The coolest headgear in sports: A top twelve list


For decades, athletes from Walt Frazier and Joe Namath to Derek Jeter and Dwyane Wade have graced us with a sense of style and pizzazz off the field.  Due to uniform restrictions in most professional sports, it is much more difficult for athletes to fashionably express their individuality on the field.  Some athletes, however, still manage to find a style uniquely their own, simply by using their heads.  From hats to facemasks, eye black to visors, these twelve have established their own personal trademarks by sporting some type of headgear that makes them utterly recognizable.  Where do they rank on your list?


brett-favre-hat12 ) Brett Favre’s Stained Baseball Cap – Nothing screams John Deere quite like a Brett Favre press conference.  The on again, off again, gun-slinging, formerly retired quarterback of the Green Bay Packers…. I mean New York Jets…. wait, no, the Minnesota Vikings made a lot of press lately with his most recent return to the NFL.  When Minnesota officially announced his latest comeback, Favre looked like he had just gotten off his riding lawnmower.  A slave to fashion he’s never been but don’t tell that to the marketing brass at Wrangler jeans.  Favre has a style all his own, no matter how tired we all are of seeing it.  What other Hall of Fame athlete could get away with wearing a torn, oil-slicked baseball cap while announcing he was about to earn $12 million at the age of 40?


lebron-james-headband111) LeBron James’s Headband – LeBron James has made the sweatband for your head fashionable again in the NBA.  Never before has a man wearing a headband been so intimidating.  Only King James could rock the headband and make it look cool.  Well, he and John McEnroe back in the day but LBJ has considerably less hair.  You go ahead and tell the league’s brightest talent that headbands are lame.  Just be careful he’s not dunking over you in the meantime. 


nick-saban-hat210) Nick Saban’s Straw Fedora – Cross Bear Bryant with Indiana Jones.  Mix in a little Tuscaloosa sunshine and what do you get?  The Nicktator.  Alabama head football coach Nick Saban may have traded Miami teal for Crimson Tide but in both locations, he sported a straw hat to keep him cool and looking cooler.  He may not have the flair, or the legacy, of ‘Bama’s founding father, nor will he be welcomed back in Miami or Baton Rouge any time soon, but as long as Saban continues to amass victories at Alabama, one of the best coaches in college football will be able to wear whatever he likes.


manny-ramirez-helmet9) Manny Ramirez’ Pine Tar Soaked Batting Helmet – The Boston Red Sox hadn’t won a World Series in nearly ninety years.  Then Manny Ramirez came to town.  The only problem was you could never see the ‘B’ on his batting helmet.  If Manny didn’t have Boston written across the front of his uniform, you might not know what team he played for.  While warming up in the on deck circle, Ramirez would routinely coat his helmet with pine tar to get a better grip on his bat. It must have worked because he was a force at the plate for Boston, winning the 2004 World Series MVP.  Long before he signed with the Dodgers, his sullied, brownish-blue helmet was his trademark, along with his 500+ career home runs and .314 career batting average.  That’s just Manny being Manny.


richard-hamilton-facemask18)  Richard Hamilton’s Face Guard – Rip Hamilton once fractured his nose three times in the same season.  Since he has no cartilage left in his nose, team physicians recommended he not play basketball without wearing a protective, Phantom of the Opera-like facemask.  He has become so accustomed to playing with it that he now calls it his ‘cape.’  After the successive injuries, Hamilton had to have nasal reconstructive surgery.  Not since Jennifer Grey has a nose job looked this good.  Hamilton was not the first basketball player to don a protective facemask on the court but he may be the first to make it look fashionable.  Hamilton covers the Velcro straps of his mask with a headband that matches his uniform.  The Phantom of the Opera is cool but he never averaged 19 points per game in the Association like Rip.  Nor does he own a college and NBA Championship ring. 


ladanian-tomlinson-helmet7) LaDanian Tomlinson’s Tinted Helmet Visor – Arguably the best running back of his generation, at thirty years of age, LT still has it going on.  He’s already 14th on the NFL all-time rushing yards list.  A respectable ground game in 2009, can propel him into the top five.  The only problem for defenders trying to bring him down is that they can’t see the whites of his eyes as he passes them by.  LT was definitely not the first to try out the tinted visor on his helmet but he may very well be the coolest.  ESPN even parodied his helmet in a commercial where he works in the company mail room, but struggles to see anything through his visor and ends up putting mail in all the wrong slots. 


bill-murray-golf-hat6) Bill Murray’s Golf Hats – Call it goofy chic but no one can consistently turn silly into stylish like Bill Murray.  He’s been doing it for years while simultaneously keeping us in stitches.  The Cinderella story who gave us Carl Spackler in Caddyshack is a regular at celebrity, pro-am tournaments and is usually the center of attention from tee to green.  Any one of us would be laughed off the links wearing hats like his, but not Bill.  Murray provides us with a constant reminder not to take life too seriously and that more than anything, sport is to be enjoyed.


