Interviews Nate Burleson / Photo courtesy of Nate's Instagram

Published on December 20th, 2017 | by Darren Paltrowitz


NFL Legend & Broadcaster Nate Burleson On Drake, Fashion, And His New Nate Burleson King Leo Collection

A popular NFL player from 2003 through 2014, Nate Burleson is not the only star athlete from the Burleson family. His father Alvin was playing in the Canadian Football League when Nate was born. Nate’s brother Alvin Jr. played college football, older brother Kevin was on the roster of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats, and younger brother Lyndale was part of the University of Nevada Wolf Pack’s basketball program. Prior to making it into the NFL, Nate had also been a star track & field athlete in high school, then an All-American and an NCAA record-setter while playing football in college.

After leaving the Cleveland Browns in 2014, Nate Burleson moved over the broadcast booth. This led to working as an analyst for the NFL Network and as a color commentator for the Detroit Lions. He quickly proved to be a popular broadcaster, leading to a proper co-hosting gig on the NFL Network’s Good Morning Football in 2016. Earlier this year, Nate joined the NFL Today broadcast team on CBS.

Being a retired NFL star and an in-demand broadcaster isn’t enough for Nate Burleson, who is also known as a style connoisseur. He has launched several fashion collections, the latest of which is the Nate Burleson King Leo Collection for Baynes + Baker. The King Leo Collection was launched last week in New York as part of a pop-up store in SoHo. I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with Mr. Burleson about the past, present and future of his fashion career, and how else likes to spend his free time. In the meantime, you can follow Nate Burleson on Twitter via @Nate13Burleson.

When did you first become interested in fashion?

Nate Burleson: I was eight years old and I would take old sweatpants pull the drawstring out, sew that into the actual waistband of the pants and make beanies out of it. It was something I saw in an old-school movie where guys were rocking beanies. I went to home ec and I knew there was a certain sense of demand, and if you had a demand, then people would pay for that demand. So it started before I was the age of 10.

How did you and Baynes + Baker first connect?

Nate Burleson: I was in Vancouver at a Drake concert, blitzed out of my mind and having a great night. My man Ravi was there and he said, “Yo, let’s connect in the next couple of weeks.” After he sent me some clothing, I knew that he could add to what I was doing on TV and that I could add something to what he does as a brand and him and his team made it possible.

How would you describe your collection to someone who hasn’t yet checked it out?

Nate Burleson: It’s literally the most affordable way to be the most confident version of yourself without going broke. I hate fashion that costs people their finances. Fashion shouldn’t make you broke. Fashion should be affordable and let you look fly as fuck.

Do you have a favorite piece from the collection?

Nate Burleson: My favorite piece in the collection is a wool coat. Anytime you see a wool coat, anything that looks expensive is usually way too expensive. I remember being on the phone with Rav and I was like, “You’re telling me the wool coat is going to cost under $500?” And I was thinking, “You guys are gonna go broke because the quality is insane.” We’re gonna put women and men in wool coats and mine is fly, it’s double-breasted and is so fantastic.

How long did it take to put the Nate Burleson King Leo Collection collection together, from concept to manufacturing?

Nate Burleson: It didn’t take long, being that I have a clothing line called Lion Blood, and I think that I’m the only lion out here trying to hunt. It’s my way of accepting life’s challenges, so when he came up with the idea of us possibly doing something together, I told him I don’t want money. Let’s just collaborate, let’s just make queens and kings out of our collection, so it didn’t take long.

Might there be a third pop-up shop? Is the plan to get your collection into a lot of stores in the long-term?

Nate Burleson: Hell yeah, we’re just getting started. So I purposely didn’t wear any ties tonight because I want to do an accessories brand. I want to call it “the little things.” Everything from bracelets, cufflinks, ties, pocket squares, lapel candy, socks. I’m really big on unisex. As much as we like to separate genders, we all want to look the same. The more we find balance is the more we find each other. When you think about certain glasses that you really really love, or fragrances, it’s odd because the other gender usually really really loves it. so I wanna make a collection called “the little things.”

Launch event and NFL Today aside, any other projects you can talk about?

Nate Burleson: I got a few different things going on. I just launched a collection with Mitchell and Ness, one of the most storied sports franchises in history, known for throwback jerseys and giving people a sense of pride on sports history. I also have the toe drag swag shirts which are online right now and are probably going to sell out pretty fast.

When not busy with work, how do you like to spend your free time?

Nate Burleson: I am a coach. I like to chill, relax and watch movies. I am a casual drinker, I try to find the best energy I can possibly find.

Who do you think is going to win the Superbowl this year?

Nate Burleson: Pittsburgh Steelers. Beginning of the season I thought it was the Patriots. Right now I think the Steelers have the best chance.

Finally, Nate, any last words for the kids?

Nate Burleson: Dream as big as possible. Like as big as you can possibly dream. And even if you don’t capture that, you’ll fall on greatness. There’s no time to dim a lightswitch. You’re either on or off. Turn that switch on and turn it on for the rest of your life. That success will make people uncomfortable, but if you’re secure with who you are, your success will motivate the people around you and it will be the most rewarding thing ever so dream big.

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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World,, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of weekly "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" series, which airs on dozens on television and digital networks. He has also co-authored 2 published books, 2018's "Pocket Change: Your Happy Money" (Book Web Publishing) and 2019's "Good Advice From Professional Wrestling" (6623 Press), and co-hosts the world's only known podcast about David Lee Roth, "The DLR Cast."

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