Suiting Up


Bryant McKinnieSTYLE: OK. First things first: What size suit are you?

McKINNIE: Honestly, I don’t even know. All my suits are custom. And since the last time I was measured, I’ve lost weight, so I don’t even know.

> Where do you get your clothes?
From a place in L.A. called Alba. That’s where I get my suits. There’s also a stylist in L.A. named April Roomet where I get my, I guess you could call it, ‘urban wear.’

> All right. How about shoe size?
18. But I have to do some tricky stuff because I like nice shoes—Gucci. The biggest I can find is a 151⁄2 so I buy them and take the insoles out and I wear really thin church socks and that’s the only way I can fit them.

> Wow, isn’t that uncomfortable?
Nah, it works. And the width is OK, too.

> Where did you get your fashion sense?
My mom was into fashion. Back when I was young and didn’t care about clothes, my mom always made sure I was well-dressed. As you become older, it kind of grows on you.

> Most people don’t think of big men as good dressers, do they?
Big guys get a bad rap for not knowing how to dress. And that’s not me. I think if you’re big, you need to dress nice because everybody sees you first, you know what I’m saying? If you’re a well-dressed big guy, people will notice. I always hear a lot of people say, ‘Oh, you can pull that off for a big guy.’ Because I’ll wear stuff that little guys wear that you wouldn’t expect big guys to wear. You’ve got to have confidence, too. I’m like a big walking billboard, so you might as well dress nice.

> So are you the best-dressed player on the team? 
I’m in the top five.

> Who else on the team dresses well?
Brendon Ayanbadejo. But he’s a label whore. I’m not into the labels. I think you can just put a few things together and they’ll look real nice—they don’t all have to be labels.

> Do you like any designers in particular?
Definitely Gucci, but all I can wear is the shoes. And I have a Gucci wallet. I like Louis Vuitton shades. And they make red bottom sneakers for guys. I like some of those.

> Who else on the team has good fashion sense?
Anquan Boldin dresses well. Ray Rice is putting himself in that category now, too. And Jimmy Smith.

> Who’s the worst?
Te Cody. He’s always wearing pajamas or something like that. It’s like pajamas and a T-shirt and book bag. He’s a big guy, so he should care a little more!

> Do you encourage other players to dress well?
A lot of them ask me now. That’s when I realized I should start taking it seriously. A lot of other big guys will ask me, ‘Where do you get your clothes from?’ Sometimes you probably have big guys who want to dress nice, but they don’t know where to get their clothes.

> Do you ever take them on shopping sprees?
We had a game in Philly and I took a bunch of the big guys to a [big and tall] shop in South Philly called Torre’s. Haloti [Ngata]. [Dannelle] Ellerbe was with us, too, though, he’s not a big, big guy. Michael Oher, Arthur Jones, Kemo [Ma’ake Kemoeatu]. Te Cody. See Cody bought his pajama pants that day, and I was like c’mon!

> I hear you also play tennis, which is another thing not many people associate with big guys.
I told Ray Lewis that I play and he was like, ‘Man, I would pay to see that. You’re too big to be playing tennis.’

> But you’ve had good teachers. How did you hook up with the Williams sisters?
I’ve been friends with [Venus and Serena Williams] since maybe ’05. I ran into them in L.A. when I was doing something for ESPN and I went out to dinner with the crew and they were at the table next to us. The lady from ESPN goes over there and tried to hook me up with Venus. And she was like, ‘Why can’t he come over here himself?’

> Did you get her number?
No, but I kept running into her in Miami and she was like, ‘All right, this must be meant to be. I’m going to give you my number. We’re going to hang out.’ So we started talking about football and tennis and I was telling her how long and hard football practice is and she said tennis practice was long and hard and I was like, ‘Not as hard as football!’ And it went back and forth and she was like, ‘Why don’t you try to play?’ And I went out there and I was like, ‘Wait, this is hard!’

> Is Venus a good teacher?
Yeah, she’s better than Serena. I’ve played against Serena, but she’s not a good teacher. She wants to play and beat you and that’s it. 

> So do you see fashion playing a bigger role in your life after football?
Eventually, I want to create my own line. Start out with jackets. A lot of big guys like rapper Rick Ross. He wears Levis and T-shirts, but the main thing is that he wears a jacket that makes it all look nice. I want to start a line of real fly jackets for big guys. Then get your shoes to match the jacket and it brings it all together.

> Do you think the Ravens dress better as a team than your former team, the Minesota Vikings?
Yeah. It seems there are more people who care about that here. The Vikings were kind of country. I don’t wear blue gator shoes. That’s a bit much!

*At press time, we learned that Bryant McKinnie was allegedly being sued for owing money to several Miami strip clubs—a claim he denies. Luckily, we talked with him about putting clothes on, not taking them off.

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