The Making of an Outfit and an Athlete: Mo Bamba

By Megan Gustashaw

Ambitious, charming, stylish, and kind-hearted; Mo Bamba embodies the Express man in every way. The fact that he also happens to be one of the most promising young players in basketball is just a very cool bonus. Not that being an elite athlete happened to Bamba simply by accident; the 20-year-old Harlem native spends the majority of his life working on his game, whether he’s on the court, in the gym, reading about the sport, or playing chess—another mind game. The best part about meeting Bamba—as we did this week when we fitted him for his first Express suit—is soaking in his genuine passion for basketball and realizing that nothing makes him happier than being on the hardwood. (May we all find our jobs so fulfilling.)

During the styling session we asked Bamba a few questions about his style, game, and goals. Here’s what he had to say:

What do you love most about your sport?

I love the competition aspect, feeding into everyone else’s fire—adding a little twist of my own fuels me.

What’s your state of mind like going into the NBA draft?

Kind of loose because I don’t really know what to expect. I have a lot of friends who have been drafted and they don’t have all the answers because it’s so personal.

What song or activity/hobby is helping you stay calm and positive right now?

I actually just go to the gym and shoot. It’s really therapeutic for me, and I can work on my craft.

What goals do you have for your game or career in the future?

I have very high expectations for myself playing in this league. One goal I set for myself is first team all defense and defensive player of the year. There are daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals, long term goals. I just try to maximize my time wherever I am.  

What do you like to do when you aren’t playing basketball or getting fitted for suits at Express?

When I’m not playing basketball, lot of the things I do now are to impact how I play basketball. If I’m sitting at home, I’m reading up on articles. Other than basketball, I love travel. I love being with friends. I love chess; it’s very much like basketball.

You mentioned you have a lot of gray suits. What made you choose blue or how are you feeling about this suit?

I love the blue. You can do a lot. You can do different things with the shoes. I think blue is a very versatile color.

You were born in 1998. Who were your style icons growing up?

I didn’t necessarily have any style icons, although I did follow the trend of whatever my brother was wearing. I went through a tracksuit phase at some point during my middle school years.

What style tip or trick have you learned in the process of being fitted for a suit?

I learned that the slim look is hot and in right now as opposed to the baggy look of 10 or 15 years ago. Same thing as basketball, I try to steal or emulate as much as possible from different people. If I see something and I really like it, I’ll try to see how it looks on and if I can pull it off.

You had the custom liner made.

The liner I got in my suit is pretty simple; I didn’t want to go all out like some guys. I see some guys be pretty gold. I just have my street sign, it just means a lot to me. It’s where I got started—112th and Lenox Ave, where I was born and raised.

DRESS LIKE A PRO: Extra Slim Blue Cotton Sateen Suit, Small Dot Narrow Silk Tie, Leather Cap Toe Oxford Dress Shoe