Sportswear or Don’t Wear?

By Special Contributor John Leite

I realize that here in the states, football means the one that’s played with hands and, this season aside, makes the fall and winter so very much fun to stay home, fire up the ol’ high-def TV and enjoy the action. Across the Atlantic, football is soccer, they play with their feet, and hooligans seem more purposeful.

As I think back to the incredible 2010-2011 season of European football (Manchester United blow past Liverpool with 19 championships, Real Madrid win the Copa but lose La Liga to Barcelona, and Bayern Munich’s horrible season), I started to notice some other differences between the two footballs. Specifically, between the head coaches. More specifically, their wardrobes. Let’s go to the instant replay …

Coach Bill Belichick is, by all accounts, a football genius, future hall-of-famer and is a perennial championship contender. However, can someone pull coach B aside and let him know the hoodie with the cut off sleeves is an eye sore? I hope he plans to leave it at home when he delivers his hall-of-fame speech.

By contrast, Roberto Mancini (Manchester City) merges a wool overcoat and the team-colored scarf tied in a daring knot. He even wears a pocket square in the outer pocket of his overcoat. Bravo bello!

Joe Gibbs … He’s coached superbowl football teams, managed NASCAR teams and is a popular draw in the corporate lecture circuit. Some blame the failure of his come-back to the NFL on outmoded strategies, poor recruiting and free-agency choices. I blame the team-maroon polo and pleated pants. Minimally, you must agree they didn’t help!

Portuguese fire-brand Jose Mourinho shows us you can merge team spirit (note the team crest on his jacket) and great style. The man has 5 championships with three teams (Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan), 2 Champions League titles (Porto and Inter Milan),  1 Cup (Real Madrid) and can rock a scarf and major ego like no one else.

His protégée, Andre Villas-Boas also shows a penchant for team crests on his jacket and winning ways (editorial note: how cool is a team crest for suits? Are you listening NFL? I’d kill to wear one). Andre has just won the Portuguese league title, supercup and UEFA title in one year with Porto. He’s off to Chelsea in 2012 and will be bringing his winning brand of football to London fans.

I love Bill Cowher. I was in Pittsburgh for graduate school, 1 superbowl and three AFC title games. His scowl, tough discipline and no-nonsense philosophy are perfect for the city and team. His sweater though….His sweater should have been burned in the furnace right before the last steel mill shut down.

This is Pep Guardiola from FC Barcelona. This is Pep Guardiola managing a game and showing Bill Cowher a) grown men wear v-necks, b) if you like color, pick and commit to one at a time, c) sweaters look amazing when combined with suits.

I should mention that there have been NFL coaches who have worn suits in games (Jack Del Rio, and Mike Nolan) but needed to ask for permission from the league to not wear hideous team-colored sport apparel. Really NFL? Really?

As the players and owners negotiated over salaries and TV rights, the likelihood an NFL season prior to August seemed slim. But now that the NFL is back for the 2011 season, let’s bring back some refinement in coach apparel.

Now, if only someone taught these TV sports goons on how to dress … sigh!

Help Me Decide My Harley Purchase!

I have Harley fever and yes I admit it!  I’m signed up to take the Rider Safety Course on September 9 – 11.  With an anticipated license in hand and the desire to ride, I can hardly wait to get my hands on some Milwaukee Iron!  I visited my local dealer today to check out the two models that I have zeroed in on.

First one is the Nightster from the Sportster line.  This is an aggressive and nimble looking beast.  In a Black Denim finish with 1200cc engine, this bike has plenty of power.  The other key attribute that I need … it is low to the ground. Just 25.7 inches high it would provide confidence for a newbie rider.  This bike weighs 562 pounds.

Bike # 2 on my radar is the Fat Boy Lo from the Softail line.  A very different bike from the Nightster, the Fat Boy is the essence of a Harley cruiser that epitomizes the aggressive low cruiser appearance with a bad ass motor … a counter-balanced Twin Cam 103B V-Twin engine.  Harley says that to give the Fat Boy Lo model its distinctive road-hugging stance, they’ve dropped the front and rear suspension 1.15 inches. That makes it the lowest seat height of any stock Harley-Davidson model at a down and dirty 24.25 inches. Perfect for smaller riders or those who just like to feel down in the bike.  That makes is a great choice for me.  On the minus side it weighs a whopping 731 pounds.

So, should I go with the aggressive, nimble Nightster?

Or spring for the ultimate Boulevard Cruiser … The Fat Boy Lo?

Congratulations Novak Djokovic!

Novak Djokovic crowned his rise to No 1 in the world in perfect fashion with a dramatic 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3, victory over Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon final.  Novak “Nole” Djokovic is the greatest Serbian tennis player of all time. He has won 22 ATP titles, two of them are Australian Open 2008 and 2011.

In matching tuxes, Nole and Nadal … great young athletes and stylish off court.


With the world at his feet, I guess we will be seeing a lot of Nole in style and fashion blogs in the near future.  Congratulations to the 2011 Wimbledon champ!

Game, Set, Match – Part 2 (1980′s to 2000′s)

Welcome to part deux … the past 20 years saw the likes of tyrant John McEnroe, the king of swing Pete Sampras and super swede Roger Federer.

