SPORTING AND STYLISH

4 Houston sports celebrities strut onto world's most fashionable list

Photo courtesy of the MFAH

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

Some of the world's hottest professional athletes have two things in common: they're uber-fashionable and they're Houstonians.

When they're not topping scoring titles or best-of lists, Houston-based stars James Harden, Russell Westbrook, P.J. Tucker (all three Houston Rockets), and Deandre Hopkins (Houston Texans) are frequently mentioned among pop culture's most stylish. Now, the flashy quartet has landed on Sports Illustrated's coveted Fashionable 50.

Featured in the July 29-August 5, 2019 issue of Sports Illustrated, the Fashionable 50 list was selected by a panel of stylists, fashion editors and executives, and other influencers across the sports and fashion industries.

The issue breaks down the field into categories, including "Icons," "Street Style Stars," and "Trendsetters." The Houston four fall evenly into those categories, starting with two Rockets stars as "Icons."

Russell Westbrook: Icon

Houston's newest Rocket is well known as a fashion plate. "It's hard to predict what the NBA's style trailblazer and self-proclaimed Fashion King will wear next, but that surprise factor and fearlessness are exactly what make Russell Westbrook a style icon," says the publication. Westbrook's pre-and-post-game attire gets a nod, as does his presence in the streets of Paris during Fashion Week and his "Why not?" approach to dressing.

James Harden: Icon

One of the NBA's most prolific players and scoring champs has an equally splashy fashion game. Sports Illustrated notes that for the 2018-19 season, the Rockets guard carefully planned his daring and dashing ensembles, pairing his signature beard with everything from bright floral prints to neon suits and more. His May 2018 cover shot for GQ is one for the books.

DeAndre Hopkins: Trendsetter

Sports Illustrated claims that the Houston Texans star wide receiver "may look to Pharrell for some fashion inspiration (okay...)," but the Texans wide receiver "has a unique, enviable style all to his own." The man with arguably the best hands in the National Football League gets props for his mixing of "luxurious and intricate designer pieces with more casual options from retailers like ASOS with ease."

Continue on CultureMap to see who else made the list.

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Let him cook! Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets are in the midst of a rebuild. Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr are studs. KPJ just signed a four-year extension with the team. Other guys like Jabari Smith Jr, Kenyon Martin Jr, Alperen Sengun, Josh Christopher, Tari Eason, and Jae'Sean Tate are really good pieces to surround Green and KPJ with. The only issue with this group: they're REALLY young! Tate is the elder statesman at 27 of the young nucleus. Most are barely old enough to buy a drink. Some still aren't old enough! They're a bunch of green bananas waiting to turn yellow to slightly brown and be ripe enough for consumption.

We need to give it time. Just like bananas, they take time to ripen. Coach Stephen Silas is known for developing young players. His most prized student is the star player for that team in South Oklahoma up 45. Number 77 for that team credited Silas with helping him realize his All-Pro potential while Silas was a part of the coaching staff there. To a man, all his former players credit him with being a positive influence on their careers. So why are fans in a rush to get rid of him?

When you look at the Rockets' record over the last few years, it's gross. Sure, they've been a lottery team the last couple of seasons, but that was by design. As part of the Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook trades, they gave away pick swap rights. Had they not been that bad, they wouldn't have been able to draft Green or Smith Jr. Those two guys are building blocks for the future, along with KPJ. Giving those picks away would've put this team further down the totem pole of developing themselves into a contender. Losing pays off when you can hit on high lottery picks.

If you give a chef dirt, bread, ham, molded cheese, and spoiled mayo, can you expect anything else but a nasty ham sandwich? How about if the chef was given a steak that is almost rotten, potatoes with root growth, and spoiled butter? Could you expect a better meal than the sandwich? Yes! However, that meal may still cause a stomachache. Now, give said chef a full complement of gourmet groceries and guess what you'll get?

This is why I say let Silas cook. He's the perfect coach for this group of kids. He can teach them all the fundamentals of the game at this level and help them grow into their full potential. If there's a change to be made on the sidelines, move Silas into a front office role, but DO NOT get rid of him! Guys like him are too valuable. Why do you think Mark Cuban hated losing him, but knew he couldn't retain him because he had a head coach already? Cuban knew what he had in Silas and what Silas did for Luka Doncic. He can do something similar for the Rockets if given the time to work his magic.

Should Tilman Fertita find the need to move on, I'd look for a more experienced coach who can guide them from bottom of the playoff ladder into top four in the West and real contenders. For now, Silas is the head chef. Continue giving him the groceries he needs, and he'll continue giving these kids the lessons they need to develop. Changing the coach now could stunt their growth. Let him cook!

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