James Harden And Russell Westbrook Pay Homage To OutKast On Striking GQ Cover
We don't want to be the ones to say they look so fresh and so clean, clean, but...
February 18, 2020 at 7:42 pm
The March cover of GQ features NBA Houston Rockets teammates Russell Westbrook and James Harden and is a stunning nod to hip-hop duo, OutKast.
On the cover, Westbrook imitates a young Andre 3000 while Harden takes the position of Big Boi. The cover is a homage to the musical pair's 2000 album Stankonia where they pose in front of a black and white American flag.
In the interview with the high-brow fashion magazine, the two athletes, who first met at the Boys and Girls Club of Los Angeles, discussed public misconceptions of them, their friendship with Nipsey Hussle and their love of fashion.
James Harden & Russell Westbrook are the most Stylish Sports Duo in the GQ March 2020 Issue ???????? pic.twitter.com/VQD1ocQwwo
— FashionweekNYC (@FashionweekNYC) February 18, 2020
Westbrook and Harden first began playing together in 2009 with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Harden was traded in 2012, but the two would reunite on the court as teammates with the Houston Rockets in 2019 when Westbrook was traded.
When GQ's Mark Anthony Green asked Harden what people may get wrong about Westbrook, he gave his teammate his "Roses" while he was there to smell them.
"Um, that he's crazy," Harden said. "I think people just see the passion that he plays with on the court and then think that that's who he is off the court as well. But he's a pretty chill, cool guy. He's very family-oriented and has a tight group of friends that he's known since high school. He don't do all the extra nonsense. I think that's why we relate so much."
Green then asked Westbrook about people's misconceptions of Harden, to which he responded, "I think it has to do with the way he plays, and if it's beneficial for people around him. I know his intentions and understand his game. Like if you're able to score and do what you want at will, then you should be able to do it."
"If you ask other basketball players, they'd be like, 'Well, we can't guard him.' So that's why we (let him play the way he does)," Westbrook said.
In addition to their notable athletic skill, the pair has often been highlighted as two of the NBA’s most expressively dressed athletes. Westbrook has also taken an interest in the fashion industry.
When asked about the biggest growing pain of breaking into the fashion industry, Westbrook told GQ, “For me, it was being comfortable sitting at dinner without assuming that these designers or editors know who you are or know what you do.”
Harden, who has received noted fashion acclaim, said, “Not even just to be cocky or anything, but we're not regular athletes. Usually, if we're sitting at a table, we're like ‘the ones’ that everyone talks about. But when we went to fashion dinners at first? And we're not 'the ones?’" he said. “It humbles you.”
— GQ Magazine (@GQMagazine) February 18, 2020
The two told GQ they loved the newfound anti-stardom.
“We're always in a position where we gotta talk about what we do and why we do it,” Westbrook said.
With a record for being breakout stars that express themselves uniquely, there’s no surprise that they chose OutKast’s Stankonia cover to model themselves after since "The Whole World" loves it. Andre 3000 and Big Boi have been influencers in the hip-hop and fashion industries for decades.
Twitter chimed in.
The homage to Outkast too real https://t.co/kRM9xaO8ns
— Noah Armstrong (@LokoMeow) February 18, 2020
GQ with the OutKast inspired cover ???????? https://t.co/504bfdQJvX
— The kultur'D Show (@kultur_d) February 18, 2020
THIS IS HARD,its inspired by one of my favorite albums by OUTKAST https://t.co/LoAHkJoZgC
— quincy zion(Q) (@dueyourworstQ) February 18, 2020
The duo also shared their last memories with the late Grammy award-winning rapper Nipsey Hussle.
"Hearing the news, James was one of the first calls I made," Westbrook said. "There was no hesitation about it because we understand his impact, what he was doing and why. We understand who he was. It wasn't no fluff. Now the rest of the world understands."
Before his death, Nipsey Hussle expressed wanting to extend his Marathon brand into sports.
James Harden wants to bring the vision to fruition ???? pic.twitter.com/oXxy3AExvx
— ESPN (@espn) February 18, 2020
"A couple days before he passed, I had rented a house in L.A., and he pulled up by himself — no security, no nothing," Harden said.
"He had a deal with a casino. He wanted to do a Marathon sports agency," Harden continued. "We just had an in-depth conversation, smoking a cigar in the back, just chopping it up about how big we can make this."
"I'm sitting back in Vegas, and I get the phone call, and I'm like, 'It's impossible,'" Harden said, when referencing how he found out about Hussle's slaying.
After his death, Westbrook dedicated a historically Wilt Chamberlain-ish game to Hussle, as Blavity previously reported.
Big Boi retweeted a comparison shot of the cover and the photo spread from the OutKast album posted by the GQ editor and seemingly co-signed it with a "100" emoji.
— Big Boi (@BigBoi) February 18, 2020
When asked his definition of success, Westbrook said, "For me and James, it's about one thing: the championship. Individually we've accomplished more than anybody else. I think for us, there's only going to be one thing that puts us in the conversation."
NME reports the photo from the cover of the Stankonia album, which turns 20 this year, continues to hang in OutKast's Atlanta recording studio.