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Hoops for Thought

October 8, 2003 Columns No Comments

Hoops for Thought

by Nicholas Lozito

Jordan had the tongue wag. D-Miles has the two fist, forehead-tap thingy. McGrady, Iverson and Kobe have the leg sleeve, because you never know when one leg might be colder than the other, right?

We’re talking NBA trademarks, folks, and it sounds like former Syracuse star Carmelo Anthony has cashed in on one of his own: The NCAA Tournament-renowned headband, probably remembered best for its bright orange hue.

“He’s decided that unless he’s dressed up in a suit or something, he’s wearing that headband,” ‘Melo’s agent, Calvin Andrews, told ESPN after his client signed a six-year deal with Nike earlier this year.

Quite a bold move for a 19-year-old kid who probably hasn’t been fully introduced to the world of caps, visors, top hats and ear muffs. Anthony’s cranial wardrobe is set for the next six years. At some point, he will realize that a headband’s sole function — mopping up forehead sweat — is rendered useless once a player steps off the court.

Even though ‘Melo’s ’round-the-clock headband proposal is a bit absurd and plenty ridiculous, I see where he and Andrews are trying to go with this. Every player needs an image to which fans know him or her by.

For instance, Shawn Bradley has the uncoordinated goofy white guy who gets dunked on 24-7 look going for him. Women’s soccer player Brandi Chastain once had the rip off your jersey and reveal a black sports bra craze going, while former Iowa State head coach Larry Eustachy kicked off the get hammered at a fraternity party in your game-day turtleneck trend.

Fans love to imitate their favorite sports figures. I know I can’t soar like His Airness, but when I stick out my tongue during flight — if a 13 inch vertical constitutes flight — I feel like the I can stuff one down over Dikembe Mutumbo. I know I can’t party like Eustachy, but when I put on a black turtleneck, I too feel like a pathetic, belligerent old man.

Other thoughts…

I’m not big on adopting children. In fact, considering I can’t even care for myself, some California politician — Gary Coleman maybe — should probably outlaw me from doing so. But if Shaquille O’Neal and Lisa Leslie ever “got down” to some Brian McKnight, I’d take eight-and-a-half inches off my vertical leap to get the end product of that one-night stand…

Next to taste testing Crispy Cream doughnuts for the perfect cream-to-jelly ratio, I would love the job of Mark Few, Gonzaga’s head basketball coach. Despite bringing in superb recruiting classes every year, nobody expects the up-and-coming mid-major coach, whom I call “The Fewture,” to reach the NCAA Tournament. And every time he does they call it “a Cinderella season.”…

Is there a more fitting NCAA violation than Utah coach Rick Majerus buying a hamburger for one of his players? Maybe if Temple coach John Chaney bought one of his players a bran muffin and crossword puzzle. Or Duke coach Mike Krzyewski subscribed one of his players to the Wall Street Journal.


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