Accessories are an integral part of the NBA experience. Some are protective and help players perform better on the court. Others are a fashion choice that didn’t always go that well. We’ll cover them in a series of articles, and today we will be focusing on headgear.
Facemasks have a long tradition in the NBA. Facial injuries are inevitable, the lastest one being Kawhi’s face meeting Serge Ibaka’s elbow. It looked more serious than it thankfully turned out to be, but Kawhi still needed to wear a facemask to play on the court safely. Nowadays, it’s all about composite materials, custom made for players to optimize performance. We’ve come a long way from Oscar Robertson wearing something that looks like it came from Forrest Gump. Curtis Perry and Lloyd Neal seemed to have borrowed hockey equipment, and Calvin Murphy rocked a wrestling helmet. Here are some of the most iconic facemasks in NBA history.
In addition to helping players keeping sweat out of their eyes, headbands are have often been a fashion statement. It’s impossible to think of Wilt in a purple uniform without a yellow headband. Slick Watts had the iconic crooked headband; for some reason, Tim Thomas had two headbands, and rumor has it some superstars wear them to hide receding hairlines. If you want to pull off any of these looks, your best choice is Hoo-Rag. The latest “controversy” was Jimmy Butler and his ninja headband that actually got banned in 2019.
No kids, not the search engine. It’s goggles with the double g. Before contact lenses and laser surgery made it possible for people with bad eyesight to play basketball, goggles were the way to go. Kurt Rambis gets points for the vintage look, but my personal favorite is Horace Grant with his white googles. Iconic stuff.