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DunkOrThree > NBA Players with Beards Styling the Game

NBA Players with Beards Styling the Game

Publish Date:20.03.2024
Fact checked by: Jackson T. Pierce

The NBA is a league of changes. Not only does the game itself shift every now and then, but player styles and trends change too. One example that has come about in more recent years is the rise of facial hair. More specifically, the growing of beards.

Though top players used to almost always be clean shaven, many of them now prefer to have large, bushy beards. Some are even known for such stylings.

This guide will look at that in further detail by going over the top NBA players with beards to see how facial hair trends have changed in the league, as well as the way certain stars made that facial hair a part of their identity.

Iconic Bearded NBA Players

There are many NBA players with beards, but this article covers the most iconic in today’s game.

1. Domantas Sabonis

Sabonis one of the most skilled big men in the NBA, and he backs up his strong game with a full beard. The facial hair is more of a classic look when compared to some other stars around the league, but it still gives him a distinct more-seasoned appearance so many stars seem to want.

Sabonis’ shift is indicative of a greater trend, and the multi-time all star continues to rock his distinctive beard with no signs of changing anytime soon.

2. Klay Thompson

Thompson may not be as well known for his facial hair as some of the others on this list, but the Warriors guard’s look and style are a big part of how beards have shifted throughout the NBA in the past few years.

He started out with a patented goatee, and then went to a full beard as he got older. He often jokes that he has the best facial hair on the team, and shows that more seasoned players tend to adopt facial hair as they play more years in the league.

3. Jaylen Brown

Jaylen Brown is known for his skills, but his beard is incredibly impressive as well. The shifty guard is a key part of the Celtics, putting up a strong offensive and defensive effort night after night, and has some of the most impressive facial hair of any hardwood athlete.

He’s had many hair styles during his years in the league, but the beard has stuck around more than any others. It gives him a more distinct look, which is something many stars are trying to achieve in the modern era.

4. Fred VanVleet

For one reason or another, most well known NBA players with beards are big men. Fred VanVleet breaks that rule, coming in at just 6 feet and sporting one of the most impressive facial hair ensembles in the NBA.

The guard has a ring, and has long been one of the best points in the league. He puts a lot of stock into his style and feels his beard complements his look. That gives him extra confidence, which is a big reason he’s had facial hair since first being drafted.

5. Jonas Valanciunas

Though he started out clean shaven and surprisingly baby faced for his size, Jonas Valanciunas now has one of the fullest and most recognizable beards in the league. He’s a solid big who’s always put great numbers no matter where he’s gone.

On top of that, his facial hair changed with the league as a whole. He grew out his now signature look back in 2016, and rocks a full beard. It seems like he’s not going back anytime soon.

6. Anthony Davis

Davis is one of the best centers of all time. He also happens to have a strong, full beard. The big started growing his facial hair in 2016 and hasn’t gone back since. That makes sense, as he’s won a ring, made several all-NBA first teams, and numerous all star games with it.

7. Steven Adams

Steven Adams used to be known for his iconic mustache, but now rocks a full beard as well. The combo gives the large center an even more menacing appearance and helps him fit in with other iconic players around the league. It also gives the physical forward a more imposing presence.

8. Steph Curry

Though Curry’s facial hair fluctuates quite a bit, his beard is one of the best examples of shifting NBA trends. He went clean shaven early on in his career, even earning the name baby-faced assassin, before steadily growing facial hair as he became a more-seasoned team leader.

The progression of his career matches the progression of the NBA. Older players prefer to have facial hair these days. Curry fully embraced that trend during his multiple championships and rise to the greatest shooter of all time.

9. Lebron James

Lebron is one of the best known players on the planet and arguably the greatest of all time. As with Curry, he went from clean shaven to a beard as his career progressed. The look complements his older, more distinguished look for the back half of his career.

10. James Harden

Nobody in NBA history has encapsulated beards more than James Harden. The shooting guard was one of the first to embrace bushy facial hair, going so far as to earning the nickname “the beard” for his incredibly impressive whiskers.

Though he’s no longer in his prime, the lights out shooter still rocks the most impressive beard around. It’s so notable that he alone could take credit for so many of the other players around this league growing out their facial hair.

The Significant of Beards in the NBA

There are many current NBA superstars’ who have made their beards a part of their style and brand. Part of that has been the social shift to facial hair styles over the past few years, and part of that is a result of the fact that it makes them much more recognizable.

The NBA is a hip league with a large focus on brand or style. A well-groomed and impressive beard fits both of those niches quite well. It helps distinguish a player and enables fans to more easily connect with them when they’re on and off the court.

As evidenced by the above examples, beards are commonly grown by seasoned or more experienced players. As so many athletes come into the league clean shaven, facial hair is a good way to separate someone from the pack or show they’ve been around a while.

That then connects to leadership and maturity. Both of those are sought after traits, and having a full beard typically means a player has been around long enough to know and understand the game.

Beard Maintenance and Lifestyle

There are many great NBA players with beards. Though that much facial hair may seem tough to manage or groom when playing at a high level, athletes just see their routine maintenance as part of their greater style.

Like any other hair, beards get sweaty and undergo a lot of stress during games. That’s why players make use of popular products like high-end beard oils, balms, and conditioners. They also keep them trimmed and utilize combs or special razors as well.

For many high-profile players, a beard is a fashion statement. It keeps them engaged with the fans, improves their personal brand, and gives them more presence on social media. That’s why they take such good care of their facial hair, and why they endorse quality care products.

Beards and Fan Culture

Another reason so many players love beards is that it keeps them more engaged with their fans. Being more distinct on the court makes athletes more recognizable, which then increases their presence in the news.

Impressive facial hair gets a lot of traction on social media, allowing fans to show their own beards and then compare them to their favorite players. Many fans post their own facial hair, but there’s also a lot of internet discussion when a player grows a beard or styles it in a new way.

Some athletes have even gotten on the train through products and merchandise. James Harden, for example, has a beard oil line, while certain players have even shaved their facial hair for charity in the past.

The Future of Beards in the NBA

It seems that the time of clean shaven superstars is a thing of the past. Though there are a few exceptions, all big time players rock facial hair in one way or another. That trend continues to grow, and it doesn’t seem like it’s slowing down.

Beards come with plenty of perks, especially for newer stars looking to get more fans. On-court presence will always trump anything else, but a cool look doesn’t hurt either.

As long as players are looking to build a name for themselves and create more social media presence, beards will stick around. In fact, it may not be long before many of the younger players coming in from college have full faces as well.

Conclusion

In many ways, the NBA is a reflection of the greater American culture. There is currently no greater example of that than with the explosion of beards. Facial hair, once the minority, now is a great way for players to express themselves and create a unique identity.

The NBA has always been a league based on style with a focus on personal grooming and star power. Facial hair plays into both, which is why so many NBA players have big beards and why the trend continues to catch on.

Who is your favorite NBA player with a beard? Why do you like their beard, and what does their facial hair add to their personality? Let us know by leaving a comment down below!

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