The Role Social Media and Fashion Play in Sports

To the younger generation, athletes can be looked upon as role models to some and we strive to be just like them. As we don’t know these athletes personally, social media helps us get to know them even better depending on what they share with their followers. Not only do we get to keep up with their athletic career, but we can even get an inside look on their family, and what they are passionate about outside sports. Social media has changed the way we look at certain people by the things they post or what we find out through other social media outlets. 

Instagram and Twitter are just a few of the major platforms that are used to update the user and keep us engaged. We can find breaking sports news by following large platforms like EPSN or following certain people who break the news first like Adrian Wojnarowski. Woj is known for breaking hard-hitting “Woj Bombs” especially in basketball before anybody else is able to. Others like Jon Rothstein are known for breaking college news including coaching, transfers, hurt players, etc. Among many others, we rely on these reporters for all of the unexpected news in the sports world through social media. 

Social media, focusing on Twitter, is broken down so we can directly go to ‘sports’ under trending to get the latest stories along with the top and latest tweets from that topic. Not only can you get live scores and game updates, but latest happenings in sports that are not always positive. For instance, Deshaun Watson facing sexual harassment charges. Twitter is able to explain what is happening with the Texans player and learn that Nike is dropping Watson from the brand. This leaves users wondering, will he return to Texas? What action will the team take? All of this gets taken to Twitter and conversations can be started to get a bunch of different perspectives. 

In brighter news, social media can break news that gets fans excited. As most know, LeBron James is set to star in the new sequel to Michael Jordan’s 1996 Space Jam, called Space Jam: A New Legacy. Earlier in April Lakers star tweeted out the first trailer to the highly anticipated film. Followers of James were excited to finally see what he has been working on as COVID pushed back a lot of television and film projects. In addition to the trailer, followers learned when the film would be released and the co-stars which include many big names in the NBA along with big names like Zendays and Don Cheadle. 

In 2016, Bleacher Report put out an article, “10 Ways Social Media Ruined Sports.”  

  1. When the DVR becomes irrelevant
  2. The unwarranted criticism/drama it creates
  3. When the NCAA bracket was leaked early
  4. When athletes are disciplined because of it
  5. The crying Jordan meme
  6. Overexposure
  7. When it ruins the element of surprise
  8. The athlete-fan beef that comes from it
  9. Athlete-athlete beef that are nonexistent in reality
  10. It’s all about being viral

It’s been five years since the article was published; do these all still hold up? Are there some that are still valid but others that might not be anymore?

When you take a high-caliber player Russell Westbrook of the Washington Wizards, it is interesting to see their social media and what they are passionate about. In Westbrook’s posts, the follower can tell he is a family man with three kids and a wife, his brand that is built out of respect for where he came and grew up from, Honor The Gift, and of course, the game of basketball. As a popular athlete, it can be hard to show your personal life as people tend to judge no matter what, but Westbrook shares a lot of his doings with his fans and followers. He wants to make his voice heard by attending educational forums on ballot measures impacting racial justice in L.A. and California. His foundation, “Why Not?” illustrates him supporting his community at several points throughout the year. As an athlete, it is easy to play the game but it says a lot more when you build upon your platform to bring a greater good to society


Earlier this year, an article from Constant Contact discussed “9 Trends for Social Media in Sports Marketing.” 

  1. Posting in real-time
  2. Creating behind-the-scenes stories
  3. Giving back to the community 
  4. Including athletes in your next campaign 
  5. Joining the eSports craze
  6. Valuing women’s sports 
  7. Keeping up with the memes
  8. Aligning with a cause
  9. Highlighting authenticity

As we have seen  on the professional and collegiate level, along with our blog for our Sports Reporting class, all of these trends are what make a successful system. Over the last year and especially during the beginning of COVID we all got to see the eSports world light up. The NBA had a virtual 2K tournament, NASCAR was showcasing their virtual races, and even in colleges like Seton Hall had a successful eSports team. For Clarity Stripe, getting stories in right after a game or getting in interviews previewing a game is super important and makes the story that much more valuable. Creating story packages that are broken down into different parts highlighting one event or game can make it an interactive experience for the reader as they get to go through a beginning, middle, and end of one certain sports like what we did with the Seton Hall men’s soccer team in the Big East championship game against Georgetown. 

