Watch a big NBA game, and it's likely you'll see an old, gray-haired man in some of the craziest leather-heavy outfits you've ever encountered. His name is Jimmy Goldstein, and he is an inspiration. After making his fortune, Goldstein spends his money on the things that bring him pleasure, which more often than not involve NBA games and high fashion. He's living his own personal dream.
But where exactly did Goldstein's flamboyant sense of style come from? In a new interview with Steve Marsh for GQ, as part of a big feature on NBA style, Goldstein credits one of the league's all-time great bad boys for teaching him how to be comfortable with extremes:
GQ: So that was Dwayne Wade acting the villain.
Jimmy Goldstein: And I guess I'm somewhat the same way. But before we finish this interview, we have to give credit to Dennis Rodman. Dennis and I were friends since the time he was a rookie. And during the heyday of the Chicago Bulls, I would go to the Bulls play-off games and hang out with Dennis after the games. And I have to give Dennis credit for teaching me that there's no such thing as being too extreme. The further you take it, the more you shock people, the more they love you. That was inspiring to me.
GQ: There seems to be a difference between guys who really personalize their fashion and guys who are dressing to sort of fit in.
Jimmy Goldstein: Another player who was an exception to what was going on in the 70s and 80s was Dr. J. He had a huge afro. He would dress in a very hip way. And certainly, he was a standout in those days, when conformity was the rule. Now he's a conformist. And I've kidded him about that.
Rodman's style was certainly bold — that wedding dress will never be forgotten — although in recent years he's drifted towards a fairly familiar and outdated "rebel" look of embroidered jackets, almost like what you'd get if Johnny Depp created a collection for Ed Hardy. Yet, in his time, there was no player more extreme, so it makes total sense that Goldstein would have taken inspiration from him.
Of course, it's important to note that Goldstein only looked to Rodman for what he represented. The key to Goldstein's style is that he expresses the extremes of himself, not an external concept of what it means to be out there. His leather-heavy outfits from designers like Versace never come across as an attempt to be something he's not — he looks totally comfortable in what most people would consider pretty crazy clothing. It's that level of comfort in extremes that he learned from Rodman, not the ability to accessorize or the importance of fit.
It's an important point to consider, especially when you look at the icons of contemporary NBA fashion. Because, while Russell Westbrook doesn't necessarily look "better" than more traditionally fashionable stars like LeBron James and Kevin Durant, his bold shirts (which, yes, are often ugly) express the extremes of his personality in a way that other players choose not to. Westbrook challenges the public to accept him even when he's unsafe. It's a statement of personal intent, not just an attempt to look good.