Deion Sanders recently covered GQ’s inaugural Sports Style Hall of Fame issue and discussed his journey to becoming Coach Prime. He also showcased his fashion sense and doubled down on his controversial Jackson State departure.

Deion Sanders GQ

Source: Adrienne Raquel/GQ

Sanders has been the topic of conversation for decades and the second he was drafted to the Atlanta Falcons covered in gold with his Jheri curl that was “dry but it looked wet,” the game changed. Considering his standout style, Sanders officially brought swagger, flavor, and drip to the NFL. Primetime forever changed football as a player and now he’s changing it again as Coach Prime. After departing Jackson State with a winning record as head coach, he is elevating his employment to Colorado as the school’s new head coach.

Considering his standout style, GQ chose him to cover its inaugural Style Hall of Fame issue.

Deion Sanders Talks Style, Football, and Elevation For GQ’s Inaugural ‘Sports Hall of Fame’ Issue

In GQ’s inaugural Sports Hall of Fame issue Deion discusses the constant attention he’s received from his teenage years and reflects on the creation of “Primetime” and his signature fashion.

“That was just me doing me,” he said when asked about his fashion choices back then. “Never had no stylist.” He was always pushing the envelope of the dress code. “But I never went against what was right,” he said. “I would always walk right up to the line because it was making a statement as well.”

When talking about the difference between Neon Deion and Primetime as opposed to Coach Prime, Deion gives credit to social media.

“You got to understand, when I was playing, there was no social media,” explained Sanders. “So whatever story they wrote, that’s what it was. Now you have an opportunity to be definitive, to explain yourself, to be transparent, and as you.”

Perhaps the standout quote of the GQ profile comes from his friend and Georgia pastor E. Dewey Smith Jr and not Deion himself. Pastor Smith describes a visit with Deion last winter while he was at Jackson State. Smith could see the challenges he faced behind the scenes weighing on Deion. Perhaps his quote could bring peace to those who for whatever reason are upset Sanders left Jackson State.

“He felt like he was carrying a load,” recalled Smith. “He had a desire to do things that really impact the students in the most significant way. But there were some serious resource challenges. I saw him struggling.”

Sanders also doubled down to GQ about his decision to leave the school as head coach and head to Colorado.

“Change is evident, man,” Sanders tells GQ. “It’s going to happen. That’s just going to happen in any part of life…Whenever you dominate a space, there’s elevation.”

Smith also shared that he has a new nickname for Sanders, “Nehemiah,” a reference to the biblical figure who rebuilt Jerusalem after it was destroyed by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar II.

The latest issue of GQ covered by Coach Prime arrives on newsstands Jan. 31. Sanders is the first of three cover stars alongside icons Allen Iverson and Derek Jeter. The special issue also debuts the brand’s all-new GQ Sports Style Hall of Fame, which celebrates the coolest athletes of all time and their legendary styles. Sanders, Iverson, and Jeter represent the Style Hall’s first class of inductees.

Read more of Primetime’s GQ cover story here.

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