Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Gets Cozy With Kim Kardashian
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, or SGA as he’s known to basketball fans around the world, is an unstoppable comet on the court, and is primed to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to their best season in years. But off-court, the 25-year-old Canadian superstar is a fashion week regular, known for his pregame fits as much as he is for his jumpshot. One person who took notice is Kim Kardashian, who made Shai one of the faces of her viral Skims Men’s launch campaign, and called him up while he was on the team bus to find out what’s up.
THURSDAY 1 PM OCT. 26, 2023 OKLAHOMA CITY
KIM KARDASHIAN: Hi Shai!
SHAI GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: Hey Kim, how’s it going?
KARDASHIAN: I’m good! So the Skims campaign came out this week. Thank you so much for being a part of it. How’s it been for you?
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: It’s been crazy.
KARDASHIAN: I’ll bet. So let me jump right in. You have such amazing skin. Do you have a morning skin care routine?
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: I honestly don’t use any skin products.
KARDASHIAN: Wow, that’s surprising. What’s your morning routine?
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: I usually have a shootaround in the morning. I eat breakfast before that. And then we have a team film session and after that go over the game plan. Then I usually go back to my room, stretch a little, and then I nap. Then get up, get ready, get dressed, and go eat before we head to the arena.
KARDASHIAN: Nice. Do you have any pregame rituals? I always want to know what people’s pregame songs are.
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: I don’t listen to any music before a game. It helps clear my mind so I’m not thinking too much. But I always eat an apple before I go up.
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: Yeah, growing up I listened to music and it got me too riled up, so I stopped and it worked.
KARDASHIAN: Super interesting. Are you a shit-talker on the court? And are you born with it? Or did you see that everyone else was talking and so you were like, “Oh, I got to do this.”
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: [Laughs] I never start it. But I’m a super competitor, so if someone talks shit, I’ll have no problem following up. But I don’t say nothing until someone starts shit.
KARDASHIAN: What’s your favorite way to kill time when you’re traveling on road trips?
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: I go shopping in cities that have good shopping spots.
KARDASHIAN: So you’re not a card player, like an Onze kind of guy?
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: No, I stay away from cards. They gamble too much.
KARDASHIAN: Yep. So mental well-being is such a big topic, especially among athletes who play at a top level like you. How do you de-stress?
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: A lot of it I do with friends and family, just because they give me a getaway from the spotlight, the NBA life. A lot of them are back home and live everyday lives, so I get to step away from all the craziness that this life brings when I’m with them.
KARDASHIAN: It’s so important to have a good support system.
KARDASHIAN: How do you unwind after a game?
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: Honestly, I go eat. And then I usually just chill out, watch TV. I turn my phone off because everyone’s going either good or bad after the game. I just chill.
KARDASHIAN: I like that. Outside of the game, what else are you really passionate about? Do you have any hobbies?
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: Yeah, I love soccer, I love tennis, and I love fashion. Those are my three.
KARDASHIAN: I played soccer growing up and I went to tennis camp, so I feel you.
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: Were you any good?
KARDASHIAN: I was pretty good at soccer.
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: Oh nice.
KARDASHIAN: Tennis I was okay at. I got in trouble at tennis camp. I have stories, but I’ll save it for an-other day. So I already said it earlier, but I’m so honored that you agreed to be a part of our Skims Men’s launch campaign, so thank you for that. What is most important to you in terms of comfort and performance from clothing?
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: The most important thing for me is how it feels on my skin. That’s probably number one, because it’s usually the first layer under my outfit or whatever I’m wearing, so how it feels against my skin is the most important.
KARDASHIAN: Yeah. If I just see wool, I start itching.
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: [Laughs] Exactly.
KARDASHIAN: I can’t even put it on. I think I’m allergic in my head. How did you get into fashion and where do you find inspo for your outfits?
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: In my family, we always were taught to be presentable coming out of the house. So being put together was something that was always instilled in us. And then as I got older, my friends were into it, so I was into it. And then having the platform that I have now, I’ve been able to run with it and take it to another level.
KARDASHIAN: I love that. Now I need to see a picture of your parents. I love that they instilled that in you. I felt that from my grandma, always wanting to be super presentable. Who’s your favorite designer?
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: My favorite designer—
KARDASHIAN: [Kardashian’s son Saint West appears on Zoom] This is Saint. Okay, leave me alone for a minute. I’m working. Okay? Love you. [Saint leaves]
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: My favorite designer. I’d probably say Virgil.
KARDASHIAN: Love that vibe. If you had to name one trait or attribute you’ve gotten from your mother, what would it be? And then one from your father?
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: My mom was an Olympian. She ran track for Antigua. So besides the athletic traits, I probably got her determination and her work ethic. She instilled that if you want something in life, you go get it.
