HERNANDO, Miss — When talking about NBA Draft night, one of the most interesting parts is seeing how the new rookies dress. Memphis Grizzlies rookie Kennedy Chandler rolled into his NBA Draft Party in a custom suit repping his home town and the man who designed that suit resides in the Mid-South, but his business is nationwide.
Chandler was the best dressed man in the building for his NBA Draft Watch Party. His suit had nods to his one year playing for the Tennessee Volunteers and the Hernando Desoto Bridge in his hometown of Memphis, where he’ll play as a rookie.
The story behind that suit is the result of a years long promise made to Kennedy's mom, Shanette, by Clarence Jones.
"The mother used to always want me to make Kennedy’s clothes. She would always say, ‘CJ I want you to make Kennedy’s clothes when he gets drafted'” said Jones, founder of CJ's Custom Clothiers.
Jones made clothes for and had known Chandler's parents for years and made good on his promise on NBA Draft night.
Jones has always been obsessed with the details, evident in the meticulous accessories in his own style and on display in the suits of his clients.
"I’ve always been into fashion, even in high school. I was always one of the better dressed kids I would say through high school, through college," Jones said.
Jones played college basketball himself at LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis. He got started in fashion nearly 30 years ago when he became apprentice to Nico Perkins. His first major client was his best friend - former NBA star Tim Hardaway.
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Since then he's built a client list that spans nearly three decades and includes players and coaches from college, the NFL and NBA.
"I’ve been in the NBA, NFL draft I want to say almost 20 years. I’ve had multiple picks. I’ve had best dressed three, maybe four times in each draft. My best draft to date was this year," Jones said.
That’s because he dressed four first rounders in the 2022 NFL Draft - Ahmad Gardner (New York Jets), Evan Neal (New York Giants), Kenyon Green (Houston) and Treylon Burks (Tennessee).
Just a few short months later he dress another four draft picks in this year’s NBA draft – Kennedy Chandler (Memphis), Josh Minott (Minnesota), Jalen Duren (Detroit), whose suit was named one of the best of the night by GQ and third overall pick Jabari Smith (Houston), whose suit he made on short notice.
"I paid my people work through the weekend. I made a suit for Jabari Smith in four days and had it hand delivered to him in Chicago," Jones said.
Going the extra mile is normal for Jones. He often flies across the country or gets up in the middle of the night to hand deliver to his clients personally. It’s all about quality customer service.
"Relationships will get you into places that money won’t get you in and so that one-on-one personal relationship, personal touch. It’s important," Jones said.
The next time you see a fly suit on draft day, there’s a good chance it was CJ’s Custom Clothiers.