WASHINGTON—Fashion consultant and Project Runway host Tim Gunn surprised the Washington Wizards Monday by unexpectedly arriving at the Verizon Center locker room and offering to help Wizards players shop for less repulsive uniforms.
"I happened to see the Wizards on television, and I couldn't believe the players were out in public wearing such garish jerseys and shorts," said Tim Gunn, who was born and raised in Washington, D.C. "That antique-gold color is just appalling, and frankly, the unbalanced black and white bands above the names look frumpy. Furthermore, the black star details running along the sides are very unflattering."
"No wonder the team is 7-26 this season," added Gunn, claiming he felt obligated to assist the "fashion-challenged" team. "It's just shameful for professional basketball players to be dressed in outfits that fail to accentuate their strength, sleekness, and athletic qualities."
While the majority of the Wizards were initially reluctant when asked to discard their old uniforms, 6-foot-9 power forward Antawn Jamison admitted that with Gunn's guidance he felt confident enough to wear bolder colors. Jamison also said he learned that the silhouette of his former uniform did not highlight his wide shoulders.
"Tim let us know that thinner shoulder straps would give us a sophisticated yet powerful look," Jamison said. "Sometimes the process of finding the perfect uniform was difficult, but I'm glad we didn't settle. Now I feel like I can throw an elbow at anyone when I'm down in the paint."
Gunn, who brought the Wizards to upscale boutiques, department stores, and NBA fashion designers, repeatedly stressed that their uniforms needed to be comfortable whether they were driving to the hoop, attempting a windmill jam, or coming off the bench during garbage time of a home game.
Watching video footage of himself with Gunn, center Andray Blatche admitted that he was embarrassed when the chief creative officer for Liz Claiborne revealed that the material of his jersey was bunching up in the back when he jumped for rebounds.
"In the process of finding out about a number of ways to be more stylish, I also became aware of how poorly my garments used to fit," said Blatche. "Tim was right when he said that, to get to the NBA Finals, we need to dress like we're going to the NBA Finals."
"Thankfully, I found out that the top I was wearing was too long, which deemphasized the contours of my waist," Blatche added.
Although point guard Gilbert Arenas is recovering from knee surgery and hasn't played this season, Gunn was reportedly very proud of the all-star's sartorial effort. According to Gunn, Arenas was an indispensable leader who encouraged the team to try on numerous uniforms and choose colors that best complemented their build. In addition, Gunn said Arenas helped his teammates accessorize their outfits with matching headbands, shooting sleeves, and knee braces.
"Gilbert has come so far," said Gunn, wiping away a tear with his pocket square. "When I told him I wasn't crazy about the length of his shorts, I could not believe how receptive he was about letting me raise the hemline. Now, just look at them—they are simply gorgeous."
To the astonishment of the Wizards, Gunn rewarded the players with an unexpected visit to fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi's New York studio. The Wizards, thrilled to try on Mizrahi's newest line of gowns, were beside themselves when the designer offered to let them keep the evening dresses they were wearing for the gala during the NBA's upcoming all-star weekend.