Like many NBA players, Los Angeles Lakers big man Pau Gasol has a signature look on the court. Along with his wide range of skills, Gasol presents himself with full beard and tousled hair. In the thick of competition, he can often look a little crazed. Yet the combination works — he's at once dignified and a little dangerous.
However, for the first time in nine years, Pau is now without his trademark beard. This summer, Pau and his younger brother Marc Gasol, star center for the Memphis Grizzlies, engaged in The Healthy Competition, in which each took a group of kids from their team's home city and encouraged them to eat better and live a healthier lifestyle. Marc's group narrowly outperformed Pau's, which meant that Pau had to shear his facial hair. As noted by Pau on Twitter, it's the first time he's been clean shaven in nine years, back when he was a young star for the Grizzlies. Watch the before and after in the video above, courtesy of our friends at the Yahoo Sports Minute.
As someone who shaved for the first time in five years this April (out of choice, not due to a lost bet), I can identify with Pau. Everything can look a little jarring at first, with the discovery of new crags, creases, and other ravages of age once hidden from sight. On the other hand, it's also a little liberating. In Pau's case, it may even help him to regain some youthful energy for a Lakers team in desperate need of a stellar season from their four-time All-Star.
Plus, if he doesn't like it, I'm sure it would only take him a few hours to grow the whole thing back.