The other day, Damian Lillard Instagram’d a picture of himself wearing a white shirt, a grin, and a headband. He’s going to wear one next year, he says. The headband. Not the shirt or the grin.
I mean, he could grin. Nothing is stopping him, but league rules prevent him from wearing a shirt, so that’s out. Unless it’s compressive. Then you can wear as much of that stuff as you want.
For the first time, I had the urge to make an all-time Trail Blazers all-headband team:
Point Guard: Damian Lillard (cop-out)
Okay, so maybe he’s only played a handful of games with a headband in the NBA. Those came during the NBA’s Green Week during his rookie season, but by gum, he’s far and away the best Blazers point guard to ever don a forehead sweater. If he’s serious about wearing a headband next season and beyond, Lillard may go down as one of the best headband-wearing point guards of ALL TIME this side of Allen Iverson, who many would argue was just an undersized shooting guard. Speaking of shooting guards…
Shooting Guard: Bonzi Wells
Typing “all-time Blazers” and “Bonzi Wells” within 50 feet of each other leaves me feeling a bit peckish, but let’s be real: he absolutely wore a headband, and statistically speaking, he was pretty good… at least for a while. He had a few years of around 15 and 6 with some assists and steals thrown in. While his character was partially responsible for the Blazers franchise silently banning their players from wearing headbands for years until the arrival of Gerald Wallace, Wells was good enough on the court to make this list. And that says something… right?
Small Forward: Cliff Robinson
Yeah, he called himself “Clifford” later on, but before his name harkened a giant, red cartoon dog, he was Cliff, and uncle Cliffy rocked a mean headband. In his 8 seasons with the Trail Blazers, he averaged 16 points, 5 boards, a block, a steal, and 2 assists while shooting 35% from deep. At 6-11, those are nice skills, especially when he was coming off the bench. Talk about a deep, solid rotation. He played the 3, 4, and the 5 over his career, but a nearly 7-foot wing is too much of a curiosity and a matchup nightmare NOT to slot him at small forward.
Power Forward: Rasheed Wallace
SHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED. One of my favorite Blazers, from whom I learned how to shoot from a foot above my head. It took me at least a year to unlearn that, instead figuring out how to shoot from (or next to) my eyes. And while that adjustment allowed me to extend my range to beyond the arc, every now and again I get the ball in the post, hoist it nice and high, and let ‘er rip. Sometimes it goes in. Rasheed loved him some headbands, and even more loved throwing them when he got pissed off. Oh, Rasheed. We miss you. Kind of.
Center: Bill Walton
I mean, what can you say? Possibly the best Blazers player ever, and without a doubt the best to rock a headband back when the elastic was weaker than truck stop margaritas. Blah blah blah, he got injured… okay. But for one season, he averaged 18.6 points, 14.4 boards (leading the league), 3.8 assists, 3.2 blocks (leading league), and a steal. That’s silly. He only played about 230 regular season and playoff games with Portland, but he was getting 17 and 14 with nearly 3 blocks. If that’s not enough to put him at #1 on your “Best Blazers ever” list, it should at least be good for “Best Blazers with a headband” list.
Honorable Mention: Will “The Thrill” Barton
He’s the goofiest basketball player I’ve ever seen, everyone loves him, and his headband is bigger than his head. He deserves a spot on this list, just for fun. Maybe he can be the sixth man.