Jumping from Illinois heroics to NBA ball in 2005, Deron Williams quickly became one of the best point guards in the pros. The New Jersey Net has averaged more than 17 points and 9 assists for his career, played in multiple All-Star games—his third is this weekend—and won an Olympic gold medal. Any doubters were silenced Monday night when he dropped 38 on the Knicks to stop, for at least one game, the Lin-sanity. But off the court, D-Will may be best known for looking seriously sharp in a suit. We caught up with Bonobos’ newest spokesman at NYC hotspot Catch Roof to talk style, beards and where he’ll be playing next year. (P.S.—There’s also a sweet suit deal for Made Man readers. See end of Q&A.)
MADE MAN: First off, how was playing in Turkey during the lockout?
DERON WILLIAMS: I loved it. You know, besides basketball, just being able to live in another country, take my family over there, learn a new culture… it was a great experience. The people were amazing. I was surprised how noticed I was everywhere I went. I know Istanbul is generally a football city, but they caught on to basketball and there was a lot of love over there.
I go for the simple, classic look. You just add a little color to make things pop, and that’s how you get attention.
MM: Coming out of college, it didn’t seem difficult for you to adjust to the NBA game. But was it difficult to adjust to the NBA style game—dressing up in suits all the time?
DW: My first year, I was wearing the big white tees with the stickers on still, big baggy pants, 4XL shirts. But once they put the dress code in, it got guys going. And every year, things got tapered in more and more. It was a good thing for me. I’m glad I’m not still wearing that big baggy stuff.
MM: How do you get your suits to fit you right? Because we know your wingspan is pretty wide.
DW: Well, that’s what I love about Bonobos—the suits are pretty much made to fit me right off the rack. I stepped into this one I’m wearing, and it just took minor adjustments and I was ready to go. So it’s not too hard.
MM: Do you have a stylist?
DW: I don’t have a stylist. I’ll just go through a store or a website and pick out stuff. I like to have my own style and kind of do my own thing.
MM: Some NBA guys like Dwyane Wade do have stylists. But isn’t that kind of cheating?
DW: Those guys are trying to set trends. I go for the simple, classic look. I’m not trying to stand out in the crowd. You just add a little color to make things pop, and that’s how you get attention.
MM: Did you take any style cues from your college coach, Bruce Weber?
DW: Definitely not. The orange sport coat is not in the closet. And he knows how I feel. I’ve always busted his chops about it, so he knows.
MM: You’ve got a pretty well-groomed beard. Any advice on that?
DW: It’s a little long right now. But, you know, I just try to trim it. I know how to edge it up, so I keep it pretty groomed. The key is, you gotta get the loose hairs when they’re hanging off.
MM: Do you use a $10,000 gold-plated beard trimmer or anything?
DW: No, I just have clippers and scissors. Other than that, I get a haircut once or twice a week.
MM: What’s one key item that every guy should have in his wardrobe?
DW: You’ve gotta have a versatile suit. Something you can dress up, dress down, wear it with a tie, wear it without a tie. I think that’s really important because at some point you’re going to have to look nice, but also you can maybe throw some sneakers on and go a little more casual.
MM: Speaking of wardrobes, we have to ask. Will yours include a Nets uniform after this season?
DW: We’ll see. Hopefully so. Hopefully everything works out where I’ll be back here. But as of right now, I can’t answer that question. I’m just playing this year out and seeing how it goes…
BONUS! As we mentioned last week, our friends at Bonobos are hooking Made Man readers up with an exclusive discount on their full Foundation suit, which D-Will is rocking in the pic that leads off this Q&A. Visit the suiting section of bonobos.com, choose color and sizes and add to cart. On the cart screen, enter the promo code MADE4BONOBOS for 15 percent off, the equivalent of nearly a hundred bucks! Note: one use per person, deal expires April 1, 2012. So why not do it today?