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Friday, June 25, 2004
Looking dapper at the NBA draft

By Ellen McGarrity
Special to Page 3

Joan Rivers would be proud.

I may not have been as charismatic -- or annoying -- as the red carpet diva, but I certainly got to mix and mingle with enough soon-to-be celebrities to satisfy even her (and thanks to the height "requirement," I have the crink in my neck to prove it).

Devin Harris
Looks like Devin Harris thought he was going to Chicago.
Don't be fooled, being on fashion duty at the NBA draft is hard work. Now, I know some of you are less concerned about about the outfits the draftees wore Thursday night, and more interested in what jersey they will when the 2004-05 NBA season kicks off.

Cary Mitchell, who designed suits for Dwight Howard, Emeka Okafor and other draft picks, would tell you otherwise.

"It's a special moment," Mitchell said. "You want people to see you on TV and say, 'Man, he really looks good in that.'"

I couldn't agree more.

Walking into the Garden (as in Madison Square), my first thought was: "Did I crash an all-boys high school graduation ceremony?" Then I realized that the group of bashful, camera-shy boys on stage posing for pre-show pictures were indeed the first-round draft picks.

Most of the young men were fidgeting; some looked like the last time they'd worn a suit was for the prom ... but I guess for more than a couple of these guys, that was only what, a month ago?

I went straight to the front of the action to start my crucial fashion evaluation. By the end of the night, much like the actual draft, some of these young hopefuls made the cut and some did not.

NBA Draft Fashion Review
For more fashion fodder, check out Dan Shanoff's 4th Annual NBA Draft Fashion Review.
So without further delay, in Usher-like style, these are my (fashion) confessions:

Best Dressed

1. Kirk Snyder: Could someone call the fire department? Because this young man was smokin' in a dark gray suit and light pink -- yeah, I said pink -- tie. Get with the program, people. This year, pink is the new black, just ask rapper Cam'ron. Kirk clearly embraced this fashion-forward move, even sported a pink stripe on the collar of his white shirt. Black alligator-skin shoes rounded out this classy look. The future Jazz player admitted to having some help pulling his look together. "I told (the designer) to make something that would win me best dressed," Snyder said. Kirk, you've got your wish.

Kirk Snyder
Kirk Snyder can make pink look good. But how about purple?
2. Devin Harris: When faced with this adorable guy, all I could think of was, "Awwww." I just wanted to give him a big hug. Not only was this baby-faced guy a certified cutie, but he set himself apart from the rest by being the only one to incorporate red into his outfit. "I picked red because I went to Wisconsin," noted Devin. Sorry Badgers, this guy is now moving on to Maverick blue.

3. Ben Gordon: Another man who's not afraid to think pink. This draftee's light gray suit had faint pink pinstripes to match his flamingo pink shirt and tie. "Yeah, I've gotta be crazy to wear pink, huh?" he joked during the press conference. No, Ben, keep doin' you; you're wearing it well. My only gripe: his red Bulls hat clashed with all the pleasant pink.

4. Josh Childress: At first he was embarrassed that he had forgotten the name of the woman who designed his suit. It's OK, Josh, you'll remember next time. The "nameless for now" woman was right on the money with her design, putting him in an elegant black suit and white shirt. The yellow-striped tie was an extra special twist, making his look go from bland to ballin'. But my real draw? His Ben Wallace-like hair. "My 'fro is a lot neater (than Ben's)," Josh said. "He's a real rugged type of guy. I'm a lot smoother." Josh fessed up that he trimmed his coif just for the special night. "I had to be able to get my hat over it," he explained. Perhaps one day fans with fear this 'fro, too.

5. Rafael Araujo: Who wears a tie with fish on it to the NBA draft? Maybe in Brazil -- Araujo's home country -- the salute to the Goldfish crackers is a sure-fire hit. "I don't know why I picked it," Rafael said. "I just thought it looked good with my suit." Riiiight ... because fish ties always look good with a suit. Rafael, I may not understand your logic, but your creativity amuses me.

Worst Dressed

1. Emeka Okafor: Honey, if this basketball thing doesn't turn out for you, Taye Diggs may be out of a job. This guy is no slouch in the looks department fine. He could have shown up in a toga and made my best-dressed list. Too bad he had to ruin it with his lack of fashion sense. There were horizontal stripes on his suit, diagonal stripes on his tie and boxes on his shirt -- way too many patterns. And designer Cary Mitchell revealed that he had to run out last-minute Thursday morning to buy Okafor a belt; he forgot to pack one. Next time Emeka, just stick with solids and let your face be the main attraction.

Emeka Okafor
Emeka Okafor's outfit should've been as solid as his game.
2. Shaun Livingston: One of my biggest pet peeves is when people wear clothes that are either too big or too tight. Shaun is guilty of violating the former. He was practically swimming in his black and white pinstriped suit. "A guy named Marcus [designed my suit]. He's trying to come up in the industry. He's from Chicago," Shaun explained. Note to Marcus: tailor-made means you actually have to tailor the suit to the player's body! Shaun redeemed himself slightly with his cool cornrows, reminiscent of Jermaine O'Neal. His fancy silver watch added more points, but with the diamond bling in is ear, Livingston looked more like a 15-year-old P.Diddy than the mature ball player.

3. Josh Smith: Mitchell, who designed Smith's suit, said his suits he used Italian wool that "feels like butter." Hmmm ... but are the suits supposed to look like butter, too? Smith's creamy suit dream was more of a nightmare. And it was a three-piece suit -- a big no-no in the summer. His father made the same mistake, wearing a nearly identical outfit.

4. Dwight Howard: Maybe he was the number one draft pick, but he was not at the top of our looking-good list. With a less traditional five-button suit coat and four-tiered white lapel, Dwight looked a he was rocking a straight jacket. But Dwight didn't get it all wrong. The fabric of the suit was a deep silky blue which "Magic"-ally matched his new team's colors. His mother Sheryl looked stunning in a light blue pant suit, silver shoes and a blue stone necklace. "We didn't try to coordinate," she revealed. "It was just a coincidence."

5. Jameer Nelson: Black suit, fine. White shirt, fine. Tie, all wrong. Instead of opting for a cool hint of color as Childress did, Nelson picked a gaudy, thickly-striped black, blue and white necktie. Honestly, it looked like the clip-on my brother wore to church when he was in elementary school. Maybe try lavender next time ... now that would have been a statement.

*Runner Up: ESPN's own Stu Scott. Fans watching on TV may have thought the anchor looked as suave as ever, but this engaging guy actually goofed with his past-the-knees suit coat. He may be the king of Two-Way, but this outfit was way-too over the top.