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If You Can’t Join ‘Em, Imitate ‘Em: How to Look Like a Professional Athlete

  • Jason Whitney


The average sports fan couldn’t have less in common with the athletes they adore. Usain Bolt runs the 100-meter dash in less than 10 seconds, and Steve from accounting can’t walk to get coffee without losing his breath. Ronda Rousey knocks out her opponent in a single round, and you haven’t thrown a punch since the 6th grade (and it did zero damage). Tom Brady throws for dozens of touchdowns every season, and the best quarterback on your flag football team can clear maybe 30 yards.

You get the picture. But just because you can’t play like your heroes on the field doesn’t mean you can’t look like them. The Big Four each has their own unique looks, and there’s a way to pull them off perfectly or fail miserably. Pick your sport, study the looks, and you’ll look just as slick as the pros.


Twenty years ago, there wasn’t much of a “look” to the NBA, unless you wanted to dye your hair like Dennis Rodman. But today the league has a unique style, at least for some players (namely Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook). It’s a combination between Steve Urkel and a Williamsburg hipster.

It starts with a pair of nerdy glasses (bonus points for some white tape in the middle) (no, really) and a bright, ugly button down short-sleeved shirt. Add some suspenders and you are looking at the actual outfit some players wear to press conferences.


The essential hockey look is 90 percent above the neck and consists of two pieces: hair and beard. If you want the perfect hockey hair, look no further than ESPN’s top hockey analyst: Barry freakin’ Melrose. There isn’t an active player in the NHL with a better mop than Barry, who slicks every hair back to complete perfection.

The second piece is the beard. The perfect hockey beard simple: Let it grow, and don’t shave it for a very long time. Combine it with the hockey hair, and there’s no mistaking what sport you belong in.


Major League Baseball is sort of a wild card in the fashion department. Players range from trim suits to old shirts and Wrangler jeans. But dressing down never impressed anyone, so flashing a tailored suit is the best way to imitate baseball’s best. Think Derek Jeter the next time you’re dressing up for a night out.

Now, if you want to look like a pro on the field (company softball, perhaps), that’s a whole different story. Two words: Stirrup. Socks. The real ones, too — don’t skimp on the prints. There’s a good chance you’ll be the only one on the diamond with real stirrup socks, just like the pros.


The NFL is another wild card regarding style, but lately the hot style has been the Tom Brady (and we’re not talking about deflated footballs). The casual sweatshirt and team beanie is the perfect sideline look, and Tom made it famous during his latest press conference where he spent 30 minutes denying any knowledge of Deflategate (I always preferred Ballghazi).


If you love UFC, then you’re already wearing Tap Out shirts. Just remember not to strut around bars airing the fight looking like you want to start a brawl of your own. The T-shirt itself is just fine.

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