It's the Oklahoma Thunder guard’s ambitious, audacious, signature #whynot style that has earned the NBA MVP his newest honor

By Sharon Kanter
July 19, 2017 03:39 PM
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

Polka dot wide-leg pants paired with a matching top. Drawstring forest green pants. Unbuttoned silk shirts. Bleached-out denim tops. Head-to-toe camouflage. Black jeans with plaid knee patches. If there’s a crazy trend, Russell Westbrook has tried it — and it’s the Oklahoma Thunder guard’s ambitious, audacious, signature #whynot style that has earned this NBA MVP his newest honor, the top spot in Sports Illustrated’s second annual Fashionable 50 List.

Westbrook’s new triumph as the most fashionable athlete of the year is a title the 28-year-old Long Beach, California native is proud to take on. He does call himself the Fashion King, after all.

“I wear a combination of everything,” he says of his approach to style. “I go with what I’m feeling and with what looks good, regardless of how much it is. I want to show people across the world that you don’t always have to wear high-end. Whatever it is, you can still be fashionable.”

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When he learned of the accolade, he was thrilled. “It’s definitely an unbelievable blessing,” he said at the Sports Illustrated Fashionable 50 celebration in Los Angeles, adding that it honors one of the things he loves most about being an athlete. “Fashion is an unbelievable platform for athletes all across the world, to be able to express themselves in different ways.”

The list, which is available online now and is this week’s Sports Illustrated cover story, was developed by the team at SI and a panel of experts, including former NBA player Walt Clyde Frazier, athlete stylist Brandon Williams, yours truly, People deputy style director Sharon Kanter, and more.

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One of the reasons he’s number one is because of the fashion shows he so deliberately stages on his way to games. It’s like he’s on his own runway, except the runway is the trenches of an arena. He truly sees fashion everywhere. (See below for proof.)

So, who else made the list?

WBNA star Skylar Diggins-Smith, Carolina Panther’s football player Cam Netwon, American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland, soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo and more.

See the full list at or pick up the new issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands this week. 

With reporting by Abby Stern

Who do you think is the most fashionable athlete? Tell us in the comments below.