By Foster Nicholas | Sports Writer
Basketball has become a worldwide phenomenon for individual style, both on and off the court. When it comes to Baylor men’s basketball, everyone knows the fashionista in the squad is: Senior forward Jalen Bridges, nicknamed JB.
Even those who needed time to think about it came to the realization eventually.
“Man, I don’t even know. Everybody has some nice kicks,” redshirt junior guard Dantwan Grimes said. “Everybody has their own style. It’s kind of [a] variety. I don’t want to disappoint anybody, but Jalen has some great kicks.”
Senior forward Austin Sacks echoed Grimes’ comments.
“Oh, best shoe game? I have to think about this one for a second,” Sacks said. “Jalen. Jalen Bridges brings out great shoes.”
Grimes and Sacks’ sentiment were met with the same enthusiasm from everyone on the team, as Bridges was unanimously dubbed as having the best sneaker game on the squad.
“I feel like when you look good, you feel good, and as a result, you play good,” Bridges said. “So I just try to always carry myself in a nice way. I like everything to match. For example, I’ll have a black shirt with a little bit of gray in it, with a tiny, tiny bit of red — like shoes have a tiny bit of red. It’s just little things like that. It’s all the details that make it work.”
Bridges transferred to Baylor from West Virginia prior to the 2022-23 season and started all 34 games for the Bears. However, Bridges joked that making the move also improved his style.
“I’m very big on color coordination,” Bridges said. “Now I have way more options than I did with navy blue and gold for shoes. I get to throw in the neon green and all those other colors.”
While Bridges agreed that he always brings the “heat,” for the most part, the rest of the team is still in the modern era.
“Don’t get it twisted,” Bridges said. “Jon [Tchamwa Tchatchoua] over there — Jon has some heat in his locker. He just doesn’t bring it out all the time. I don’t think anyone needs my help, but Josh [Ojianwuna’s] selection could be a little bit better.”
Far from “Fugazi,” Bridges said he loves rocking his Kobe 6 sneakers on the floor, matching his green and gold uniform. The 6-foot-9 forward’s style may be on point off the court, but Bridges said he brings a style and ability that he hopes leads to personal and team success.
“Personally, I just want to be the best version of myself,” Bridges said. “I just want to solidify myself as an NBA player, for real, no matter what that looks like. If that’s defensive player of the year, who knows? Team-wise, I just feel like we need to be the best version of ourselves. I feel like we can’t get caught up in comparing ourselves to past teams or future teams. I feel like we just have to be present. If we do that, we’ll go as far as we want.”
The Bears’ season opener is a neutral-site battle with Auburn at 8 p.m. Nov. 7 in the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.