Spike Lee talks base­ball and fresh looks

As the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox stage the first Major League Baseball game in Europe, we catch up with the decorated director.

Spike Lee might be bet­ter known for a career span­ning over 30 years, with movies such as Do the Right Thing, Mal­colm X and BlacK­kKlans­man, how­ev­er it was his love of base­ball that pro­vid­ed an inter­est­ing foot­note when he became instru­men­tal in intro­duc­ing the red New York Yan­kees hat in 1996.

The red Yan­kees hat; that’s the one that changed the whole game,” he tells us at the launch of the New Era x Spike Lee x New York Yan­kees Cham­pi­onship 59FIFTY cap at New Era Carn­a­by Street (pic­tured above – a sneak peek of one of sev­en styles that will be launch­ing glob­al­ly in Sep­tem­ber). Before that, teams had one colour and that was it. I want­ed a red hat to match my red top, and New Era said they couldn’t do any­thing with­out the per­mis­sion of the Yan­kees. So I went to the own­er of the Yan­kees — the now deceased George Stein­bren­ner — and he OK’d it.” The rest was base­ball cap history.

In anoth­er his­toric move, West Ham United’s foot­ball ground is trans­formed this week­end, when the Yan­kees face their bit­ter­est rivals, the Boston Red Sox, in a pair of match­es that mark the first Major League Base­ball games to be held in Europe. Lee will be in the stands, before mak­ing his way back to New York, for the 30th anniver­sary of Do the Right Thing. We’re hav­ing a big cel­e­bra­tion block par­ty,” he says.

If one thing’s for sure, it’s that Lee’s out­fit will be on point: the red cap being the tip of a sar­to­r­i­al ice­berg that has seen the direc­tor famous­ly rock every­thing from sports casu­al to zoot suits, all-black-every­thing to that incred­i­ble pur­ple suit cre­at­ed by Ozwald Boateng for this year’s Oscars.

Check out some of Spike’s great­est looks, from peace sign tees to some, admit­ted­ly dodgy, aquasocks below. 

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This is on the set of Do the Right Thing and I can tell by what I’m wear­ing on my feet that this is the scene where the kids wet the late Frank Vince while he was dri­ving in his drop top Cadil­lac. That’s why I had those things on my feet.”

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At that time, Jesse Jack­son was run­ning for the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca, so we put those posters up against the wall and had Mook­ie [Lee’s char­ac­ter in Do the Right Thing] take a pic­ture with the piz­za box­es. That’s a Brook­lyn Dodgers jer­sey. The Dodgers were in Brook­lyn before they moved to Los Ange­les and the jer­sey is a Jack­ie Robin­son jer­sey. Jack­ie Robin­son was the first African-Amer­i­can to play base­ball. He wore num­ber 42.”

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I for­got where this pic­ture was tak­en, but I like it a lot! This was actu­al­ly made into a postcard.”

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This was not tak­en on the set of Do the Right Thing – this is actu­al­ly in a stu­dio. We cre­at­ed a still for the film. This is the actor Dan­ny Aiel­lo who played Sal, and the rest weren’t even in the film – they were just extras.”

What you see right there is a piece of art that was from the film Mo Bet­ter Blues and this was in Bleek Gilliam’s loft. It’s not the real score­board, but a score­board of Brook­lyn Dodgers against the Yankees.”

The New Era x Spike Lee x New York Yan­kees Cham­pi­onship 59FIFTY cap at New Era Carn­a­by Street. 


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