Changing a whole cultural outlook with nothing but your personality, grit and style seems impossible and for some even unfathomable. But here’s where “The Answer” comes in. This could very well be marked as the beginning and the integration of streetwear in the sports world. Believe it or not, cornrows, baggy clothes, gold chains and a negligent attitude was not well accepted in the NBA.
It is a well-known human feature to fear change, especially when it comes at such a fast pace. This is what happened on the NBA draft day in 1996. People were introduced to the likes of Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen and Steve Nash. All great players that were going to end up in the Hall of Fame for sure, but there was another player who gave a little bit more of himself than anybody would expect.
His name is Allen Iverson or known by his nickname “The Answer”. Coming in with his fierce and sort of thuggish attitude, he took the NBA by storm. With a flashy and exciting game on the court and a persistent way of carrying himself off the court.
He was the one to bring the streets home with him, showing up with baggy joggers, camo t-shirts, jerseys representing his hometown and his signature Reebok shoes, while others came in with plain suits, he was the one creating an outroar in the community. He showed everyone that being different wasn’t wrong, you can be real and true to yourself and to the backgrounds you came from. Everyone was trying to fit in a norm while he was creating one.
Allen Iverson & Nelly | Reebok Framed
He paved the way for many young people to express themselves and for many streetwear brands to sell products. The pioneer of streetwear inside a community that was trying so hard to keep a clean and stereotypical image. Iverson knew that, but he didn’t care, he just wanted to be himself implementing the streetwear and hip-hop culture in the league.
I don’t wanna be Michael Jordan. I don’t wanna be Magic. I don’t wanna be Bird or Isiah, I don’t wanna be any of those guys. When my career is over, I wanna look in the mirror and say I did it my way.
A powerful speech from Allen when asked if he wanted to be like all those other icons in the sport. He became most notable in the NBA thanks to his style and fashion choices although creating controversy around his name he managed to convert and inspire millions of people around the world with his daring clothing, signature shoes and “real” personality.
If anything can be taken out of this story is that streetwear isn’t always a choice, sometimes it chooses you rather than you choosing it. Without noticing Iverson changed a whole generation’s mindset on clothing based on his own persona. He wasn’t even trying and he did it. Showing that it’s quite possible for one person to achieve it.
His time is over and he is forever engraved in the culture of streetwear.
Now it's your turn!