Georgia SCarolina Football5) Steve Spurrier’s Visor  – Temper, temper.  You’d think one national championship, six conference titles and a decade of dominance would be enough to ease one’s frustration.  Not so with the Ol’ Ball Coach who is infamous for his proclivity to slam his visor to the turf when his old Florida Gator team would miscue.  Spurrier now sports his visor while patrolling the sidelines in Columbia, South Carolina.  Despite not winning as often as he did in Gainesville, Spurrier has eased up on the visor-throw a bit after recognizing that many thought it was in poor taste.


reggie-bush-eye-black4) Reggie Bush’s Eye Black – At USC, Reggie Bush was unstoppable.  In only three years at school, he ranks tenth all-time in NCAA all-purpose yardage.  Every game, Reggie Bush routinely gave a shout out to his proud hometown of Spring Valley, California in his own, personalized way.  On his face.  The college phenomenon and Heisman Trophy winner was one of the first to regularly scribble his home town area code of 619 on his eye black to recognize his friends and family.  Then he ran roughshod over the competition. 


tiger-woods-hat3) Tiger Woods’ Black Hat – Remember in Pulp Fiction, when Samuel L Jackson would recite a bible verse just before executing someone?  “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.”  That was just one of his many, memorable catch phrases of the film.  As he explained, if you heard those words “it meant your ass.”  Well that’s what other professional golfers must think when they see Tiger’s black hat on a Sunday.  I’m surprised his cap doesn’t have Ezekial 25:17 written somewhere on the side of it.  Tiger’s black hat and red shirt have become his final round trademark.  While Tiger puts up birdie after birdie, other golfers crumble like a single guy nervously approaching a pretty girl at a bar.  Tiger has proved himself human of late, not winning a major in 2009, but he’s still far and away the best golfer on the planet.  No golfer wants near him when he’s making a Sunday charge.


rick-dipietro-jg12052) Rick DiPietro’s Stars and Stripes Goalie Mask – Most decorated NHL goalie masks are cool but New York Islander goalie makes a statement with his.  His helmet alone is worth the price of admission.  Rick DiPietro, whose father is a Vietman veteran, honors the armed forces with his headgear every time he takes to the ice.  DiPietro, the New York Islanders number one draft pick in 2000, boasts stars and stripes and the POW emblem on his goalie mask.  All athletes should be this classy.


roger-federer-bandana1) Roger Federer’s Bandana – Have you ever been out in public and seen a guy walking around with a sash on his head?  Unless you’re in the Village, you probably thought to yourself “What in the world was that guy thinking before he left the house?”  Well, when you have 15 career grand slam victories, the most in tennis history, you can pretty much wear whatever you want.  Roger wears the bandana and wears it well. Women want him, men want to be him.  Let me get this straight.  The guy’s a model AND the best tennis player in history?  My tennis game is a model of how not to be played.  How is this fair?  Federer could probably make an eye patch look fashionable if he tried.


Legendary Honorable Mention: Jim Brown’s multi-colored skull cap , Payne Stewart tam o’shanter, James Worthy & Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s goggles, Bear Bryant &Tom Landry’s fedoras, Terry Bradshaw’s toupee.

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43 Replies to “The coolest headgear in sports: A top twelve list”

  1. Excellent! A nice creative spin on sports. Great read. And BTW your tennis game is darn good even without the bandana 🙂

  2. Ah…. 666.

    Must be football season in Gainesville. I’ll allow you to leave the orange and blue colored glasses on since it’s a big week.

    Still got a couch for me to crash on in Domestication Village?

  3. Thankin Frankin… Clyde was as cool as they come, man. I had to give him some love in the opening paragraph.

    I don’t know that anybody could pull that off these days.

    Except for you, of course.

