The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer


From Fordham Basketball to Fashion Icon

Examining the style decisions of Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington over the years
Academy Award-winning actor and former junior varsity basketball player at Fordham Denzel Washington, FCLC ’77, is known for his elegant and refined fashion sense

When you think about the Fordham basketball program, the first thing that you think of may not be impressive fashion statements. Coverage of the players typically focuses on their on-court contributions rather than their apparel choices outside of the gym. There is one man, however, in Fordham’s storied basketball history that has defied this trend: Denzel Washington, Fordham College at Lincoln Center ’77. 

The Academy Award-winning actor is known today for his numerous roles in various acclaimed movies and plays, but during his time at Fordham he also played for the junior varsity basketball team. Before pursuing a career in theater and film, Washington made the team headed by notable collegiate and NBA coach and broadcaster P.J. Carlesimo, Fordham College at Rose Hill ’71.

While he was not recruited and never played for the varsity basketball team, Washington had athletic talent that stood out. What’s more, Washington had a level of commitment that separated him from some of his peers, despite being a non-scholarship player.

“He was a level above 95 percent of the student body,” Carlesimo recalled in an interview with ESPN in 2013. “Very few of the scholarship athletes over the years were Lincoln Center guys, and it’s really a tough chore to be taking a lot of your classes at Lincoln Center and still have to get up to Rose Hill in the afternoon or evening for practice.”

Carlesimo also recounted Washington’s demeanor, claiming that “success has not changed him.” Statements like this speak to Washington’s sense of style. It is rare to see the acclaimed actor wearing flashy or uncomfortable outfits. 

Washington is known for his well-trimmed suits, stylish jackets, plain T-shirt and jeans combos, and an occasional hat.

GQ even stated that Washington “pulled off nice, normal fits better than anyone else,” and featured him on the cover of its October 2012 Special Issue titled “Our Big Fall Style Playbook.” Speaking of GQ, I think it’s safe to say that Washington is the only former member of the Fordham basketball program to make the cover of the esteemed fashion, style and culture magazine. 

Washington is known for his well-trimmed suits, stylish jackets, plain T-shirt and jeans combos, and an occasional hat. These may sound like obvious pieces of clothing, but to really pull them off requires confidence and precise coordination.

While Washington’s fashion choices reflect his persona, they haven’t been developed alone: The famous actor has worked with stylists throughout his career, most recently veteran wardrobe stylist Linda Medvene. According to Medvene’s website, she specializes in “elegance, taste and understated refinement,” making her a perfect fit for Denzel’s personal style.

In sum, Washington has been rocking his cool and casual look since he broke onto the scene in the ’90s. When he got off a plane at LAX in 1993, he was photographed wearing one of his most typical looks: stylishly sporting a pair of blue jeans, a plain T-shirt, a comfortable pair of shoes, sunglasses, and a Yankees fitted hat. It turns out that you don’t have to break the bank to turn heads when you’re out and about!

So whenever someone tells you that Fordham athletes can never have any style, feel free to correct them. Just point to fashion icon Mr. Denzel Washington.

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About the Contributor
CHRIS MURRAY, Former Sports & Health Editor
Chris Murray (he/him), FCRH ’24, is a former sports & health editor at The Observer. He is a political science and humanitarian studies double major with a minor in psychology. He is a Mets, Knicks and Rangers fan and spends his time trying new food or enjoying the outdoors.

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