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Best Beards In Sports:
The Most Athletic Facial Hair Around!
Though hockey may hold the honor of inventing the much celebrated playoff beard, nowadays all sports have cashed in on that particular practice, and some specific athletes more than others. In fact, there are some professional men of sport who are so dedicated to their facial hair that they grow it from one postseason to the next, in season and offseason alike, and whether their team has even made it to the playoffs or not. These men have the distinct honor of wearing the best beards in sports.
Now, we in Detroit are home to the very fondly dubbed “Hockeytown,” which means we’ve enjoyed the privilege of seeing our team, the glorious Red Wings, grow out their playoff beards on more than a few occasions. In recent history, one might say that Henrik Zetterberg has the most complete beard, if you will (which we’ll insist that you do), what with its fullness paired with its uniformly groomed shape. Other NHL notables include the Scotts, Niedermayer and Hartnell, respectively, and only amongst many other worthy beards, of which there are simply far too many to mention individually.
Baseball has given way to a playoff beard phenomenon that is nearly as established as its on-ice equivalent, and so there is a similarly tremendous number of mighty beards, simply too many to acknowledge one by one. There is, however, one beard, in particular, that never ceases to amaze fans and players alike. Formerly of the San Francisco Giants and now on to the Los Angeles Dodgers, relief pitcher Brian Wilson has what might well be one of the most apparent beards of all time, let alone professional sports or just baseball. Dying his facial hair jet black has a way of really making it pop off of his face, as well as making him look ever so slightly scary.
Although one might initially suspect that a beard of any size, let alone something truly formidable, might have trouble fitting within the confines of a regulation football helmet. This initial thought would be incorrect. And one man who really disproves this whole beards-not-fitting-inside-of-helmets rumor is Pittsburg Steelers defensive end, Brett Keisel. His beard is something to behold, even for those not already enamored by the mere prospect of a seriously great beard.
Despite the historical lack of long hair in professional basketball, there are some exceptions to that rule, and even fewer still where the case in point involves long hair on the face, rather than the head, of a given player. One man – James Harden of the Houston Rockets, possessor of a most regal and elegant beard – is, perhaps, the only beacon of bearded hope in all of the National Basketball Association. Beards in basketball may take off like wildfire, and they may not, but let us all hope that the flames don’t reach Harden’s brilliant facial hair!
A game that most of us Americans can’t really understand, but one that we all revere, Rugby is something like American football, but without any of the protective equipment and most of the safety rules. That must be why massive, cavemanesque beards are becoming so popular amongst players like Erik Lund of Norway, Adam Kleeberger of Canada, and Sébastian Chabal of France. It’s a simple matter of protection from imminent and colossally dangerous flying adversaries.
Now, an even less understood game, stateside anyways, Cricket reminds most Americans of something like baseball meets field hockey meets…it really doesn’t share much of a resemblance with any sport we know. However, those who do know, and those who play, grow beards like the best of them. Take, for instance, Hashim Amla, truly remarkable beardsman. We’re told that he’s a batsman, but our chronic lack of any understanding of Cricket, whatsoever, makes it difficult to know whether his beard might serve some functional purpose in his athletics, besides, of course, intimidating his opponents.
Lastly, the world’s game, soccer (hey, we’re still in America, and that’s what we call it here), which, due to it’s prevalence, has a little bit of everything, facial hair and otherwise. However, to once again bring things back around to American exceptionalism, we must end on the terrific beard of U.S. keeper (which is like a goalie), Tim Howard. Possibly, nay, certainly made more impressive by way of his completely shaved head, Howard doesn’t let us down, at least not when it comes to his magnificent follicles.
As we’ve mentioned, there is an innumerable number of simply splendid beards at play in every one of the professional sports out there (even those so obscure that we neglected to mention them). This is just a skim of the surface of the best beards in sports.
- Jacob Smith