When NBA Headbands Go Wrong

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers grimaces as he flexes his ailing shoulder in the game against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center on January 6, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  The Nuggets won 112-105.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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J.R. Smith earned a nasty gash above his right eye in a rough-and-tumble 102-96 loss to the Boston Celtics, meaning the New York Knicks medical staff just ended up using Smith's headband as a support for his bandage.

J.R. Smith returns w/ nasty gash to shoot free throws late in the 4th: twitter.com/BeyondTheBuzze…

— Beyond The Buzzer(@BeyondTheBuzzer) January 8, 2013


It was inventive, brash and, quite honestly, kind of funny. 

However, it wasn't the first time the Knicks' medical staff used a headband as a health accessory, as they used it to support a bandage on the side of Jason Kidd's head earlier this season.

When you think about it, a headband is the perfect medical tool. If it's there to support a bandage, it gives the wearer a bit more compression, and it holds the bandage firmly in place. 

Plus, if there were to be a rogue bear on the loose in an arena, a headband can always be used as a tourniquet in a situation where a limb has gone missing.

This year has been an interesting example of headbands going rogue, looking completely silly or just looking completely wrong.

The NBA history book is stuffed full of ridiculous moments in headband history.

If we want to get the earliest look at headband hijinks, we've got to go all the way back to Wilt Chamberlain.

Chamberlain's headband was revolutionary, but mostly because it was the first piece of cloth ever to graze a forehead on an NBA court.

Of course, the Chamberlain style of headband looked more like a folded-over paper towel held on by some bits of string, so it never really caught on. It was so goofy that only Chamberlain could look cool with it on.

Headbands didn't really catch on until Slick Watts turned them into a fashion accessory, although he wasn't always able to stay away from looking like a goober.

More recently, headband-related tomfoolery has been more noticeable than ever, and it's hard to slip anything by the astute bloggers of the Internet these days.

Just ask LeBron James, whose headband continues to creep ever higher while constantly growing ever fatter.

At some point he's just going to have to go with a beanie and call it a day. I'm sure he could convince David Stern to let him wear a full-on cap while playing ball.

Going down the complete opposite pathway, Corey Brewer likes to keep his headband low and tight.

Of course, an overly sweaty brow on any given night could quickly turn it from a headband into a blindfold and he could end up doing his best Cedric Ceballos impersonation

If Corey Brewer wore his headband any lower, it'd be a blindfold. Or a collar. #whoneedseyebrows

— Steve Aschburner (@AschNBA) January 4, 2013

While Brewer is constantly on the verge of seeing no evil, Derek Fisher spent the majority of his career hearing no evil.

Fisher might be the only guy in the history of the league to completely cover his ears with his goofy-looking headband.

We get more controversial as we go down the line, starting and ending with the scandalous Rajon Rondo.

He went so far as to violate the sanctity of headband-dom, wearing it with the NBA logo upside-down.

Of course, David Stern cracked down on the fun Rondo was having, deeming his upside-down headband to be illegal. Basketball reasons.

As far as ugly headband designs go, the "Stars-and-Stripes" beauties have to take the cake. Not only were they maddeningly distracting, but they also just clashed with most team's uniforms.

Well, they looked ridiculous on everybody except Spencer Hawes.

Take one mullet-wearing, blue-collar looking dude. Throw him in the red, white and blue Philadelphia 76ers uniform and toss a stars-and-stripes headband on top of that mullet, and you've got yourself a beautiful thing. 

The only word that comes to mind is, "'Murica."

Finally, in perhaps the most controversial headband news of the season, Dwight Howard decided that donning a strap of cloth across his dome would be a nice addition to his ensemble. 

You know, because shooting sleeves, high socks and wristbands weren't enough accessories for him to slap on.

The popular opinion is that Howard is not playing as well this season simply because of the headband. You've got to admit, it's one of the few variables that differ from his game last season.

Headband Dwight Howard is not as good as No Headband Dwight Howard, no?

— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) January 5, 2013

Perhaps Stan Van Gundy was right to ban headbands on the Orlando Magic. It seems to have worked out fine for them.


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