Virgil Abloh, famed fashion designer and artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear, passed away on Nov. 28 after a two-year battle with cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Abloh was known as a transcendent designer and collaborated with many of the biggest brands in the world. Much like Los Angeles Lakers’ superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, he was also known to do a lot of work in inner-city communities.
The world of fashion and the NBA have grown much closer in recent years. What players are wearing coming into the arenas is viewed almost as much as highlights on the court these days.
Abloh was someone many could relate to as he went from the inner city to the top of the fashion world. An internship with Fendi and subsequent collaboration with rapper Kanye West launched his career and allowed him to inspire and influence many across the world.
James was effusive in his praise for the fashion icon, mourning his tragic death. “I think for a black community to see someone like that for our younger generation and the kids that look up to guys like all of us, to see a guy like Virgil break the barrier, to be able to go from where he started to be able to work for Louis Vuitton and Nike and all these unbelievable companies as a black man, it just does so much for our youth,” LeBron said.
“But I think when you look at designers, and musicians and artists and things of that nature, Virgil, his impact on not only kids that are growing up right now, but my generation and AD’s generation and so on and so on and so on […] So a guy like that’s legacy will live on, so proud to be a part of that legacy.”
Davis, who grew up in Chicago like Abloh, also shared in his Lakers teammate’s sentiments. “For sure, to piggyback on that, just being from Chicago, I know how much he’s done for the city. In All-Star in Chicago, me and him did a thing together as well, but like Bron said, just touching so many lives. Especially in the black community with his art.
“It’s probably one of the first times we’ve seen something like that, that the black community just gravitates to something like that. And it’s not just the black community, everyone. Everyone gravitated to him. He was a phenomenal talent and what he’s done with his art and to do it throughout the world with his clothing, like Bron said, you see it on everybody.”
As the two Lakers superstars noted, someone like Abloh can be an inspiration to so many young kids around the world who come from difficult upbringings and rough environments. For black kids to see someone overcome that and rise to the top of the fashion industry truly gives hope and motivation and his legacy will undoubtedly live on.
Lakers’ Russell Westbrook wants to be icon in the fashion industry
Abloh was undoubtedly an icon in the fashion industry and someone who hopes to do the same one day is Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook as he spoke about in an appearance at the Met Gala.
“I want to be the guy to be an icon. I wanna be the guy that’s not afraid to put nothing on, and look good doing it, and that’s why I’m here.”
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