  4. C’mon..You know Murray’s got it going ON! If there was a close 2nd it might have to be Spurrier’s Visor only b/c at the end of any given game it looks like Manny’s helmet!

  5. Chris

    Here’s a piece I did on the Seattle Seahawks. Let me know what you think as to the merits of the piece ? As and when you’re ready I’ll look forward to reading your comments.

    Sleepless In Seattle Who Knew ?

    I think that Brett’s headgear epitomizes redneck elegance when it comes to dresswear. But I doubt that the likes of Lagerfeld, Hilfiger , Hugo Boss or Calvin Klein would approve.

    Classic piece of non-sportsmanship on Brett’s behalf last night with that chop-block. He could’ve ended that player’s career there and then. What a friggin’ cheap shot ! Far too low and it was directly aimed at the player’s knees.

    Alan Parkins

  6. Ya never know, Al.

    Calvin Klein wanted to give Kramer his own cologne called “Beach” on Seinfeld.

    That was before they dropped him as an endorsement for hurling racial epithets at a comedy club.

    Talk about an abrupt end to a career. Michael Richards, thanks for playing.

    Re: The Favre shot, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think he meant to chop the guy that low.

  7. Chris

    That was as intentional as it could get ! Favre knew exacly what he was doing . Had he injured the guy severely . We all know for sure that there’d be an uproar. It’s because it’s Favre that everyone chooses to gloss over it. Were that an elite running back on the receiving or defender on the receiving end. What’d your thinking be ?

    Alan Parkins

  8. As for Michael Richards . I hear his next performance will be done courtesy of the Aryan Brotherhood ?

    How much of an _sshole must you be to let a couple of drunks if that all get the better of you ? Just goes to show that other Louis-Dreyfus and Seinfeld . There wasn’t all that much talent on the show to begin with !

    Alan Parkins

    Alan Parkins

  9. Chris

    What’s the over and under as to the number of Bucs’ game blacked out ? And the number of games won by the team ? Less than 8 ? More than 8 ?

    Here’s Goodell’s own view on the matter.

    Goodell:NFL teams could face blackouts

    Nice talkin’ with you Rog’ wouldn’t want to be ya’ . This is going to hurt a lot of the networks and advertizers immensely !
    Never-mind the fact that the NFL could lose some money. And we all know how tight they are to begin with !

    Alan Parkins

  10. Oh no, it had no bearing on WHO he hit. I didnt hear his post-game comments regarding the hit.

    It looked to me like he fell his old ass down and miss the proper block.

    I could be wrong.

    Are you suggesting he went to the John Stockton School for Dirty Play?

  11. I’ll check the Vegas lines on Tampa’s over/under but it’s definitely not 8.

    As far as blackouts go, in this economy, that’d suck if I couldn’t watch my favorite NFL team in the comfort of my own home just because they couldn’t sell out the stadium.

    They should really look at that rule this year.

  12. Here are a couple more for ya, CH.

    The shaved dome of MJ! Emulated by tens of millions of fans! Def top 12!

    Around 1989 a “Kid” came along wearing his baseball cap backwards. This led to millions of young men doing the same, to this very day. Def top 12!

    Dale Earnhardt Sr’s Gargoyle sunglasses! He sold millions of these glasses to his legions of sunburned fans. Def top 12!

  13. Han… I definitely needed some help on the NASCAR front. I thought about consulting you on the post.

    I did try to stay away from hairdos though, or lack thereof.

    That’s an entirely different post.

  14. Chris

    The thing Goodell doesn’t want to confront or address that scenario now. And it’s somewhat ridiculous of the hierarchy to appear so intransigent. It only hurts them in the long run and no one else.

    But I guess now that the US Dept of Labor has them under investigation. I guess he’s got more on his plate than he really needs at present.

    See link below.

    NFLPA: Confirms US Labor Dept looking into meetings

    In this case it’s both the union and NFL that are under investigation. As there’s the belief that there’s been collusion on their part and the sharing of privileged information. Union Pres Troy Vincent and Goodell are said to be in the midst of it all.

    As to Favre that’s another poor a_s excuse on his part. What’d have happened had he injured not only himself and the opposing player ? What then ?

    Alan Parkins

  15. Chris

    The Labor Dept has nowhere near that sort of perceived power to begin with. Furthermore with the NFL’s lobbyists up there on K Street, in D.C. You’d stand a better chance of closing down the Treasury Dept or perhaps HUD ?

