Ranking The NBA’s Top 10 Headband Guys
In honor of Lazar Hayward’s arrival, and thanks to a passing comment during a conversation I had with my editor Wednesday, I’ve decided to do some hardcore investigating.
I’m examining the best headband wearers in the NBA.
Hayward, if you don’t know by now, is a card-carrying member of the headband fraternity. He has been since his high school days at Notre Dame Prep. And after getting traded to the Thunder on Tuesday, Hayward immediately bumped Oklahoma City up the league’s headband hierarchy. James Harden is the only other Thunder player who rocks a headband somewhat consistently. Serge Ibaka has tried it at times as well. But Hayward is all in, which got me to thinking. Should he be? Some guys definitely should not be. Hayward gets the green light solely because of his consistency and commitment to the headband. But he’s not cracking this top 10 list. It takes much more than just a consistent effort to be among our best of the best.
But before I get into the list, it’s important to establish some ground rules. First and foremost, the headband has got to be a part of what defines a player. That means it’s got to be consistent, both as a player’s on-court attire and the manner in which he sports it. In other words, the headband-halfway-up-your-head look ain’t cutting it and will automatically get you tossed from the list. Being too sometimesy, like Elton Brand for instance, won’t work either. Secondly, the headband has got to look good on you in any color, in any uniform, at home or on the road. Since longevity is key, the look has got to stand the test of time and player movement.
Next, you can’t be new to the headband brotherhood. This is a gang you’re born into. We’ve got no room for headband band-wagoners. Take Mo Williams, for example. Anybody recall him rocking the headband in Milwaukee? Teaming up with LeBron James shouldn’t lead you to the headband lifestyle. The headband also can’t seem forced. It’s not here to help you garner attention (Eddie House, Brendan Haywood). You also can’t come off as trying too hard. We’re talking to you Jermaine O’Neal. The headband was cool when you had braids and could ball. It’s not so cool now that you’ve lost all your hair and your skills. Let it go. LeBron, you get lumped into this category, too. Because if you’re under 30 and we can see your receding hairline while you’re wearing a headband, it ain’t for you, bruh. And if you’re bald — Drew Gooden, Corey Maggete — fuhgeddaboudit. Do us a favor and lose the headbands. Al Harrington, you, my friend are worthy of a pass in this department.
Now, after hours upon hours of hardcore analysis and rigorous research, let’s get into the top 10.
NUMBER TEN: COREY BREWER
Brewer is far from a household name, and his production at this point in his carer has him knocking on the door of unemployment. But when it comes to looking the part, Brewer has got it figured out. He’s had the headband as part of his attire since his college days at Florida, and he has transitioned with it seamlessly into the NBA with Minnesota and Dallas. It’s just something about his long and lean frame that makes the headband a perfect fit.
NUMBER NINE: AL HARRINGTON
As stated above, Harrington is the only bald brother that gets a pass with the headband. And he deserves it. There hasn’t been much stability in Harrington’s career. Dude has traveled from Indiana to Atlanta to Golden State to New York to Denver. But the one constant has been the headband. Gotta give it up to homeboy for his commitment. And Harrington’s head piece has worked regardless of if it’s been white, orange, black, red, yellow, navy blue or powder blue. That’s not easy to do.
NUMBER EIGHT: GERALD WALLACE
The thing with Wallace is his headband works with or without braids. The long hair now only enhances the headband. But Wallace’s headband also has traveled from Sacramento to Charlotte to Portland. So he’s consistent with it. With Wallace now in Clifford Robinson’s old stomping grounds, you know his headband game is legit if he can still pull it off.
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