October 27, 2010
When ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg reported on Tuesday morning that the NBA had made a move to outlaw upside-down headbands, my initial assumption was that someone was having a little fun with Chris. He's a smart dude and a great reporter, but the league can't be that petty, can they?
Because, yes, the NBA has banned upside-down headbands.
How can you tell it's an upside-down headband? Well, about a decade ago, when headbands were starting to come back into vogue after a 20-year or so absence, the NBA decided to cash in, and replace all the team-issued headbands they provided free of charge to their players, with a version that featured the famous NBA logo on top of the team colors. And you had to wear the logo'd version, for fear of a fine. Rasheed Wallace(notes) took it to the man by turning his headband inside-out, but the league came down on that, so Rasheed stopped.
[Related: The best-selling NBA jeseys in 2010-2011]
We didn't really hear a peep about the logo'd headbands for a few years after that, until 2007, when it became obvious that quite a few players were following Rondo's example and turning the logo upside down. We even posted about it, in BDL's early days.
Most of the players listed haven't really played much in the years since that post, while one guy (J.R. Smith(notes)) has dumped the headband altogether. But Rondo carried on, upside down all the way, with Jerry West facing downward on national TV dozens of times a year as the C's made it to the finals two out of the last three years.
But not anymore. Because he's been asked not to do it, by the league. And he's not wearing a headband anymore. He's playing against the Cavaliers as I write this, and he's still not wearing a headband.
Why? Because, yes, the NBA is that petty.
[Request for change: Cheerleaders protest skimpy uniforms]