OKLAHOMA CITY -- Initially, the last time Steven Adams could remember wearing proper pants -- non-sweatpants division -- he was about to be drafted into the NBA.
That was in 2013. But though Adams later remembered putting on a suit in 2016 for Russell Westbrook's Oklahoma Hall of Fame event -- "That was probably the last time I wore like shoes and stuff," he said -- he shocked the world Wednesday, strolling through the back hallways of Chesapeake Energy Arena to the Oklahoma City Thunder locker room dressed in a blue three-piece suit, topped with a brown cabbie hat.
What got Adams to break his traditional style of sweatpants, camo jacket and flip flops? Chris Paul bought him a suit and told him to wear it.
"He was like, 'Wear it to the game, it's a team thing,'" Adams said. "I was like, 'Ah s---, I have to wear it.' I was just gonna hang it up."
Every player on the Thunder roster arrived to Wednesday night's 126-122 win against the Memphis Grizzlies wearing a custom tailored suit, set up and paid for by Paul. He had the idea in the preseason, then brought in a tailor to fit the team a couple of games into the season. The suits finally arrived Wednesday.
"This summer I was at home and saw something with my family, and I remember as a young guy I didn't necessarily have different things and whatnot, and it was just a gift," Paul said. "[Darius Bazley] said this is the first suit he ever had, so to see him is cool.
"And the cool part about it isn't even what it is, it's that fact we did it together."
NBA games are a de facto red carpet event now, with players showing up wearing designer clothes, strutting across cold concrete floors in the bowels of arenas as if it's a modeling runway. For Adams, though, it was a significant adjustment, with it leaving him confused how players do that sort of thing for every game.
"I didn't realize how much time it takes to put on all that s---," he said. "It's a lot longer than I take normally. I didn't account for it. I was just like, 'Eh, f--- this, mate.'"
"A lot of buttons, a lot of weird little things," he said. "It's a three-piece suit, which means more buttons. ... But it's all pre-made Italian stuff."
"Suit Night" for the Thunder is somewhat similar to what LeBron James did with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the 2018 playoffs. It's a show of appreciation and leadership from Paul, who has been committed to showing his investment in the Thunder this season after being traded by the Houston Rockets to OKC over the summer.
Paul's pick for best look?
"It might be Steve-O, I'm telling you, man," Paul said, laughing. "Steve-O, never seen him with a pair of shoes on, other than his hoops shoes. So my man Steve-O came in here fresh with his hat on."
Though Paul paid for the suit, the hat was all Adams. He wanted to make sure he gets the credit for that. He has been watching "Peaky Blinders" on Netflix and went to get his beard trimmed, and the barber was selling hats similar to those worn on the show. So he bought one, not knowing if or when he'd actually ever wear it.
"So I bought one, and I was just like, 'Oh, I'll wear this one day.' Happened to get a suit, and I was like, 'Hey! I get to use it!'" he said.
Suit night was a lot more fun than the game appeared to be early on, with the Thunder falling behind by 24 to the Grizzlies. With a furious comeback late in the third quarter, the Thunder won. It's the second straight game the Thunder engineered a big comeback, after they rallied from 26 down against the Chicago Bulls on Monday. OKC is the first team in the past 20 years to win consecutive games it trailed by at least 24, according to research by Elias Sports Bureau.
It led to a fun postgame locker room, with everyone admiring one another's looks and busting jokes about the chosen accessories. Paul went around the room, cracking up about his teammates in their suits, pointing out Dennis Schroder and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's shades. He loved the color of Nerlens Noel's outfit. The rookie Darius Bazley walked by as Paul was wrapping up his media session.
"Baze right here," Paul said, "looking like '[The] Pursuit of Happyness.'"
Naturally, as the players gathered for a photo of everyone in their threads, the team was forced to wait on Adams, who was the last one to get ready. When is the next time Adams sees himself wearing a suit?
"Probably my funeral, mate."