After a summer off, NBA players are back where they’re supposed to be: in the media’s crosshairs. The thing is, a lot can change in a few months’ time, and some fans may hardly recognize their favourite players when they see them again in the pre-season. Cue what is arguably basketball’s judgiest hour, otherwise known as our annual freakout over players who shaved their beards, grew out their hair, or otherwise altered their trademark look. (Seriously, who said they were allowed to do that?) Herein, five conversations that are happening, because the internet.
LeBron James’ Hairloss-gate
It’s back! Wait, no it’s not. LeBron James, whose thinning hairline has become somewhat of a joke in basketball circles, showed up to the release of his LeBron 12 shoe at Nike World Headquarters not two weeks ago with a fully filled-in hairline. Fans rejoiced, at least for a time. As the season neared, the swindle was revealed: whether he was using a transfusion or some sort of dye is no certain, but King James’ hairline has in fact receded further than ever. Of course, mass hysteria ensued, with fans stoking “controversy” over Twitter and media types using the news to pitch think pieces about male pattern baldness to their editors.
Steven Adams’s disappearing moustache
If you’re wondering why Steven Adams grew this awesome moustache for the Oklahoma City Thunder’s media day event, it’s because his idol is Tom Selleck. If you were wondering why he immediately shaved it off the next day, it’s probably because he knew how fans would react: “Sad day in OKC: Steven Adams has shaved off the moustache,” tweeted sportswriter Anthony Slater. According to Royce Young, Adams really only did it so that his ‘stache would be the first thing reporters see when they opened up an OKC media guide (his last name starts with ‘A’).
Chris Andersen’s lack of a mohawk
When it comes to trademark looks, few NBA players possess the unique style of Chris Andersen. Although tattoos were and are still a large part of his persona, the Miami Heat would come to post a photo of Birdman sans beard on their official Instagram a short while after media day. The kicker? All those photos everybody took last Friday are now obsolete. Well played, Andersen. Well played.
Marcin Gortat’s new mohawk
Martell Webster’s even crazier mohawk
Let’s get it out of the way: while Gortat’s ‘hawk makes him look terrifying, comparisons have been made between Martell Webster’s fluffy new style and that of a certain video game character from the 90s. With two dueling looks on the same team, the two players are now officially embroiled in a rivalry to see who can grow the best one.