Over the years, fashion has made a huge statement in the players’ careers. If we look back only 20 years ago, fashion was never of concern or never even questioned. Today, how the players come in dresses, the shoes they have on, and what designer they’re wearing are all a part of the new era of fashion in sports. 

The first thing that sticks out to me is the evolution of fashion in the NBA Draft. When LeBron James was drafted, this is what he wore: 

Hard to think that one of the most stylish guys in the NBA wore this back in 2003 on his very own draft night. Just to get the gist of the fashion back then, here are a couple more players you might recognize. 

Now, the young men who are entering the NBA draft have their suits fitted, sized, and are a little more caught up on the latest fashion trends. 

A Sports Illustrated Vault article from 1956, “THE QUESTION: HAVE SPORTS INFLUENCED FASHIONS? IF SO, IN WHAT WAY? (ASKED OF THE WORLD’S MAKERS OF FASHIONS),” put into perspective how fashion has always been influenced by sport, and has now come full-circle over the last few years. 

“Increasing leisure and interest in sports have led people into avocational habits that influence fashion,” said Edward Marcus of Neiman-Marcus. “Knit shirts spring from their use in sports. Colors become fashionable because they are becoming to people who play in the sun. Shorts of all varieties for men and women are in the ascendancy.”

“Yes. In the early ’20s, Suzanne Lenglen introduced the neat, pleated skirt,” said Sophie of Saks Fifth Avenue. “Horseback riding showed that women looked well in jodhpurs. Pedal pushers are a version of this garb. The loose, full-backed dress developed from golf dress with its necessary fullness to permit a good swing.”

Back in 2019, Sports Illustrated named the 50 most fashionable athletes. Serena Williams, OBJ, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Tom Brady, Cam Newton, and Lindsey Vonn were just a few that were named. 

By following athletes on social media, especially NBA players, tunnel photos are a trend that has been quite popular over the last few years for those who want to show off their latest wardrobe when entering the building. Maybe it’s a new pair of unreleased sneakers, maybe it’s a statement suit. There are multiple players who have shown up to games looking rather fashionable. Shown below, we see some of the best players from the game in brands such as Nike, Balmain, Gucci, Chrome Hearts, Off-White, Converse, Louis Vuitton, etc. 

From their Instagram accounts, here are a few examples. Check out and this, this and this.


During the 2021 All-Star NBA game this year, LeBron James showed up in a pair of sneakers that sparked plenty of hype. James showed up in a pair of unreleased Off-White Nike Air Force Ones in Canary Yellow. Creative Director, Virgil Abloh personally wrote on the show in his signature Sharpie style. The Off-White brand has hinted at new Nike’s in the future after his successful first collab with Nike, so this was our first sneak-peak.


As mentioned, the fashion in sports has changed tremendously over the last few decades, but sportswear itself has also become an acceptable streetwear that seems to be taking over. 

In an article from, David Kenworthy wrote: 

“Sportswear could arguably be called America’s contribution to fashion. In the 1920s, if you can believe it, sportswear was the term used to describe the comfortable and casual clothes women wore to watch spectator sports. The evolution of stretch fabrics facilitated the creation of nylon athletic shorts, zip-up windbreakers and anoraks. Manufacturers began to create colour-coordinated cotton and nylon jersey tracksuits in the 1960s, in the iconic blues, reds and greys now associated with classic sportswear. In the mid 1970s, Bruce Lee is credited with bringing the classic stretchy tracksuit into mainstream fashion. Suddenly it was cool to wear athletic tracksuits in polyester, cotton, terry cloth and velour for activities that were not even remotely athletic.”

The article also includes “Tennis Style,” which made it way from the court, to the runway, to the street. Kennworthy touched on ski suits, sneaker style, yoga pants espcaping the studio, and the puffer jacket— where outdoor wear meets urban. 

Social media and fashion in sports is in a place it has never been before. At an all-time high, the two usually come together when it comes to the concept of “tunnel style” combining the style and the Instagram picture that usually comes short after. In 2021, it is no surprise that we can watch or stay updated with the latest games right from our phone and social media accounts that give us everything we need to know. From the 2003 draft class, it is easy to see how far fashion has come in sports and how seriously some players take it. In women’s sports, viewers can recognize how their uniforms resemble more of a mens style, but still have their own personal twist. All in all, the “sport style” itself has made a huge leap in fashion where it is a closet staple.