We knew what Nerlens Noel's suit would look like at the NBA draft. The former Kentucky star, picked sixth overall on Thursday night by the New Orleans Pelicans before being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, let fans vote on which look they liked the best.

But Noel still had one surprise up the sleeve of his (very expensive) Jhoanna Alba suit. After David Stern called his name, Noel opened his blazer to show a Kentucky jersey sewn into his jacket. The jersey was a No. 3, which Noel wore while he was at Kentucky.

It wasn't the smoothest night for Noel, whom many draft experts had pegged as the top overall pick, but he should definitely win some style points for this cool look.

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If there’s one thing NBA fans around the world can thank David Stern, who is participating in his last draft as the NBA commissioner Thursday night, it may be Dwyane Wade’s high water pants during the NBA playoffs.

The pants, which made a huge splash in the Heat’s series against Chicago, were part of a double-breasted suit with a polka dot pattern. They, of course, aren't high waters in the high fashion world -- they're "Thom Browne inspired pants."

But along with some other fashion choices, they were part of a fun side story throughout the Finals of "what in the world is D-Wade wearing?"

Wade's fashion choice was not completely out of the blue. After all, since 2005 when Stern, in an aim to change the league’s image instituted a dress code of no sleeveless shirts, certain types of jewelry, shorts, T-shirts and more, NBA players have gone from casually dressed to well-dressed to the age of insane clothing.

Though few have taken it as far as Wade, who embraced his fashion-forward controversy.

"Me and you got something in common; they like to talk about the way we dress," he told a plaid-suited sideline reporter Craig Sager after the game.

"You like it?" Sager responded.

Wade smiled.

"I love it."

Somewhere in Florida, his stylist, Caylann Barnett, smiled.

***

Eight years ago when Stern instituted a dress code that may define a small part of his legacy and have a lasting effect on the fashion world as a whole, few expected such a complete shift.

At the time, when the dress code came down, remembers Wally Szczerbiak, a former player who now works for the CBS Sports Network and MSG Network, the locker room was mixed between players annoyed by the ruling and those who were ready to embrace a more sophisticated look. For his part, he was forced to ditch his dressier game day jeans for slacks and have a few more suits incorporated into his wardrobe.

The change, he remembers, seemed to happen overnight thanks in large part to the younger guys.

“I remember a lot of the rookies coming in,” he said. “It seems like they all got hooked up with fashion guys and had to dress well from the start (instead of before) where the younger guys usually dressed like college kids from the beginning.”

Players were suddenly calling to have custom suits made (after all at the size of many NBA players, anything but custom isn't really an option). And perhaps equally as importantly, a wave of highly visible stylists from Rachel Johnson (who styles Amar’e Stoudemire among others) to Khalilah Beavers (formerly Williams-Webb) became as much of a part of NBA culture as large beers in the stands.

"That rule that they put in place for us it's been great," said Beavers, who styles Carmelo Anthony, Brandon Bass and J.R. Smith. “It was something that at the end of the day, the NBA is a career so I think it put things in perspective for them to say ‘let’s take things a little bit more seriously.'"

Beavers said Anthony alone has evolved in his style in the years he's been working with her, as he's grown from a player in Denver with braids who wore baggier clothes to a Knicks superstar. He now favors printed sweaters in bright colors, fitted hats and closer-cropped hair.

"I think it was a combination of things," she said of her client's change. "I think he was just ready it was a time in his life when it was time to grow and grow in a different direction, he was ready to embrace style he was ready to embrace a new look. I’m sure (his wife) LaLa had a big influence on him changing his style, I think the NBA mandate (factored in), I think it was a combination of things.”

For Beavers herself, her work with NBA players on their higher fashion look has propelled her own name into the spotlight, enough that she has opened her own boutique in Brooklyn, New York and is on speed dial for gossip columnists and fashion bloggers wanting to know exactly what her clients are wearing.

The new look of NBA players inspired by Stern’s dress code has also trickled down to high school players, says Stu Vetter, the former coach at Montrose Christian Academy, which has produced players like Greivis Vasquez and Kevin Durant. Vetter, who said he has always required his players to wear suits on game days, said after the mandate changed the way NBA players dressed, his players began to warm up to the idea.

"Suddenly they started asking for nice suits for Christmas," he said, laughing.

As for Wade’s evolving look, Beavers says she often calls Wade's stylist, to ask what exactly the two of them were thinking with whatever headline-making look Wade appeared in that day.

The two, after all, started their careers together, though their star clients have gone in seemingly different fashion directions.

“Once she explains it to me, I understand,” she says of Wade’s looks. "But they love it. They love what they come up with.”

While it may seem to be a trivial thing -- after all it didn't have the same immediate impact as a lockout or change in on-court rules -- as Beavers points out, it’s the only decision Stern has unilaterally made that keeps people talking every season.

“Athletes these days are just as big as any model any movie star as far as fashion is concerned now that's what everyone’s looking to,” she said. “All-star weekend, playoff weekend, that’s all anyone is looking at."

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Perhaps in an effort to avoid the annals of NBA draft fashion faux pas, former Kentucky big man Nerlens Noel has asked fans to vote on which suit he should don for Thursday's big night.

Noel has narrowed his choices down to a trio of suits, and they are displayed on NBA.com. Here's a sampling:

Look one:

Look two:

Look three:

In case you were curious, the first two suits were designed by Jhoanna Alba and the third is by Roger Mischel.

You can vote on these suits here.

Personally, we prefer the second look. But really, Noel can't go wrong with any of these suits. Maybe an online poll would have helped LeBron James avoid this unfortunate look 10 years ago.