1980’s John McEnroe.  He is best remembered for his shot-making artistry and superb volleying; for his famous rivalries with Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl for his confrontational on-court behavior which frequently landed him in trouble with umpires and tennis authorities; and for the catchphrase “You cannot be serious!” directed toward an umpire during a match at Wimbledon in 1981.  The many looks of colorful Mr. McEnroe through the years … the “short” shorts, headbands, striped socks, pirate shirts, high waisted jeans and then the transformation to the urban rocker, the urban city guy and finally into The Classic Gentleman!

1990’s Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras.  The 1990’s brought us the exciting and colorful personality of Andre Agassi contrasted by the boring as dust personality of his chief rival Pete Sampras.  Agassi went on to win eight-time Grand Slam singles and competed in fifteen Grand Slam finals, and an Olympic gold medalist.

Andre with former wife and Hollywood actress Brooke Shields.

Andre with wife and former tennis star Steffi Graf and their children.

Pete Sampras, a former #1 player during his 15-year career,  won 14 Grand Slam singles titles. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time.

2000’s Roger Federer & Rafael Nadal.  Roger is a Swiss professional tennis player. Many sports analysts, tennis critics, and former and current players consider Federer to be the greatest tennis player of all time.  Federer has won 16 Grand Slam singles titles, more than any other male player. He is one of six male players to have captured the career Grand Slam.  Federer also holds the record of reaching 10 consecutive Grand Slam finals and has appeared in 18 of the last 19.

The Roger Federer brand ubiquitously apparent through the “RF” logo on all things Roger related.

Not sure what the heck he was sporting back in 2008.  Not TCG approved!

And hawking the universally popular Rolex watches … Roger the pitchman can do it all.

Rafael Nadal, the Mallorca native finished as ATP World Tour No. 1 for second time in three years as he wrapped up top ranking after winning his first US Open title … Led ATP World Tour with seven titles in nine finals … He’s won at least five titles for six straight years … Seventh man in history to complete a career Grand Slam, youngest player in Open Era to win all four Grand Slam titles and first player to win three straight Grand Slam titles in same year since ‘69 when Rod Laver pulled off Grand Slam. As of Dec. 27, has been ranked No. 1 for 76 weeks in his career!

In conclusion, today’s urban look is worlds apart from the classic years of the bygone era when men sported crisp white slacks and sweaters.  The color blocking combinations of today and rippling biceps of the likes of Rafael Nadal … here to stay?

Game, Set, Match – Part 1 (1930’s to 1970’s)

The sport of tennis has been played for hundred’s of years, but the game as it is known today is about 130 years old.  With the Wimbledon finals coming up this Sunday, here’s a look at the game’s style evolution across the generations.

1930’s Henry “Bunny” Austin.   The British star was one of the first players ever to appear in shorts, he had movie star looks and a movie star wife, Phyllis Konstam, one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most beautiful leading ladies.  Austin’s fame in the 1930s was comparable with that of David Beckham today.

1940’s Jack Kramer.  American tennis star Jack Kramer was arguably the most multi-faceted man tennis has ever known, contributing to the sport on virtually every conceivable level, demonstrating high intelligence on and off the court and becoming a singularly influential individual on a wide range of fronts.  Above all else, Kramer was a towering champion, capturing his native US Championship twice at Forest Hills in 1946 and 1947 and winning Wimbledon with an awesome brand of power and aggression in 1947.

1950’s Lew Hoad.  Lew Hoad (1934-1994), tennis champion, was born in Sydney.  This photograph shows him playing in the Davis Cup at White City in 1955. The following year, he won the Wimbledon, French and Australian singles titles, but was prevented from winning the Grand Slam by his compatriot and ‘tennis twin’ Ken Rosewall in the final of the US Open. He won the Wimbledon doubles titles in 1953, 1955 and 1956 and the singles title again in 1957.

1960’s Rod Laver.  Laver dominated at a time when Ken Rosewall, Stan Smith, Arthur Ashe, Tony Roche, Pancho Gonzales, Lew Hoad and other top players were competing, so he proved himself against the best.   And as soon as the majors became open to professionals, Laver’s dominance was re-confirmed.    He won the first open Wimbledon in 1968, then won his second Grand Slam the following year.

The Adidas Originals Rod Laver today is one of the most popular tennis shoes ever … first developed in 1970 with the cooperation of tennis great. Kicks don’t get any more classic than this. Perfect with jeans, khakis or shorts these are a must have for any sneaker aficionado.

1970’s Jimmy Connors & Bjorn Borg.  Jimmy Connors won 109 titles (including eight Grand Slams) and, along with fellow gutty athlete/total jerk John McEnroe, actually got America excited about white men in tiny shorts hitting yellow balls.  Whoa – check out that hairstyle that Jimmy sported back then.

Bjorn Borg …  What is not to love about Bjorn Borg?  A mop of blond hair  and the awesome Fila uniforms, his tennis game was impeccable. Perfect mechanics of the sport, absolute precision and the placement of his shots, he was at the top of his game in the 70s and 80s.  Wimbledon was always a delight with his presence.

1980’s to 2000’s to follow in Part 2 … stay tuned.