Last November my friend gave me the best pre-Holiday gift: tickets to a Los Angeles Lakers game. While I’ve been to many games over the years, I hadn’t been since Lebron James joined the team.
The seats were fantastic – right behind the Lakers bench. But it wasn’t the close proximity to the King that had me all excited. It was the bright pink suit jacket that Laker coach Luke Walton was wearing.
Now, Luke is a very low key guy so seeing him strut around the sideline in this wildly bright patterned pink jacket was intriguing. I thought to myself, “Wow, he’s really getting into the Holiday spirit.” I loved it! But when I looked across the court I noticed that Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was also wearing a flashy jacket.
Ok, now I needed to know what was going on. Had the fashion goddess taken over the league and willed NBA coaches to shake up their wardrobes? Kind of. For a few nights last November broadcasters, team officials and coaches around the country donned their most garish outfits as a tribute to the late Craig Sager, the sideline reporter best known for his decades of wearing loud combinations of blazers, ties and shirts on air for Turner Sports. The tributes were part of a larger fundraising effort for cancer research by the foundation of former college basketball coach Jim Valvano. Sager died from cancer on Dec. 15, 2016.
Longtime LA Clippers broadcaster Ralph Lawler, who honored Sager with a blue and green plaid jacket, said Sager not only knew the game – he knew how to use fashion to his advantage. “If you’re going to stand out in this business you’ve got to do something different and his difference was, aside from his excellence as a reporter, it was his style. He had plenty of that.”
Sports and fashion perfectly aligning once again for a good cause. I think the fashion goddess would be pleased.