As basketball players grow within the league, they do their best to stand out. Many let their game do the talking; others dress well. A select few become known for their impeccable hair styles. The path to follicular greatness isn’t a straight one, however, it’s a winding road. Herein, we document the transformation of some of the game’s best-styled men, and even give you a heads up on who to keep your eye on in the future.
The biggest mistake: Chandler Parsons
Widely regarded as one of the best heads of hair to play the game, Chandler Parsons built his reputation going from an almost-there, often-disheveled David Beckham look common among college boys in 2012 to hitting his stride ahead of the 2013-14 season. However, things took a turn for the worst when he decided to “change things up” in December 2013 and give up on his male model-ness. He sheared off his famous sporty peak in lieu of, well, a shaved head of hair. While we can’t blame him for taking function over form—or actually, we can.
The kid who shaped up: Nick Young
Back in January 2012, Nick Young may as well have been taking a page out of Drake’s book with his short but tasteful afro, while he left it up to his choice of threads to start building a reputation as a sharp dresser. As his style grew wilder, so did his hair. One year later, he was sporting a messy afro that was rarely reined in. Now, however, he’s wisened up. Swaggy P cut out the messy hair business and turned to his now-famous flattop for good. He’s also now dating Iggy Azalea. Coincidence? We think not.
The rocky road to redemption: Iman Shumpert
No hair style journey is a straight path, and its certainly was not for Iman Shumpert. Shumpert started off as a kid with a well-trimmed buzz that provided the foundation for a short version of his famous flattop—but one not yet fully matured. In October 2013, however, he stumbled and fell, pushing back his progress by buzzing it once again. He caught a lot of flack for that on social media. And then: redemption. He allowed his flattop to reach new, dizzying heights, once again putting the rest of the league to shame with short sides and hair reaching sky high.
Playing the long game: Andrei Kirilenko
There was a time, long, long ago, when Andrei Kirilenko was but a young kid chasing the dream and playing in the Russian league. This kid looked an awful lot like Rocky villain Ivan Drago with his short, blonde hair spiked upwards, earning him one of his first nicknames. That soon changed when he started playing for the NBA, and not necessarily for the better. Currently, he boasts naught but the boyish locks of an ardent Justin Bieber fan, which probably explains why his current nickname (AK47) was made to sound so tough.
The next great haircut?: DeMar DeRozan
DeMar DeRozan has been casually and slowly growing out his hair. Starting out with tidy shaved sides back in the summer of 2012, he quickly evened out his look for the classic buzz he’s known for. Now he’s all about a short ‘fro, which has so much more potential. Where will it lead from here? A larger afro? A flattop? Maybe some dreads a la Kenneth Faried? We know he’s up to something. We’re calling it now.