Style Points: Collabs, Game-Winners & No-Hitters

  • Kid Cudi/New Era Collab
    10. Kid Cudi

    Kid Cudi always tries pushing the boundaries of style while also staying connected to the street. You won’t find him out without some Jordans on his feet, and yet he’s constantly pulling off varsity jackets, blazers, and designer jeans to go with them.

    Over the years, Cudi has had some dope collaborations, including his Surface to Air leather jacket collection. But his recent foray with New Era might be the best yet.

    The collection dropped on June 16, and it featured a rucksack with digital brain scan print and two 59FIFTY fitteds inspired by Kid Cudi’s last two albums, Indicud and Satellite Flight. Showing out in black and infrared colors, the collection also features hand-written lyrics to go to another level.

    Mr. Solo Dolo is always changing, always trying something new and you have to respect it. You’ll never be able to dress like Cudi, but you can try.

    “I’ve been obsessed with space since I was a kid, man, so I wanted to bring that same flavor to this,” Cudder said in a recent New Era video. “I feel like it was a destiny, so to speak, to link up and do something with New Era.”

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  • Jimmy Rollins
    9. Jimmy Rollins

    The Phillies’ Jimmy Rollins has been wearing Jordans for years, but to be styling in some Air Jordan XIII PEs while breaking the franchise’s all-time hits record deserves some praise. There might not be a player in baseball with hotter PEs than the 15-year veteran. With a complete red-based upper, these joints were smoking hot.

    When Rollins sent Edwin Jackson’s 3-1 pitch into right field in the fifth inning of a recent 7-4 win against Chicago, it was a perfect moment in every way. That rip broke Mike Schmidt’s team record, and because Schmidt is actually a TV analyst for the game, he retrieved the bat, then hugged Rollins at first base.

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  • 8. DeMarcus Cousins/Jimmy Kimmel

    Over the past few weeks, the best basketball entertainment we could find wasn’t the NBA Finals. It was on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Kimmel took it back to the NBA Dunk Contest wheel (what a failure that was) with The EQ-WHEEL-LIZER, which set up various ridiculous scenarios that would even the playing field in a one-on-one matchup with DeMarcus Cousins.

    Eventually, DMC had to play a marching bass drum while going against Kimmel. With Marv Albert gracing the game with his voice, Kimmel got the hard-earned W, overpowering the bigger player with his speed, energy, and hustle. First, he scored inside. Then he took DMC outside and hit the game-winner in Cousins’ face. Cousins picked up a technical foul–of course he did–but the Sacramento star took it all in stride and played the good sport. You’d be surprised how much that can do for his reputation.

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  • 7. Common

    This July, Common will make his Def Jam debut with the release of Nobody’s Smiling, and earlier this week, he unveiled the video for the Vince Staples-featured single, “Kingdom.” Returning to the atmosphere that once made “The Corner” video such a dope vibe, Common leads us through the inner city struggles of Chicago. Ironically, neither he nor Vince ever appear in the video, preferring instead to let the images and words do the talking for them.

    In an age when every rapper wants to be the story, Common has no problems letting Hype Williams tell the story. In the end, it comes out much more powerful that way.

    “Now these keys got me locked up with older men/Thought these was the keys for me to roll a Benz/They ended up being the keys for my life to end.”

    Forty-two years old, with over 20 years in the game, and Common is still killing it.

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  • 6. Kawhi Leonard

    The 22-year-old got beat up physically by LeBron. Kevin Durant called him out. Even Gregg Popovich gave him a sit-down and a heart-to-heart when Leonard wasn’t playing up to his talent during the first two games of the NBA Finals. How did Leonard respond? He won a Finals MVP award, gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated in the process, and had even KD eating his words.

    Leonard is a throwback to a forgotten era by only doing his talking on the court. In the last three games against Miami, he scored 29, 20, and 22 points, getting better as the series went along. But with the Spurs, it’s always about more than the final score. Through it all, they’ve earned a begrudging respect from everyone in the game. That is personified by their small forward.

