At The Players’ Tribune, we know it’s not just what you wear on the field, but what you wear off of it. That’s why we’ve created Threads Report, a series where we ask our contributors to look inside their closets, suitcases, lockers and whatever else — and share some items they’ve had in heavy rotation.
Here with the latest Threads Report is Hornets guard (and Louboutins lover) Troy Daniels.
I’m really into designer sneakers, high-end sneakers: Balenciaga, Giuseppe, Christian Louboutin. What I like about high-end sneakers is that they’re so well made. I don’t wear them so people can look at me and go, “Nice shoes.” But at the same time, I like to collect quality things.
I’ll tell you how I got my first pair.
About two years ago, I was in Atlanta with James Harden — back when James and I were teammates on the Rockets. We were at the mall, and I saw this nice pair of shoes. I mean they were real nice. And I turned to James, and I said, “Hey James, you like these shoes?” And he said, “Yeah, those are fly.” I just couldn’t stop admiring them.
They were really expensive, though — and this was when I was brand new to the League, not yet established. So I didn’t have the kind of money where I could afford to buy that type of shoe. But I still kept looking at them, sizing them up, just, you know … taking them in. It was this aspirational thing.
And before I knew it, James looked at me and he went, “Hey man, throw them up there. Throw them up there on the counter.” And I asked him, “What? What do you mean?” And he was like, “Put them up there on the counter. I’ll get’em for you.” You might think that that sort of thing happens in the League all the time, but trust me, it doesn’t. James is one of the real ones. I was so appreciative.
I can afford nice shoes now, and that’s a blessing. But none of them — not even the ones I’ve bought for myself — mean as much to me as that first pair, from James. And the irony is, I don’t even wear those shoes now because the gesture meant more to me than wearing them ever would.
Expensive-Looking, but Not Expensive
When I’m putting together an outfit, I’m focused on one thing only: I want it to look nice. For a lot of people, an outfit “looking nice” is synonymous with it “costing a lot” — but I take pride in not being one of those people. It might look like I spend thousands and thousands of dollars on my clothes … but really, I don’t.
For example, I shop at H&M, which is very reasonable. A pair of jeans at H&M probably costs $30, maybe $20 if they’re on sale. But they look really high-end. You don’t look like you’re being cheap. And even more importantly: They look good on me. They’re a good fit. And that’s everything. For button-up shirts, it’s the same deal. My go-to for those is Zara. They look nice, but at a reasonable price point. That’s the sweet spot.
Francisco Garcia was a big guy for me, with that — just teaching me how to spend my money, and save my money. We used to have lots of talks. One year, he came over for Thanksgiving and we just got to talking. We’d sit there and talk for hours: about life in general, about life in the NBA — and specifically about life as a young guy in the NBA.
And one of the main things that Francisco always would stress with me is to save my money, because it doesn’t last forever. He kept telling me that, and kept telling me that, and kept telling me that … and then finally, going into my third year, I think it really started to stick with me. You’ve really got to be smart and preserve. Especially if you want to grow up, and have a family eventually, or any of that. We make great money in the league … but the league doesn’t last. A career can go by like that.
And fashion was one of the first areas of my life where I really got the hang of applying some of the advice Francisco gave me. I realized that I could spend my money smartly, and still look sharp. And to be honest, it’s like a game: When someone comes up to me and tells me my ‘fit is nice, and I know I only spent $100 total on it — that’s a win.
The Perfect Outfit
What’s the perfect Troy Daniels Outfit? I’mma give you two:
Option one is going to start with some tight blue jeans — never baggy. Sorry, that’s the rule. Maybe they’ll be ripped a little bit … with some nice Balenciaga sneakers, or my favorite pair of Christian Louboutins. And then I’ll pair that with a simple button-up shirt. As for my shirt color, I’m really basing that off of my shoes — whatever color my shoes are, that’s what I’m going to use as a reference point for my shirt. I want those two to complement each other.
For example, the Louboutins: They have spikes on the front, at the toe. Then on the sides they have a rainbow color, with a cloth type feel. And they’re red on the bottom. So if I went with the Louboutins, I’d throw on some blue jeans and, say, an all-white button-up. Roll those sleeves up. Put a nice watch on. Button that shirt all the way to the top. (Always to the top.) And then probably put two chains on, to make the whole thing pop a little bit.
And then for option two, I’m going to wear a fitted two-piece suit. Could be tailored, although it doesn’t have to be. I’ve done both. Tailor-made is nice, but I’ve also had a lot of luck with Express — if you get the right size, and are really deliberate about it, you can come pretty close to that tailored look. It’ll fit right.
As for the fit itself, personally I like it on the tight side. I want it to look slim, and like it was meant for my body — but I also want to feel comfortable in it. It’s a fine line. Color-wise, I’m into dark blues. Navy pants, navy jacket. Then a white shirt, which I’ll leave unbuttoned a bit. And maybe finish it off with some brown dress shoes. For those: Cole Haan is just fine. Don’t have to be no gators. Cole Haans will cost you about $100 in the store, and you’ll look plenty good.
You want to look like an NBA player, but you’re working with a budget? There you go. Those two outfits are the Troy Daniels Specials. Put those on and you’re basically in the league already. Now go work on your jumper.