Like Pants on a Bull

On the court, LeBron James led the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first-ever championship.

Off the court, he coordinated the same group to produce an album’s worth of squad shots, showcasing game-day stylings and locker room cohesion.

We could be quick to dismiss these snaps as premium fuel feeding the already raging narcissistic beast that is social media, but the role of fashion on the road to championship glory deserves, at a minimum, some degree of blog-babbling acknowledgement.

History and Russell Westbrook have shown, however, that isolated individual brilliance, either with the ball or with your wardrobe, is not necessarily a recipe for success.

For the 2016 Cavs, the diversity of personal styles was embraced and promoted, with LeBron a firm believer that this further strengthened a sense of brotherhood amongst the playing group. It probably did, because they won the whole thing.

From Delly’s no-nonsense attire to J.R. Smith’s lack thereof, each player’s look was celebrated or mocked, maligned or ignored.

Even LeBron’s parting shot to the 73-9 Warriors was discharged (allegedly unintentionally) from a T-shirt.

But long before Richard Jefferson’s Snapchat was elevated to Great Library of Alexandria status, another highly successful squad leveraged the mysterious power of fashion to finally bring a hard-won championship to a city craving success.

Like the Cavs, the early ’90s Bulls were led by a demigod ably supported by a willing and supremely talented sidekick (sidekicks if you consider how good Horace Grant was). Unlike the Cavs, it was the Bulls’ uniform approach to fashion that provided the required edge to overcome their formidable postseason foes.

The uniformity we allude to relates to leg wear, specifically the popular brightly coloured, pattern-rich pants of the era.The Bulls (particularly their stars) loved these pants, and it was this common affinity for pseudo-pyjamas that forged ride-or-die relationships and helped everyone forget about the times Mike wanted to torment/punch them.

To illustrate, here are some wonderful examples from that period. With just a glance, you can sense, innately, that these trousers are imbued with supernatural performance- and bromance-enhancing qualities.

Michael Jordan

Scottie Pippen

Horace Grant

Pippen and GrantCliff Levingston

Bill Cartwright

Cartwright and GrantAnd you wanna know how they repeated the three-peat? Here’s Mike circa ’96 with the same get-up.

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