U.S. soccer might
be hoping for a surge in popularity with the arrival of
English star David Beckham, but some fashion critics are
also hoping he can teach U.S. sports stars a thing or
two about clothes.
will inspire them to lift their game," said Adam
Rapoport, style editor at men's fashion magazine GQ.
"I think athletes respond to competition well. If
someone's looking better than them they want to get on
par with them."
Beckham, 31, has
signed a $250 million five-year deal to moved to the
United States later this year and play for the Los Angeles
Galaxy of Major League Soccer, but even before he has
arrived, he has graced the covers of U.S. fashion
So is the U.S.
sports scene in need of a style icon?
they're in need of a tailor," said Wendell Brown,
senior fashion editor at Esquire magazine. "I hope
Beckham has a major impact."
saying there had been a fashion void on the U.S. sports
scene since the 2003 retirement of basketball star Michael
Jordan, who is now one of the world's wealthiest
former athletes, with endorsement contracts and
"I don't think
anyone's stepped up to the plate since Jordan retired,
and I think they could use one. It's going to be interesting
to see if Beckham can be that guy," he said.
iconic style status doesn't appear to have U.S. sports
stars shaking in their boots.
"It's not going
to put pressure on me. I'm not competing with him,"
said Jevon Kearse of the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles with a
laugh, while attending the launch of Jared M, a clothing
line designed especially for big, tall sports stars.
But he did add
that Beckham's popularity could pressure other athletes to
lift their fashion game.
Angeles Lakers basketball player Jim Jackson said that while
he believed Beckham would likely have an impact on U.S.
sports stars fashion, most NBA players were already
"dressing the part."
"They made it
mandatory for NBA players to dress up," Jackson said.
"I think guys really accepted that and really took it as a
challenge to step up their game."
In October 2005
the NBA implemented a dress code for its players,
requiring them to wear "business casual" when off the court
and taking part in team or league activities.
Sleeveless shirts, shorts, T-shirts, wearing
sunglasses indoors, headphones, and chains and pendants
over clothing were all banned.
In defense of
U.S. football and basketball stars, Esquire's Brown
said that for many of them size impeded their style.
"One of the
things that nobody really mentions about David Beckham is
that the clothing is so geared to his shape," Brown said.
"He is the perfect size to wear Dolce & Gabbana
and Versace and Prada and Gucci." (Michelle Nichols,