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Wednesday, June 26, 2002
Updated: June 27, 1:40 PM ET
Tailor-made for the NBA

By by Anne Marie Cruz
life


NEW YORK -- Orange jumpsuits. That's what Mike Dunleavy Jr. was worrying about almost exactly three years ago. He and a buddy wanted to go to his senior prom dressed like Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels in Dumb & Dumber, minus the bowl haircuts.

But this is the day of the NBA draft -- not exactly Farrelly Brothers time.

Mike Dunleavy Jr.
An orange jumpsuit might be a nice change of pace Wednesday night.

So now the soon-to-be ex-Dookie is plumbing the selection of dress shirts at Rochester Big & Tall, right around the corner from the Sheraton in midtown Manhattan, where all the draftees are staying. Mike Dunleavy Sr. is consulting one of the stylists about pressing the shirts in time for his son's 5:30 p.m. bus ride to Madison Square Garden. Dad put in an emergency call last Friday to his suitmaker Cary Mitchell, the tailor responsible for the sartorial splendor of Tiger Woods, and the draft day looks of Jay Willliams, Qyntel Woods, Kareem Rush, Caron Butler and Chris Wilcox.

But right now, Mike Jr. is only too happy to reminisce about orange jumpsuits. "My friend and I actually went to a rental place to try some on," he says, grinning at the memory. "But he was a football player, so he was big." He demonstrates by broadening his shoulders. "And I'm tall, so they didn't have our sizes. We went with more traditional suits. But we still had fun."

Meanwhile his mother, Emily, just stares wide-eyed as her son riffles through an assortment of ties. "I can't believe we're doing this already," she admits. "Wasn't his senior prom just yesterday?"

Watching her son experiment with different combos, trying on the trappings of the NBA lifestyle, is only stressing her out. She corrals the rest of the Dunleavy crew for a stress-relieving trip to Barney's fashion emporium. "My husband's a clothes horse," she says. "They'll be fine by themselves."

Even though suits normally take four weeks to create, Mitchell managed to drum up two suits -- a pewter-colored number for the press conference, and a tan one for the draft -- based on measurements he got from Mike Jr. before the season last fall.

"Which tie do you like?" Mike Sr. asks his son. Mike Jr. pulls up a silverish tie with a diagonal pattern. Dad immediately nixes it. "When you're on TV, things show up differently. That tie won't look good."

Mike Jr. nods. "It's a whole different ballgame now, huh?" They settle on a simpler, light blue pattern and head down the escalator to the shoe department.

"I just decided to do this last week, so I'm so far behind," Mike says, placing his tennis shoes neatly beside his chair, as he tries on a pair of size 15 tan dress shoes. Once his feet are tightly laced in, he stands up. Mike Sr. examines his son's reaction. "I'm ready to go bowling now," says Dunleavy with a smirk. They'll have to find shoes elsewhere.

"I can't believe I'm going to have to start spending my own money," Mike Jr. says as his dad heads to the counter, credit card in hand. I tell him that'll change when David Stern calls his name. He nods.

"Did you know that Cary Mitchell is Tiger Woods' tailor, too?" I ask.

"Really? Even for tournaments?" Mike Jr. says, clearly impressed. "It makes sense. You can tell, because these suits are easy-fitting."

I ask him if he's thinking, "I have the same tailor as Tiger Woods. Yee-uh."

Dunleavy looks away and shakes his head, grimacing in a way that seems to dismiss any sense of awe.

Then he looks up and smiles. "That I even have a tailor is funny to me."

E-mail Anne Marie Cruz at anne.marie.cruz@espnmag.com.