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What's the deal with the Cavs, LeBron, the road and those suits?

Views: 20     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2018-05-25      Origin: Site

When Kendrick Perkins signed on the dotted line to join the Cleveland Cavaliers as a free agent on the final day of the regular season, his contract paid him a prorated portion of the veteran's minimum salary, worth a whopping $13,156.

A week later, when the Cavs went on the road for their first playoff game against the Indiana Pacers, Perkins received a fringe benefit from being teammates with LeBron James that was worth well more than his paycheck.

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James, looking to create a unified team experience for Cleveland's postseason run, paired with New York-based designer Thom Browne to gift each of his teammates three of Browne's signature Super 120s twill suits (a light grey, a grey and a charcoal), white oxford shirts, cashmere cardigan sweaters, sunglasses, ties, black pebble grain leather boots (or calf leather low-cut trainers), a black Chesterfield overcoat, a bag and a sweat suit with Browne's distinct 4-bar detail.


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The retail cost of the total wardrobe each player received is north of $17,120, according to Browne's website (far more if you include the $41,000 grey alligator Mr. Thom bag that James toted into Bankers Life Fieldhouse the first time the Cavs wore the ensemble).

For every road playoff game, through Indiana, in Toronto and now in Boston, the Cavs have worn the suits from the team hotel, onto the bus, into the visitor's locker room when they make their entrance and up to the postgame podium before they make their exit.

One team. Fifteen players. One aesthetic.

"I think it just forms unity," Perkins said. "I think it shows togetherness -- win or lose -- with them on. Like, when you see when somebody sends out a text and says, 'Hey, we're wearing suit No. 2,' and you see everybody wear it, it kind of shows guys that they're all-in. I think it's a good thing, man. I think it's a good thing."

Then a grin appeared on the big man's normally menacing face.

"And it saves people a lot of money from buying clothes."

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It is LeBron James' custom to give teammates gifts during the playoffs. This year they got suits. Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The practical perk aside, James said the idea -- first hatched by former teammate Dwyane Wade when he was a member of the Cavs earlier in the season -- was all about standing out by standing together.

"It's a great look for all of us to get off the bus like that and appear unified," James said. "It's all class."

When Wade was traded to the Miami Heat in February -- as the Cavs completely overhauled the team by sending six players out and bringing four new players in before adding Perkins and Okaro White to fill out the 15-man roster -- James said he was unsure whether he would follow through with the idea.

For starters, prior to the trade deadline, a fitting had been arranged with the team for the made-to-measure suits. But after LeBron saw Wade in Miami when Cleveland played a road game there in late March and was urged by his former teammate to carry on with it, the project was picked back up and finalized with a visit to Browne's studio when the Cavs traveled to Manhattan in early April to play their last road game of the regular season against the New York Knicks.

James inspected the items in person, mixing and matching accessories along with Browne to complete the concept, and a follow-up fitting in Northeast Ohio was scheduled for the new Cavs.

"LeBron was so supportive from the beginning of the cultural statement we wanted to make," Browne told ESPN.com in an email. "His confidence and leadership in representing the power and individuality of the uniform is what makes him the true superstar and leader that he is."

James, who is a part owner of Liverpool Football Club, noticed soccer teams executing a similar style for years.

Kevin Love and Jeff Green arrive at a road playoff game in the suits they received from LeBron James. Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

"For me, it's normal," said Jose Calderon, who is Spanish. "I'm used to it. In Europe, everybody does that. Every team goes looking the exact same way every time to play. Depending what is your team, you can go all with the same sweats, you can go all with the same suits, but usually everybody dresses to travel the same."

The Cavs aren't as strict with the dress code as many European teams -- they don't wear the suits on the plane, for instance -- but even the times they do wear the suits has taken some getting used to for a few players.

"For me, I use the hell out of my Adidas merch because if everybody has their style -- JC's got his streetwear, Swish has got Supre

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