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Leather, chains and Justin Bieber's (lack of) sartorial swagger

Note to Justin Bieber: Next time you want to remain inconspicuous in a crowd, don't raid Vanilla Ice's wardrobe.

On Monday night, the pride of Stratford, Ont., made yet another feeble attempt to establish his street swagger with his surprise appearance at the playoff game between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers in Miami.

Sitting court-side and accompanied by his infamous new BFF, Lil Twist, Bieber showed his support for the home team by wearing an oversized red-and-blue Miami Heat baseball cap, which reportedly costs $450. Bieber also wore a leather-mesh T-shirt, baggy leather pants and enough gold chains to qualify him for backup-dancer duty in the music video for Ice's 1990 hit Ice Ice Baby.

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Bieber also kept on his Wayfarer shades and did not speak to anyone. His entourage was rounded out by a giggly Selena Gomez lookalike (to whom he did not speak) and a massive bodyguard who stood positioned behind Bieber throughout the game. Bummer for those fans who paid top dollar to sit in the second row.

And so did the Biebs take in the NBA experience. Sporting something between a scowl and a blank expression, he stared straight ahead as the Heat trampled the Pacers 99-76 and moved on to the next round of the playoffs.

But was Bieber's presence in Miami simply another carefully contrived excuse to build his street cred while simultaneously drumming up support for his next hit song? A few hours before the game, he announced the name of his new single, Heartbreaker, on Instagram and urged fans to "tell a friend to tell a friend" and promising the track is "coming soon."

Meanwhile, sitting court-side only a few feet away was recently retired soccer superstar David Beckham, who at 38 is exactly double Bieber's age and could probably teach the kid a thing or two about dressing appropriately for a public appearance.

Beckham was casual, no question, with his crisp white T-shirt, faded blue jeans and red sneakers, but he also brought along the right attitude and willingly signed autographs and talked to fans throughout the game.

Even the basketball players took note of Beckham. At halftime, Miami Heat star LeBron James made a point of walking over to Beckham's seat and shaking his hand, much to the crowd's approval. James did not extend the same courtesy to Bieber. More than a few media outlets have already pointed out that Bieber could learn a lesson from the classy English athlete.

Following the game, the local Miami ABC affiliate drew attention to Bieber's appearance at the game with the tweet, "Hard to take you seriously @justinbieber when you show up court side looking like that." ESPN reporter Paul Finebaum suggested that Bieber was trying out for a remake of The Birdcage. Yowch.

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Regardless of whatever Bieber, or his management team, were attempting to accomplish on Monday night, the end result of his appearance in Miami was pretty much what you might expect when any skinny white kid tries to look like a street gangsta: embarrassing.

And before he plans his next public appearance, Bieber, or someone in his management team, might want to look up Vanilla Ice on Wikipedia. Just sayin'.

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