude. That’s the explanation for everything he does.

14. Hakeem Olajuwon

Year: 1984

Hakeem is a classy man. He showed up to the Draft trying to class it up. He had no idea David Stern’s mustache would be there to sabotage his attempt. All-in-all still a nice try.

Possible Explanation: Hakeem Olajuwon wasn’t sure if he was going to be drafted or made ambassador to his native Nigeria, so he dressed for both. In his defense all white people over here just look like short David Stern to Hakeem.

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