KARDASHIAN: And it’s so crazy because you can say that as a parent all day long—
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: Yeah, exactly.
KARDASHIAN: But it’s what they see from you.
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: Exactly. What’s the best advice you’ve received from your mom about running an empire?
KARDASHIAN: It’s really crazy because—are both of your parents alive?
KARDASHIAN: So my father is not, and [people] always give more praise to the dead parent, so we tell my mom all the time, “We love you so much, thank you so much.” But all the advice that we remember is from our dad because you try to hold onto it so much. So I always remember him saying, “Blood is thicker than water.” “Family is everything.” And a lot of Armenian advice, “Know who you are, never change your last name.” They tried to get Armenians to change our last name when moving to America, to not be so Armenian. So he would say stuff like that, and my mom was more of an example of, like, “Okay, we’re going to figure it out. We’re going to follow your dreams.” She wouldn’t specifically say it, but it was, like, work for what you want. You can always figure it out. You can always pivot. She started her career in her fifties, so you can do whatever you want whenever you want. More that vibe. What’s the one trait from your dad?
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: He has an insane amount of confidence, and I think to be an outlier in society or in whatever you do, to be great at whatever you do.
KARDASHIAN: Love that. What have you learned from your younger brother?
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: My younger brother, he’s part of the group of people that I go to, to get away. He always keeps me grounded. He’s never too high, he’s never too low and he’s super funny. So he’s always a breath of fresh air.
KARDASHIAN: What do you think he’s learned from you?
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: I think the biggest thing he’s probably learned from me is keeping your circle small and having the most important people that you care about around you and loving them in the right way. Obviously in this business it could get tricky with relationships and stuff like that, and as he’s finding his way, he’s learned that. We talked about that a little bit.
KARDASHIAN: Siblings are the best.
KARDASHIAN: Can’t survive without them. I always like to say, no regrets, and always look ahead. As you think about things that have shaped you from the past, what is one of the most important things that comes to mind that’s shaped you?
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: Like a saying?
KARDASHIAN: Just anything that’s happened in your life, or was there a moment or period of time that has led you to where you’re at today? Just from your past, where people could say, like, “Oh shit, this happened and it could have destroyed me and ruined me in my life, but instead I went this way.” That, “Even though it could have really taken me down, I didn’t let it and it actually made me a better person.”
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: I got cut from a basketball team that I probably should have made when I was younger. And my mom told me, you could either cry about it or you could make them regret it. That approach to life in hitting adversity changed the course of my career on and off the court, for sure.
KARDASHIAN: I love that saying. You can cry about it or make them regret it. I’m going to use that with my kids. It’s so true, though. But I also think you have that in you to feel that, to make them regret it. You have that secret.
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: It puts a chip on your shoulder.
KARDASHIAN: Yeah. I saw that you named your top five players. Actually, I saw this because since I’ve posted you, now my “For You” page is interviews of you and stuff that you did. So I actually saw a picture of your starting five and it was Kobe, Jordan, Iverson, Shaq, and Durant. Outside of basketball, who are the five people you’d like to spend a day with? I always like to say dead or alive.
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: If he was still here, Virgil Abloh, for sure. Drake is my brother. He’s also a basketball fan and obviously I love music, so we connect. Vinícius Júnior, he’s a soccer player that I’ve been able to connect with. He’s a cool guy. Denzel Washington’s my favorite actor of all time. I feel like I could learn a lot from him. I have so many questions to ask him about his roles.
KARDASHIAN: I bet you could make that happen. I bet he would be a fan and would say, “You know what? I would love to answer all your questions and have a meal with you.”
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: I wish.
KARDASHIAN: Maybe after this.
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: Then lastly I would say for sure Kobe, if he was still here. That’s my number one idol growing up. Mamba mentality, how he played, how he approached the game, how he approached off the court, everything about him. Sad I never got to meet him before he passed away.
KARDASHIAN: Yeah, I feel that.
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: What about yourself? Or you’ve probably met everyone already.
KARDASHIAN: No, no, no. I mean if I could have a day with anyone, I would have a day with my dad. Then Jesus. Marilyn Monroe. My ultimate celebrity crush is JFK Jr., so him. I would like to meet JFK as well, but just to go for a meal. Is that five? If not, Jackie O. I’d love to see my grandparents, too, but yeah, that’s it. Just a casual 10 people I’m throwing in there. Yeah, so that’s all I had for you, so go enjoy your day. Thank you.
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: Will do. Thank you so much.
KARDASHIAN: Of course. Thanks you guys for all getting on. And if there’s anything else that you want me to ask you, let me know, but this is super cool because Interview magazine is one of my faves. And I feel like it’s all just the beginning for you, Shai. I am really excited for you.
GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER: Yeah, me too.
Grooming: Teresa Luz using B3 Balm and Danessa Myricks Beauty.
Production: Brandon Kobs.