Style Stories: Kevin Knox Capitalizes on Fashion Opportunities with New York Knicks
LOS ANGELES -- The New York Knicks may be struggling on the court, but when it comes to opportunities beyond basketball, it never hurts to call Madison Square Garden home.
Kevin Knox would know. The second-year forward out of the University of Kentucky signed a multi-year sneaker deal with Puma after the Knicks selected him with the No. 9 pick in the 2018 NBA draft. This past fall, Kevin teamed up with Grungy Gentleman to model some of the New York-based lifestyle brand’s joggers and jumpsuits in a photo shoot for its Spring 2020 lookbook.
The 20-year-old is hardly alone among young Knicks making waves in the apparel world. Rookie swingman RJ Barrett, for one, is also a Puma endorser, and inked a contract with Indochino prior to becoming the No. 3 pick in the 2019 draft.
In Kevin’s case, his brand partnerships fit perfectly with his preference for comfort in his clothing. And with designer sweats sweeping through the NBA, he can keep his looks cozy and trendy all at once.
During the Knicks’ recent trip to Los Angeles, CloseUp360 caught up with Kevin to talk fresh sweat suits, stepping up his fashion game as a pro, his mother Michelle’s holiday contribution to his wardrobe and more in the latest edition of “Style Stories.”
(The interview has been edited for clarity and length.)
Kevin Knox and RJ Barrett both endorse Puma. (Zachary Schmidt)
CloseUp360: Tell me about your walk-in outfit today.
Kevin Knox: I just wore a little like a camo jean jacket with a white tee and some jeans and some Puma shoes. I mean, my mom got me the jacket for Christmas. I just wanted to wear it today in LA. I felt like it would be a good little outfit.
CU360: Is this the first time you've worn the jacket since your mom gave it to you?
KK: Yeah, she got it to me for Christmas, so this is the first time I wore it.
CU360: How did you like it?
KK: I liked it. It was very comfortable. My first time actually wearing a jean jacket, so I really liked it. I'm glad she got it for me. She knows what I like, so she's my mom.
CU360: Are you big into camo?
KK: I mean, I'm more of like a sweats guy. I like to wear more like cozy, comfortable [clothes], so I wear a lot of joggers and sweats. But today I wore some jeans.
CU360: You recently were involved with the capsule collection for Grungy Gentleman. They're big on sweats.
KK: Yeah, sweats, joggers and stuff like that, so that was one of the reasons why I did the little photo shoot with them, because I know they have really good sweat suits and sweaters and hoodies and stuff like that. That's something I'm interested in, so why not collab with them?
CU360: What was it like being a part of that photo shoot?
KK: It was cool. It was dope. The different colorways they had, the jumpsuits and the sweatsuits, it was definitely dope. I really enjoyed it. They had it in my building actually, so it was a good photo shoot.
CU360: How did that opportunity come about?
KK: One of my marketing guys knew the [founder and designer, Jace Lipstein], and I told him that I like to wear sweatsuits. And they're really big on sweatsuits, so we just basically collab'd and asked if I wanted to do a photo shoot, get some free jumpsuits. I was, like, why not? That's something I like to wear, might as well go ahead and do it.
CU360: What was it like working with Jace?
KK: It was cool. He's a very outgoing dude. I mean, he's laughing, having jokes. He actually came to the game a few games ago. He was sitting courtside, so I got to see him then as well.
CU360: How often do you find yourself wearing Grungy Gentleman ever since that went down?
KK: I got a couple of the jumpsuits. I mean, you don't like to wear jumpsuits back to back often, so I kind of mix it in every now and then.
CU360: Last year, Dwayne Bacon walked in Grungy Gentleman's show at New York Fashion Week. Did that have anything to do with you getting involved?
KK: Me and Dwayne Bacon are cool, but when I seen him walk in those designs, I was, like, it must be pretty dope stuff. So I went on it just, like, yeah, I'll do it. Me and Bac are cool, so I seen him walk and it was pretty cool, so I might as well wear it.
CU360: Do you have any desire to walk in a fashion show?
KK: Nah. If they would've asked me to do that, I probably would've had to decline that one. I'm more focused on the season right now. I'm not really doing no fashion shows or stuff like that.
CU360: How would you say your fashion game has evolved through your time in the NBA?
KK: I mean, when I was at Kentucky and in high school, I didn't really care about it. I just wore like jumpsuits and sweaters and basically Kentucky school stuff. I had a uniform in high school, so I didn't really wear any outfits or anything. But when I got to the league, fashion is really huge in the NBA, so I really just had to step it up, do a little shopping. I still like to wear my sweats and get comfortable, but I'm enjoying it and getting better.
CU360: Do you explore fashion on your own? Or do you have a stylist or personal shopper who helps you?
KK: I usually do it on my own. I have some people that help me pick out like hoodies and stuff like that, but as far as like myself, nobody knows myself. I'm really confident, so that's kind of how I do my fashion.
CU360: Do you have any favorite places to shop in New York?
KK: Not really. I do a lot of online stuff. I don't really do like in-store shopping. I like to do it online.
CU360: Where do you go online to shop?
KK: I mean, obviously Puma. I can't give you the secrets, but obviously Puma and Barneys and stuff like that.
CU360: How would you describe your style?
KK: Cozy, comfortable. That's something I like to wear. I like to wear hoodies and joggers and stuff like that. Really just cozy fan, basically.
Kevin got his first jean jacket this past Christmas as a gift from his mother, Michelle. (Zachary Schmidt)
CU360: You're in just your second NBA season, but you've already landed a deal with Puma and gotten to work with Grungy Gentleman. And there are other young guys on the Knicks—like RJ Barrett—who have different relationships with apparel companies. What does that tell you about the power of being and playing in New York City when it comes to doing things off the court?
KK: Obviously in New York, the marketing is huge. I mean, you've got a lot of off-the-court opportunities. You've just got to take advantage of it. And there's a lot of good brands and good businesses in New York that you can collab with. That's kind of the luxury of playing in New York. That's why a lot of people like to come to New York: the fashion, the big market. So it really just helps off the court.
CU360: Might as well take advantage while you're there.
KK: Might as well.
Josh Martin is the Editorial Director of CloseUp360. He previously covered the NBA for Bleacher Report and USA Today Sports Media Group, and has written for Yahoo! Sports and Complex. He is also the co-host of the Hollywood Hoops podcast. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.