NBA players are pretty fashion-forward, at least in the context of professional athletics. Whereas baseball players still dress like 1995 and many football players consider jorts acceptable, the men of professional basketball seem to have heard of modern fashion and may even read magazines such as Gentleman's Quarterly and Esquire. They still require occasional visits from the fashion police, but they are not lost causes in need of a TV makeover show to set them on the right track.
New York Knicks big man Amar'e Stoudemire stands out among these basketball fashionistas. In just one season in New York, he has already worked with designer Rachel Roy and become a friend of Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. Now, he has plans to become a tastemaker of his own by way of a new website. From Mark DeCambre for the New York Post (via TBJ):
The 6-10 power forward has struck a deal to launch his own website at BigLeadSports.com, The Post has learned. The 28-year-old all-star will focus his site on sports and fashion.
Stoudemire is expected to provide exclusive content for Big Lead, which was formed as a sports blog nearly five years ago, in exchange for a revenue-sharing agreement and small equity stake in the company.
"This is definitely a great opportunity," Stoudemire, a popular nine-year NBA veteran, told The Post yesterday. Stoudemire is expected to try to boost fantasy basketball, which draws far fewer participants than fantasy baseball and football.
This site sounds like something along the lines of Jay-Z's Life and Times, although likely less flashy and expansive, and more focused on Stoudemire's chief passions of basketball and fashion. Big Lead Sports has a wide variety of sites in their network, so this partnership could be a good fit. Plus, their flagship site, The Big Lead, sometimes seems as interested in celebrities as in sports, so a domain that focuses on sports alongside a cultural pursuit won't seem out of place.
Since his arrival in New York, much has been made of Stoudemire's desire to gain an increased media presence, and the announcement of this venture suggests that he's on his way to accomplishing much of what he set out to do when he signed with the Knicks. On the court, Amar'e was about as successful as he was with the Suns, just in a clear starring role (at least up until the Knicks obtained Carmelo Anthony). If he'd performed in the same way for a team other than the Knicks, he'd still be a secondary star in the league. Now he's a media superstar.
You may think that's a minor gain in comparison to the chance to win an NBA championship. But that goal is dependent on luck and circumstances the likes of which are hard to predict. Amar'e went to New York and has already seen advances in his national profile. Along with the money, he got at least part of what he wanted in free agency. That's more than most players can say.