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Chicago's fashion shock jock

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Besides being a three-time NBA champion with the Miami Heat, Chicago native Dwyane Wade is also a champion of style. Regarded as one of the best-dressed players in the league, Wade's style has garnered a lot of attention.

The short pants suit he wore during the second-round playoff series with the Bulls last season is one example. So is the floral print jacket by Versace he wore during the postseason. Some loved the outfits, others hated them, but they kept people talking regardless.

Well, D-Wade is out to generate a conversation of a different kind as he prepares to launch his line of signature neckties in conjunction with The Tie Bar. The Gentleman by Dwyane Wade collection will launch in the fall and feature approximately 30 bowties, 15 neckties, 15 pocket squares and an assortment of tie bars and cufflinks, all designed by Wade himself.

RedEye caught up with Wade at the James Hotel on Monday to talk about his newest venture, fashion in the NBA and, of course, basketball.

You've reinvented yourself as one of the most fashionable people in the NBA. How did that come about?

I don't know, man. I just like to dress. I think I'm the kind of person that really doesn't care too much about what people think about my style; I kind of do what I'm comfortable with. And from that, I was able to go places and see different things. I started to go to fashion shows. I started creating relationships with different designers. … It just developed from there. Now I'm able to design my own socks, I'm able to design my own ties. So I'm able to just have fun with fashion.

Do you wear things for shock value? Do you genuinely like the things you wear, or is it a combination?

It's a combination of both. I won't put anything on that I don't like, first of all, but style is about taking chances. Style is about what you prefer. Fashion to me is about taking chances as well, so I knew that when I wore certain things it was going to be like [a shock]. People don't really see athletes dress like that and it's not really what's expected. I've never been the kind of kid or the kind of guy to ever do what's expected because I wasn't expected to be where I am today.

Who are some of the best-dressed players in the NBA?

I respect guys like Amar'e [Stoudemire], Tyson [Chandler]. I like Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, I like Paul George, and obviously my teammates LeBron [James] and Chris [Bosh] dress very well.

Derrick Rose is back, and Indiana has made changes as well. As defending champs, are the Heat again ready to be everyone's target?

We've had a target on our back for three strong years, but that's what you play the game for. We understand that the league is as good as it's been. The Eastern Conference is as good as it's been with D-Rose coming back; the Bulls are already a tough team. The Pacers, the power shifting over to Brooklyn— it's going to be very exciting year and if we can stay healthy, we'll be right in the mix.

Bryan Crawford is a RedEye special contributor.

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