Here's a look at how last year's draft class approached their big day:

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Trending Video: Dwyane Wade's Son Has Serious Hoops Moves

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Before going to the University of Connecticut and playing in the NBA, Jeremy Lamb proved he wasn't just a basketball player. He was a handsome child model.

At least according to his Instagram account.


Lamb, who helped UConn win the NCAA title as a freshman, averaged 3.1 points for the Oklahoma City Thunder last season. Luckily for him, there is a Walmart store less than three miles from the team's arena.

(h/t The Big Lead)

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Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals will be forever remembered for the Heat's epic comeback, LeBron James' triple-double and... a lost headband.

At the nine minute mark of the fourth quarter of Tuesday's game, James lost his headband while going up for a putback dunk. As you can clearly see in the image to the right, the headband fell off midplay.

James didn't pick up the headband, nor did he grab another one during a timeout. He played the rest of the game without his signature item, his receding hairline on full display.

This turn of events prompted some interesting observations from the Twitter-verse:




After the game, a thrilling NBA Finals comeback in which James nailed a clutch three, scored 16 fourth-quarter points and posted a triple-double, the first two questions for him afterwards were about his headband.

"I don't even remember the play much," James said. "I was just focused on the job, the task at hand, and just trying to be aggressive, just trying to figure out ways I could help the team get back into the game. And you know, I guess the headband was the least of my worries at that point."

Perhaps the headband wasn't on James' mind (or his head, for that matter), but basketball fans across the country certainly had not forgotten about it.

In the immediate aftermath of the "Headband Game," no fewer than 100 parody accounts were created for the piece of stray fabric. One of those handles, @LebronzHeadband, racked up 19,000 followers in less than 24 hours thanks to a series of humorous tweets.



On Wednesday, the Heat started selling t-shirts referencing the lost headband and Mike Miller's shoeless three-point shot:


There have also been some questions as to what exactly happened to the headband. Apparently, it was spotted at the Miami Seaquarium.

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In what may be the best MLB giveaway this season, the Los Angeles Angels honored Mike Trout with perhaps the best hat we've ever seen: A mesh cap with a trout coming out of it.

Fans, of course, were quick to embrace the hat, which is of course now available on eBay for bids starting at $15.



Trout scored his 200th career run in Monday night's win and went 2 for 4 in Tuesday's loss to the Seattle Mariners. Maybe it was the smell in the locker room?


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The fashion police should know their way to the Miami Heat's locker room by now, but Chris "Birdman" Andersen may have taken the award for the worst pre/postgame getup Sunday night in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. The eccentric big man showed up wearing what seems to be a tree on his shirt.


It was the most talked about outfit of the NBA playoffs since Dwyane Wade's adventures with ankle pants.

The Birdman, who hasn't played in the series since Game 3, didn't speak to the media.

Related Story: Meet 'Baby Birdman'

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One of the great things about being a pro athlete, especially one with endorsement contracts, is that you get an enormous amount of free footwear. And being among those who like to pile up running shoes ourselves, we get the appeal. But then there's athletes like Colin Kaepernick who go above and beyond with their shoe collections into the equivalent of Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and The City levels (are we mixing audiences too much here?)

Anyways, here's the incredible shoe collection that Kaepernick posted on his Instagram this week.

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An important offseason for gay rights just got a little more memorable for the NFL, its players and its fans.

In honor of June being Pride Month, the NFL Player's Association in partnership with Athlete Ally released a series of LGBT Pride Vintage T-Shirts, featuring the NFLPA's logo on the front and different players' names on the back.

The 10 men selected have either voiced their support for marriage equality (like Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo) or chose to show their support with this honor. And it's not just current players who have their names on these t-shirt jerseys. Retired players like Domonique Foxworth (the president of the NFLPA) and Scott Fujita, a vocal advocate for marriage equality, have their own jerseys as well.

Check out some sample T-shirts below:

For Kluwe, an Oakland Raiders punter, the honor is doubly exciting.

"I'm extremely proud to be part of this collaboration to raise awareness both of Pride Month and the issue of tolerance and respect within the NFL itself,” Kluwe said in an NFLPA release. "Also, I'm pretty stoked that people can buy something with my number on it."

For more information on the T-shirts, see here.

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Brittney Griner broke onto the national scene as a basketball phenomenon. At Baylor, the star center shattered numerous national records and had one of the most successful careers in the history of women's basketball. She was the top overall pick of the 2013 WNBA draft and is one of the most hyped rookies in the league's history.

Then Griner became a cultural icon, revealing she is lesbian and instantly becoming one of the most high profile gay athletes in professional sports. When she signed with Nike, Griner became the first openly gay athlete to ink a deal with the powerful apparel company.

And if all goes well for Griner, the next realm she transforms may be fashion.

In an outstanding profile of Griner for ESPN The Magazine, Kate Fagan noted that Griner's Nike contract allows her to wear clothes branded for men:

"Androgynous models are coveted in high-end fashion, but the trend toward gender-neutral clothing has only just begun to reach the sports world, with NBA stars Russell Westbrook and Dwyane Wade blurring the lines in their tight jeans and fitted sweaters. No sports apparel company has taken it a step further and expressly targeted the gender-fluid crowd -- and whether Nike is willing to ride the edge with Griner remains to be seen. "We can't get into specifics," says Nike spokesman Brian Strong, "but it's safe to say we jumped at the opportunity to work with her because she breaks the mold."

Good for Griner and for Nike. Hopefully this unique partnership will allow for some bending of traditional gender norms. Because as we've seen repeatedly during the past few months, the world of sports is ready.

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