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  • Charlotte Hornets
    5. Charlotte Hornets

    The buzz is finally back. On June 19, Charlotte officially unveiled their uniforms for the upcoming NBA season this fall. The results are predictably incredible.

    While the white-based home jersey is solid enough, both the away and secondary uniforms are going to be flying off shelves once they hit the NBA store. Teal and purple might be the most beloved colorway in NBA history–with Jordan’s red, black, and white the only one close–and these clean unis did their best to stay out of their own way.

    Holding the no. 9 and 24 picks in this year’s first round, and coming off a 4-0 sweep against the eventual Eastern Conference champs in Miami, Charlotte has a lot to look forward to this season. Their new digs will at least have them looking good.

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  • 4. Yoenis Cespedes

    Outside of a mammoth home run shot, the throw to home is probably the most exciting play in baseball. And when the runner gets beat, especially at home, there’s nothing more demoralizing. Stealing a run (or a big hit) from the opponent is the ultimate, and Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes did it not once… but twice in consecutive games against Los Angeles recently.

    Cespedes even took it one step further. One both plays, the left fielder mishandled the ball before firing in missiles from deep in the outfield, catching Howie Kendrick at home plate and then Albert Pujols at third. Reminder: don’t ever think about running on this dude.

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  • 3. Clayton Kershaw

    L.A.’s Clayton Kershaw threw his first career no-hitter on Wednesday, June 18. That’s impressive enough. But he didn’t do it in some fluke way or against some scrub team. The left-hander struck out 15 batters during the Dodgers’ 8-0 win, which is the third-most in a no-hitter since 1900. He also did it against the Rockies, one of the top offensive teams in the majors.

    Kershaw again showed why he’s the game’s highest-paid pitcher.

    “This is pretty special,” Kershaw said on SportsNet TV in Los Angeles (via USA Today). “I will remember this forever.

    “As far as individual games go, this is really special. To do it at home is more amazing.”

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  • 2. Gregg Popovich

    Pop knows how to coach. He apparently knows how to troll too.

    Sorry, not sorry, LeBron.

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  • 1. John Brooks

    It wasn’t that Brooks scored the game-winning goal in minute 87 against Ghana. It was the way he did it. At just 21 years old, having not made his American debut until last August, Brooks wasn’t afraid of the moment. He not only won the game with his header, but he did it against the team’s… no, the country’s biggest adversary. Ghana had eliminated us in each of the previous two World Cups.

    By now, you’ve seen the replay a dozen times, and probably heard about how Brooks was born in Germany and has never lived in the United States. (You wouldn’t know that by his lack of an accent.) But what you probably haven’t heard? Brooks admitted he had a dream just before the matchup with Ghana, and in that deam, he scored a game-winner in the 88th minute. Maybe it was meant to be?

    Soon, the U.S. will face off with world power Germany, which will be the biggest test for Brooks. But if his first World Cup match was any indication, he’ll do just fine.

    That “Oh my God!” moment Brooks had after putting the U.S. up 2-1 will be one of the highlights of the World Cup no matter what happens the rest of the way.

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  • Kid Cudi/New Era Collab
  • Jimmy Rollins
  • DeMarcus Cousins
  • Common
  • Kawhi Leonard
  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Yoenis Céspedes
  • Clayton Kershaw
  • Gregg Popovich
  • John Brooks

It’s not always about what you do but how you do it. That’s true in all aspects of life, but doubly so when you’re talking about sports and entertainment. Was 2Pac one of the greatest rappers ever because he sold boatloads of records worldwide? No. He was a global icon for what he stood for, for his passion, for everything and everyone he represented.

Each week in Style Points, we’ll count down recent people who took their game and their swagger to another level. Whether it was making a game-winning goal, creating a new style collaboration or being the most humble player on the best team in the world, these ten went above and beyond.

Follow me on Twitter at @seanesweeney