For this installment of our Member profiles series, we’d like to introduce you to Steve Novak—Oklahoma City Thunder forward, boss shooter, and all-around stand-up gent. The famously affable baller sat down with us to talk style, game, giving back, and, of course, watches.
ELEVEN JAMES: Most people know you in uniform; how would you describe your style off the court?
STEVE NOVAK: Out of uninform, I would say my style is extremely casual. I always say the greatest part of being a basketball player is you can pretty much show up anywhere in sweats and people just say, ‘oh, it’s ok, he plays basketball.’ However, since the NBA implemented a dress code in 2005, it has drastically changed how players dress. Now, there are so many guys that take a great deal of pride in how they look and what they’re wearing. Guys are always looking for a way to be a little bit different and stand apart and in my case that is why I became an Eleven James Member.
EJ: How have you incorporated your Eleven James Membership into your style routines?
SN: For me, an Eleven James Membership was perfect because I have never been a huge watch owner and I wanted to learn a bit more about what I liked and what suited me best. Also, during the season I will wear a suit or similar three or four days a week but in the summer I’m dressed much more casually the majority of the time. Eleven James allows me to have dressier watches while I’m in season and more casual watches in the summertime. One of the biggest reasons I hadn’t bought many watches in the past was because I knew it would feel wasteful if I was only wearing them for half of the year. Membership allows me that flexibility.
EJ: What are some of your favorite Eleven James watches?
SN: So far, some of my favorite watches have been the Breitling Navitimer, Panerai 441, and the IWC Portuguese Chronograph. These watches have gone well with almost anything I wear. I am finding that diversity/flexibility to be one of the more important characteristics in the watches I prefer.
EJ: As an established veteran of 8 teams across 10 NBA seasons, can you share your perspective on how the league and game has evolved?
SN: The league and game itself has definitely evolved quite a bit. Obviously, you can look back and think about the days when Detroit had teams like the ‘bad boys’, and now teams that are considered more of finesse teams, like Golden State, are winning championships. But, there have also been rule adjustments, like no hand checking on defense, that have changed the way the game is played and that have allowed the area around the hoop to open up allowing more points to be scored. Now, we’re even seeing the famous hack-a-Shaq banned! Rule changes will continue to happen as the game and players evolve and get better but the single most progressive part of the NBA in my mind has been the ability for the world to access our league. The games can all be watched pretty much anywhere in the world and with social media, everyone now has the ability to stay up to the second on teams and even on players’ individual lives. To me, that has been the biggest difference from 10 years ago.
EJ: You seem to really enjoy working with kids in youth basketball programs. Tell us what that means to you.
SN: Basketball has always been very special to me. Growing up, my dad was a high school basketball coach and I had the advantage of growing up in the gym. From a very young age I was able to experience so many incredible things through the sport. When I was in high school, George Karl was the coach for the Milwaukee Bucks and I played basketball with his son, Coby. I’ve never forgotten what Coach Karl once told me, “if you’re good to the game of basketball, it will be good to you.” I have since felt like the game has been so good to me that I am obligated to share the game I love with as many kids as I can.
— STEVE NOVAK (@stevenovak16) May 2, 2015
Above, Steve shows off his Breitling Transocean Chronograph Unitime, available in our Connoisseur collection.