The NBA can be a fun to league to follow in large part because it's not defined merely by its generationally important superstars. For instance, any list of the most memorable players of the early-to-mid-90s would be incomplete with Horace Grant, the sports-goggles-wearing power forward for the first Chicago Bulls three-peat and the Shaquille O'Neal/Penny Hardaway Orlando Magic. He had a noticeable look, was an essential member of some very good teams, and added color to a league that typically welcomes it.
In 2013, one of the newest members of one of Grant's old teams plans to bring his look back to the hardwood. Orlando Magic forward Jason Maxiell, signed this summer after eight seasons with the Detroit Pistons, has always worn Grant's No. 54. However, after getting eye surgery this summer, Maxiell says he will mimic Grant's spectacles on the court this season. From Evan Dunlap for the Orlando Pinstriped Post (via EOB):
Free-agent signee Jason Maxiell will become the second player in Magic history to wear no. 54, following Horace Grant. And if Maxiell gets his way, he'll also don Grant's familiar and iconic goggles, which were once the centerpiece of a Sports Illustrated cover, for the season ahead.
Maxiell underwent surgery on Easter to correct a detached retina, and he will "most likely" wear protective goggles for his own safety throughout the season. "I don't have to, but I would rather [wear them]." He's still not sure when or how the original injury occurred.
Currently, Maxiell is wearing a sleeker and more stylish pair of goggles similar to the ones Bo Outlaw wore when he was with the Magic. Maxiell says the Grant goggles are "a little more durable, [and] a little more my style."
Maxiell has a deserved reputation as a guy willing to do the dirty work, so he's likely correct that the chunkier specs are more his style. The sleeker look has been more popular in recent years with players like Amar'e Stoudemire, but Maxiell hearkens has never had an especially streamlined game. He gets dirty, and it makes sense that he'd wear goggles that look like they were created for factory workers.
We don't yet know if Grant approves of this move, but we can be certain that it will get a lot more people to remember one of the better power forwards of his era, as well as a key figure in the NBA Jam halftime report. With the Magic looking like a lottery team yet again this season, a little nostalgia won't hurt the experience.