Tall Orders

Local tailor clothes the NBA

K.W. Wong admits that he's learned a few things about basketball over the years. "But," he says, "I still ask questions when someone's sitting next to me at the games." That statement may seem strange coming from a man who's worked with quite a few NBA superstars, but his specialty isn't sports. It's suits.

Wong began outfitting players in 1986, when he happened to meet Hakeem Olajuwon. "I wasn't a sports fan," says Wong. "So I didn't really know who he was." Olajuwon gave Wong his first NBA tailoring job, and before long his one-man company, Clothing Design Service, was making suits exclusively for NBA players. "I don't really have time outside of the NBA," says Wong. At one time, Wong's clients included more than two-thirds of the league's players, and he still works with more than half. When a team comes through Houston, Wong stops by their hotel, measuring tape in hand. Recently, he made a suit for the next great Rocket, Yao Ming, and he has worked with Superman himself, Shaquille O'Neal.

Wong doesn't go to as many games as he once did, but now and then he still watches hoops. With so many customers on opposing teams, who does he cheer for? "I never root for any one over the other," he says. "I don't pick favorites." But apparently they pick him. -- Eric Norvell

Kewl Kayaks

4-19

For most of us, a kayak is a kayak. But some folks out there can't enjoy a weekend on the lake unless their gear is cooler than the next guy's. At SouthWest PaddleSports' Paddlefest, you can test-paddle the latest Perception, Ocean Kayak, Aqua-Hurricane, Dagger, Cobra and Islander. "There will be plenty of people with knowledge of kayaks out there," says C.J. Denton of PaddleSports, "so they can pick our brains." Workshops and demonstrations on basic paddling, kids' kayaking and advanced strokes will be held throughout the day. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 19. North Shore Park off Lake Woodlands Drive. For information or directions, call 1-800-937-2335. Free. -- Cathy Matusow

Tennis, Dude?

4-20

All right, Mattress Mac, we get it. World-class tennis is back in Houston, though the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships won't exactly be "classy." Posters portray the athletes as pissed-off boxers eager to kick some ass, because that's really what Americans want, right? This isn't Wimbledon, where they sip champagne and nosh on strawberries and cream. Give us some beers and peanuts, and let's thrash! The hardest-hitting men's tennis stars will go head to head; Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Andy Roddick and Tommy Haas have all signed on. But first the real entertainment. The weeklong tournament kicks off April 20 with an exhibition doubles match: Agassi and TV's Dr. Phil take on Roddick and former Houston Rocket Clyde Drexler. Classy? Not really. Classic? Definitely. Sunday, April 20, to Sunday, April 27. Westside Tennis Club, 1200 Wilcrest. For information, call 713-783-1620. For a match schedule and results, visit www.mensclaycourt.com. $30 to $60. -- Troy Schulze

 
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