Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Greatest Hair in Sports

It's an addiction - I can't stop harping on hair. It's probably because I don't have any at this point in my life. First it was facial hair. Today I set out to do a Best Athlete Mullets column, but in the process of developing the post I found that I would be limiting a deep talent pool if I limited the list to mullets. The post evolved into something along the lines of Greatest Hair in Sports. I don't really know what else to call it. For this project, greatest will be assessed according to a few variables: innovation, style, longevity, flexibility, ridiculousness, and generally adding to the aura or greatness of the athlete’s legacy. I have decided not to sort this list into any specific order, but would appreciate any feedback on who deserves the top spot (including any I may have missed). I have tried to represent each major sport here.

Tiger Woods
It looks like Tiger is attempting some type of leopard or jaguar pattern with this spotted mane. I'm surprised he didn't dye a Nike swoosh into the side of his head.

Deion Sanders
Deion’s early hair style is in the vein of the 40-year-old virgin, A.C. Green, but Deion gets the pub here because of his swagger. Combine this amazing jheri curl with bling, a rap video, and great dancing, and Prime Time is in a class of his own. Deion even attempted to turn the jheri curl into a mullet, with mixed results.

Andre Agassi
Thick and lustrous, Andre Agassi had hair that most women would kill for. He quickly became a star in the tennis world, in no small part due to his beautiful locks. In an unfortunate twist of fate, Andre began to lose his hair and he now sports the shaved look. It seems that Agassi was a reverse-Sampson – after shaving his head he won 6 of his 8 Grand Slams. However, this should not put a damper on the legacy of his earlier hairstyle.

Jaromir Jagr
This mullet is flat out spectacular. From the way he puffed it up in the front like women used to do in the mid-80s (and the way southern women still do) to the slicked back sides, Jagr’s hair curtain is tremendous. Words cannot do it justice, so I’ll let this picture do the talking.

Oscar Gamble
How Oscar managed to somehow smash this fro into a baseball cap is beyond me. It is unfortunate that baseball players are required to wear hats because this hair deserved to be celebrated and unleashed. Gamble’s fro was innovative and stylish while maintaining longevity as a style to be reckoned with for years to come.

Scott Pollard
Pollard has had so many hairstyles that a list could be composed of the best hairdos of Scott Pollard. This particular one will suffice for this post, but please recognize the creativity of this man. He has gone blonde, bald, Mohawk, and long, all while being just as creative with his facial hair. Pollard truly is a forerunner.

Dennis Rodman
The Worm gets some love here for being a harbinger. I remember playing NBA Live 96 and wondering what color of hair Rodman would have each game. Rodman’s hair transcends basketball in that it, combined with his ridiculous antics, made him a household name.

Larry Bird
I can’t go without mentioning Larry on this list. Larry’s hair was similar to his game in certain respects: fundamental, not too flashy, unattractive, yet surprisingly impressive. Bird’s hair only adds to his greatness – he looks like the last guy you’d choose in a pickup game (if he weren’t 6-9, but you get the gist) but he’d light you up all game long and tell you about it the entire time.

Mel Kiper
Kiper’s perfectly sculpted hair is a thing of beauty, rivaled only by Steve Lavin and Pat Riley. Kiper makes the list over those two because of the 90210-esque height obtained on the front wave. Mel’s hair allows him to be relevant more than one day a year.

Alexi Lalas
I am not a soccer fan. In fact, I hate the sport. That said, soccer brings a tremendous wealth of ridiculous hairdos to choose from for this list. I eventually went with Lalas because of the combination great hair-great goatee. The fact that both are the same exact shade of red is also impressive.

Dr. J

Julius Erving rocked an amazing afro. Long, supple, buoyant, and versatile, the Dr. J fro paved the way for players such as Ben Wallace and Josh Childress, who sport afros that are nowhere near the quality of Erving’s.

Randy Johnson
I have to use the obvious joke here and mention The Big Unit's shlong (short in front - long in the back). Randy presents with a stellar mullet that is a bit longer on the sides than the traditional mullet. This provides added versatility – the sides are more easily slicked back for black tie affairs, such as the ESPY’s. The fact that his tress also happens to be quite curly adds to the look.

Pedro Martinez
Pedro combined the Holy Trinity of hairstyles in his early career, bringing a Dominican flair to the afro/mullet/jheri curl combination. You can’t tell me that standing in the box with Pedro on the mound sporting that triad wouldn’t intimidate the crap out of you. How else could such a small guy stand on the hill and be considered a power pitcher? What a weapon.

Rick Fox
Quite possibly the most impressive follicular specimen on this list, Rick Fox is flat out beautiful. Or so I have been told. I know his ex-wife is beautiful. Anyone who appears to use more hair products than his beauty queen wife must be included. Plus he’s gorgeous.

Brian Bosworth
The coiffure of the Boz was astounding. Bosworth is like Scott Pollard in the sense that each was able to consistently show up with any hairstyle and have it be impressive. Plus, the Boz was one of many Seattle Seahawks draft picks to never pan out. As a Seattle fan, he holds a special place in my heart.

Adam Morrison/Steve Nash
Why neither of these two does a shampoo commercial is beyond me. This flowing hairstyle hearkens back to the days of Peter, James, and John. Speaking of Biblical times, I am reminded of Songs of Solomon 4:1 – “Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead.” I don’t know what that means, but I respect it.

PlayBoyd is an excellent athlete, no doubt. Try and get through a pick-and-roll with Boyd or defend his unlimited range on the perimeter and tell me he isn’t an athletic exemplar. It can’t be done. Add to that a frohawk-substantial beard combination that makes him look like a serial killer and screams intimidation, and Boyd is nigh unstoppable.


Che said...

Thank you for including Jaromir Jagr's mullet. As a long-time Penguin's fan, Jagr and his fantastic mullet represented the next generation of Penguin supremacy as Lemieux grew long in the tooth. Than, almost overnight, he shaved the mullet, started dating a supermodel, and stabbed the Pensand his faithful fanbase in their collective back. It was a more abrupt and dramatic turnaround than Anakin becoming the Sith Lord. It was as devastating as Hulk becoming Hollywood Hogan!

Stay sweet Troy -

wootah said...

soccer has a tradition of bad hairdo's; valderrama, christiano ronaldo, ronaldo ( during the WC when he 'invented' his own hairdo), letchkov ( ) and the worst of'em all; abel xavier (just google the guy and watch the pictures) ...

however, the best of'em all, the marathon runner who did what tiger couldn't do, the pride of belgium; rik ceulemans ( )