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The NBA tunnel turned the red carpet

The players' entrance to the arena before the games has become a great marketing moment for fashion. Basketball is one of the most watched and followed sports in the world, consequently, its athletes become a target of visibility as well. 

Basketball players are using their walk in the tunnel to show off their looks and styles, and this has been drawing a lot of attention from brands that see this as a great marketing strategy. While some luxury brands pay for placement, others work with designers to put their clothes on the NBA stars. 

In the past, athletes did not care about their looks for the pre-game or the interviews for example. At that time social media did not exist and there was still a lot of prejudice about streetwear, high fashion, and types of people for certain types of clothing, they were only concerned about playing and not calling attention to themselves with differentiated clothing.

But the new generation of new players is increasing their concern for style. They are creating looks at the pace of social media, moving a bit from sportswear or streetwear to haute couture, making posts about their look choices, and of course, always being in the spotlight and the media. With this, the demand for stylists, who can provide basketball players with a distinctive look and even create new marketing opportunities for luxury brands, is increasing every day. 

And the brands are seeing a lot of potential in this kind of marketing because of the high visibility of these events. But they are also having to adapt to new methods because the mechanics of the clothes worn by players are different from the clothes that are worn on the Hollywood red carpet. Unlike normal celebrities, NBA basketball players have different sizes, always very tall and wide. The luxury brands fight to lend their clothes to the players because most of them do not manufacture in their sizes.

For this case, many players buy their looks from retailers to manufacture according to their sizes, or from "plugs" who specialize in buying clothes in custom sizes and other hard-to-find items. And since the athletes are paying for these clothes as normal customers, their relationships with the brands are different from traditional deals. 

There are different types and ways in which these brands want to work with athletes. Some brands pay their players for the collection, while others pay them to be VIP customers, citing authenticity. And if the brand can embrace these players, it means that the brand will have visibility and will be followed by millions of fans of these players that follow them and see what they wear on TV and social media.

And this theory that the investment in this kind of marketing is promising and that it will bear a lot of fruit has been proven many times. We have the example of when the player Kyle Kuzma posted a picture of himself wearing a $3,000 Rick Owens jacket on Instagram earlier this year, the item sold out in a few days at the brand's stores and also at multi-brand stores. We also have the occurrence of when Phoenix Suns player Cameron Payne posted wearing the $1,050 kiwi parakeet printed button from Bottega Veneta, the product had to be restocked on the Italian brand's US e-commerce site four times.

According to the founder of the African men's brand Lu'u Dan, Hung La says that: "It's logical because athletes, especially in America, are their heroes." He further states that he has seen a growing increase in his sales on the site after some players have shown up wearing his tiger print sweatshirts. Once again proving that this new marketing investment by the brands has a promising future.

edited by Palak Chauhan


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