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A Brief Sampling Of The NBA's Greatest Afros

From Artis to Lucas, Wallace to Hollis Queens, SonicsRising groove and style consultant Steve Stearns recounts some of the greatest Afros known to hoopkind.

Edited by Tiffany Villigan


Image courtesy Reuters/Keith Bedford

So I was looking at the picture of Chris Hansen with our own smiling SonicsGuy and remembered that it had been a while since I did my "NBA's Greatest Afros" count. Where once the Afro had been plentiful in the heyday of the ABA, by the '90s it had been replaced by the hightop fade, aka "The Kid N Play," or the ever popular Michael Cage style Jheri-curl.

There'd be the occasional guy who'd rock the throwback 'fro, but he'd be the exception rather than the rule. It really feels like that should change, though. Being overtatted can never substitute for the raw power of the Fro, provided you can grow it. So with that said, let us celebrate the massive Afros we have come to know and love. In no particular order:

Ben Wallace


As you can see here, Wallace didn't sport the classic '70s Soul Train microphone-shaped fro, but more of a blow-dried updo held in place with his omnipresent headband. Still, major style points can't be denied.

Artis Gilmore


Here Artis rocks what I'll call the "Black Dynamite" look, a tighter Afro replete with kick-ass pointed sideburns. Long a member of All-Time Afro teams, Artis was always a certified badass. Enough style points to be awarded a free case of Anaconda Malt Liquor.

Lucas Nogueira


If this isn't the greatest picture in NBA Draft history, then I don't know what is, unless there's actually one out there of him standing next to midget David Stern. The classic scene from Fletch was written for this kid.

Shaun Livingston. His run was short but sweet. I remember him not only for his awesome 'do but from one of the worst knee injuries I've ever seen on the court. I thought about hyperlinking it but if you want to see something that wrong that badly, you can probably find it yourself. It's as bad or worse than Navarro Bowman.

Can't front on Andrew Bynum either, although WTF was this all about?

Sonics contributions to the Fro Hall of Fame are surprisingly few. Who knew that the almost universally-maligned Schultz era would give us one highlight, and that is the unforgettable:

Shammond Williams


Not only does Shammond rock the iconic '70s fro style, here he complements it with a Wallace-esque headband for extra flavor. As Mr. Baker may also remember, Williams was also responsible for the creation of the phrase "Shammonding," which could best be described as a continuous dribbling of the ball behind the three-point line from roughly the elbow to the top of the free throw circle, while your teammates attempt to set up some semblance of a half-court offense.

Now Moochie Norris never rocked a fro as a Sonic, but his Rocket days were epic, not only for the fro but the facial expressions.

And the Afro award for White Guy, Throwback category goes to ... Randy Denton. Has to be the model for Will Ferrell's character in Semi-Pro.

LeBron James


Time to bring this look back, don't you think, LBJ? I like the nod to Dr. J there, who gets my vote for singularly most awesome NBA Afro ever:


So there it is. I'm still waiting for someone to bring back the Mel Bennett "afro + hipster glasses" look. Maybe...Sonics Guy?

Who gets your pick?