Imagine you’re Zion Williamson. Imagine you’re the undisputed projected top pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Imagine your life is about to change in ways you probably have imagined, because you’re that damn good at basketball and you know it. Imagine you’re suiting up for the best night of your life.
You’d probably be conjuring the image of a fit so fire, it’s as indisputable as your future double-figure scoring average. You’d be thinking of the kind of look that, someday, will inspire thousands of #TBT posts reading “20 years ago today, Zion Williamson soaked the NBA Draft Red Carpet with swagger.” You’d think of not just a fit, but the fit. And you’d think LeBron James would have thought that way, too, when he was in Williamson’s position in 2003. But he didn’t.
Thankfully, in the year of our lord 2019. Zion Williamson, the next coming of James, nailed it. The future New Orleans Pelican showed up on Thursday night in an off-white shawl-collar tuxedo and corresponding tuxedo shirt, both perfectly fitted to his insanely jacked frame. His left wrist is dripping in gold. His bow-tie is M.I.A. His look is the best choice from a top prospect I’ve seen in more than a decade.
I’m certain that in 2003, LeBron James felt at least pretty sure that swimming in his all-white-everything tux was the right move—for the time. And honestly, he was probably half right about the choice—at the time. But Williamson’s laid-back take on a formal foundation is the perfect encapsulation of the most stylish elements of our current times.
We’re in the middle of a casual wave in menswear, from the Paris Fashion Week shows currently engulfing your Instagram Stories in flames to the decade-old T-Shirt I wore to an “important meeting” last week, the “rules” are currently taking a nice summer snooze. Even 2018’s Summer of Sleaze has evolved without reverting to anything close to buttoned-up.
Williamson’s look is anything but sleazy, but it is relaxed in the best ways. He’s used to rising to the occasion, and what he chose to wear on the biggest night of his life is just another way he’s shown us he’s able to do it. Let’s just hope his shoes don’t blow out on his way to shake Adam Silver’s hand.