Talking Style + Substance With One Of The NBA’s Most Fashionable Players, Rudy Gay

Rudy GayPhoto Credit: San Antonio Spurs

San Antonio Spurs forward Rudy Gay is becoming as well-known off court as he is on… for his style. The 33-year-old player designed two collections in recent years—one for kids, and one for adults—and now, is eyeing a sartorially strategic future. We chatted with the athlete—who was named to Sports Illustrated’s “Fashionable 50” list—about his look, his most fashionable teammates and if he’ll turn full-time designer after retiring from the NBA.

Rudy Gay

In three words, how would you describe your style?

I’d describe my style as clean, comfortable and sharp.

Where does the inspiration for your style come from?

I think the inspiration from my style comes from my surroundings and the way I grew up. The culture of the NBA and my peers, but also having the opportunity to visit fashion week across the world – Paris, New York, Milan. Being able to see style from all over the world was key.

Who do you consider to be fashion icons – sports figures or outside of sports?

I’ve gotten inspiration for my own style from quite a few people throughout the years. People I definitely look up to are Kim Jones, Rick Owens, Raf Simons, Virgil Abloh.

Who are your go-to designers?

Rhude, Prada, Dior, Rick Owens just to name a few.

Rudy Gay
Gay attends the Palm Angels fashion show during the Milan Men’s Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020

Photo Credit: Jacopo Raule/Getty Images

Does your fashion differ when you’re on the road traveling for games vs. when your hanging out with your kids at home?

On the road I like to have fun with my outfits. I get creative, mix and match with patterns and colors and see what pops. I’ll build in accessories like watches and hats to compliment it. When I’m just at home, I want to be comfortable. I’m outside, I’m on the ground playing with my kids. main thing for me is the fit and comfort.

How long does it take you to get ready for an average night out? What are you doing to get ready?

I’m pretty simple. I always plan ahead and make sure I have my outfit picked out in advance just in case I need to iron something or make any adjustments.

Do you think your pre-game outfits affects your performance in the game?

I think fashion and style builds confidence, and that confidence extends to everything you do. If I’m feeling good about an outfit, that means I’m feeling good about myself and who I am. And that can translate to on-court confidence, as well.

Do you plan ahead for pre-game outfits or does it depend on how you’re feeling that day?

Depends on the day, but yes I usually try to plan my outfits out in advance.

Rudy GayPhoto Credit: Rudy Gay/Instagram

Looking back on your outfits, are there any that are your particular favorite or best? Any you regret?

One of my favorites was my custom Dior suit I wore at the 2018 Diamond Ball . It was this really nice, clean custom fit. I don’t regret any past outfits, I usually wear what comes to mind and if it doesn’t work out, I’ll make a note of that and do it differently next time around.

Who are your best-dressed teammates? Is there anyone whose style you’d change? What would you do to change it?

Obviously I am biased and think I’m at the top of the list, but I gotta show love to DeMarre Carroll and Patty Mills because they take a lot of risks with their outfits. I wouldn’t change anyone’s style on the team.

Who are the three best-dressed players in the NBA, and what do you admire about their style?

Again, I think I am up there. As a 14-year NBA vet, I have been at this for a while now. I have respect for a lot of guys, but I got to show love to P.J Tucker, because he and I tore up fashion week all summer! A couple other guys I respect are Chris Paul and Serge Ibaka, to name a few.

What is the one sneaker you think everyone should own?

The PUMA Clydes, because you can wear them with any outfit and they still look good.

How have the cities you have lived in affected your fashion choices or influenced your choices?

I think I’ve picked up some influence from everywhere I’ve lived, and basketball has taken me to a lot of different places. But at the end of the day, I’ll also add my own touch and style to it, while staying true to where I’m from.

Rudy Gay Photo Credit: Pierre Pontoizeau

What are some of your favorite trends in fashion that you have seen in your 14-year NBA career?

Obviously there are new fashion trends every season, but when the dress code was implemented in the league, that changed the way everyone dressed. It allowed people to get creative with their looks and how they showed off their personality, and that helped launch fashion being such a big part of the NBA.

Would you consider the ‘best dressed’ competition in the walk-in tunnel just as competitive as the play on the court between players?

I don’t know if I would go as far as saying it is as competitive on the court – every player in the NBA is one of the best in the world – but for sure guys take it very seriously and want to be known as fashionable.

Would you ever walk in NY Fashion Week?

Of course. I actually walked in Romeo Hunte’s Spring / Summer collection show this past fall, and am looking forward to walking in more shows in the near future.

Do you think that when you retire you’ll turn to a career in fashion full-time? If not, what can you see yourself doing?

I have released two of my own collections, one for adults and one for children. Fashion and being fashionable is something that’s always with you – whatever I do in life, fashion will be a part of it. After basketball, I want to become a successful entrepreneur. I’ve actually already taken steps towards that goal, as I’m opening a basketball-specific gym back home in Baltimore.

What to you is the greatest luxury in life and why?

The greatest luxury in life is my family. Fashion is special to me, but nothing compares to spending time with family and loved ones. That is priceless.