    I see that the T’wolves’, David Kahn, their CEO & VP of Basketball Operations has started to whine about the Ricky Rubio situation ?

    If memory serves me correctly they knew that they’d have a hard time trying to convince the guy to come and play in Minnesota to begin with.

    Dropped this piece on the situation that they’re now in. Rubio has decided to remain in Spain for another two years having signed FC Barcelona (Badalona) of the Spanish league. The team’s also in part owned by the Spanish soccer giants of the same name.

    They Still Haven’t Got A Pot To Pi_s In Or A Window To Throw It Out Of But That’s What Makes The T’wolves, Oh So Funny …………

    Alan Parkins

  16. Howdy from the dark side,

    I have to nominate Don King and his hair.

    You didn’t have to see his face to know he was in the room.

    Did you get my picture from Alaska?


  17. Chris

    Ricky wants to play in a big market. Someone should’ve told him where Minnesota was to begin with . LOL,LOL ,LOL !!!!

    As to the Bucs. Wha’da I know about them to begin with ? Hell probably a lot more than that asinine coaching staff that Morris and Dominik put together . This is a pi_s ant organization is full of wishful thinking , grandiose schemes. But in essence they just don’t know what the hell it is that they’re doing.

    Much like the rest of the professional sports franchises in the Tampa Bay area. This has got to be one of the worst sport’s cities in the country. Not only in terms of support but also in terms of the common sense shown by each of the respective organizations.

    The Lightning is screwed up. The Rays are besides themselves. And the Bucs, oh they’re becoming the NFL’s answer to the L A Clippers.

    Dropped this piece on the upcoming bout between Mayweather and Marques.

    Rust ? What Rust ?………

    Click on either of the text links to view.

    Alan Parkins

  18. Chris

    A while seems like an eternity for some. In essence it’ll be a hell of a while before any of the teams in question will be truly competitive and hold their own against the ‘big boys’ within their domain.

    As to the hiring of Jagodzinski . What the hell had he actually done to warrant his hiring to begin with ?

    Just more of the many asinine decisions that’ve been made by the Buccaneers in recent times. Need I say anymore ?

    Alan Parkins

  19. Pingback: The Red Zone Report - The coolest headgear in sports, top NBA busts, Mets’ pitcher deals by running, and more

  20. Well, the Rays are competitive. If they were playing in any other division, they’d have a shot. But this year, the Yanks and Sox are too tough and the Rays just aren’t consistent enough.

    As for the Jagodzinski firing, I’m still reading up on it.

  21. Red Zone… I got grief from one Gator fan from not ranking Spurrier higher.

    The visor may be iconic but I wouldn’t consider it the coolest headpiece in sport.

    I thought it was already homer enough of me to rank him at five.

  22. I’ve got to throw my votes in for Gerry Cheevers goalie mask, the original Angels caps (with the halo) and the Pirates retro hats from the 7os.

  23. Chris

    Based on what we now see the Rays(72-61) would be competitive. But they still wouldn’t be in the midst of the playoffs as far as the wild-card goes.

    They’d still remain behind the Tigers(72-61). Last 10 games the Rsys are (5-5)) against the Tigers(7-3). And now they’ll meet in a weekend series. They’d also be behind the Rangers (75-58) as well.

    Your Red Sox (78-55) in essence, have the wildcard all sewn up , bar the shouting. It’s all now in their very own hands.

    Jagodzinski’s problem was that he and Morris were never on the same page as far as the qb situation goes. And the exact approach to take with regard to the Bucs’ offensive strategy , or lack of it thereof. This has now become a pi_s poor and badly ran organization.

    And what does it suggest to you when both Antonio Bryant and Kellen Winslow both have yet to play in any of the preseason games ? What the hell is going on ? Have the lunatics taken over the asylum there ? Neither of these players give a damn !

    Both are said to be injured. But if anything they’re both feigning injury. It sets the team right behind the 8 ball from the onset. Anyone who doesn’t see that now knows what a horrid situation they’re already in.

    Let me know what you think on the Mayweather – Marquez piece I did ? I look forward to reading your comments on it. It’s titled Rust ? What Rust ?

    Alan Parkins

  24. But Al, a disagreement over who should start at QB shouldn’t be the reason an offensive coordinator gets fired ten days before the start of the season.

    It’s gotta be more than that.

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