ORLANDO, Fla. — The men at Tony's Downtown Barber Shop squabble about two main things before every basketball game comes on: who is going to win the game and who has the best hair.
And there is no evidence to prove which argument is more popular.
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“Oh, yeah, we talk about it,” said Tony Williams Jr., who co-owns the shop with his father and cuts hair for Michael Jordan's golf buddies. “Athletes and entertainers make up 90 percent of the influence for our hair.”
African-American clients coming to Williams' shop near the Citrus Bowl ask for hairstyles to reflect the image of many of their favorite athletes. Right now, the most popular styles are the Dwyane Wade, for the zig-zag hair lines shaved in, and the clean-cut edge-up like Deron Williams of the Utah Jazz.
But whether it's wearing a fade, afro, mullet or ponytail, sports figures reflect the culture of our times through their style.
The Orlando Sentinel compiled a list of our all-time favorites — the top 10 greatest sports hairstyles.
1. Michael Jordan
There was the tongue wag, the spectacular dunks and that bald head. Yes, the all-time greatest sports hairstyle, oddly enough, does not require hair at all. And for that, every bald man and sometimes a woman, a la Britney Spears for a brief moment, should thank Michael Jordan for making bald officially cool. So cool, in fact, even guys like Mike Bianchi can wear the Mr. Clean head with style.
2. Marv Albert
Before there was Bob Costas, there was Albert. No one can wear sportscaster hair quite like Albert. The famous broadcaster joked to Sports Illustrated once that God gave him the choice of having great hair or a great sports-announcer voice. He chose the hair.
3. Julius Erving
If you can't appreciate the afro, you don't understand professional basketball. Erving was the face and his hair was the soul of the ABA, the NBA's rebel brother before the leagues merged.
4. Larry Bird
Never has a man been able to pull off a mullet and curly perm with such grace. In a year when the Celtics took the NBA title, it's only fair to pay homage to one of the best players in their history.
5. Chris Evert
She was tennis' original hot blonde. She was one of the best players in the world and her spunky ponytail made her an American sweetheart.
6. Allen Iverson
He sparked a sports fashion hair trend with the cornrows in the early 2000s.
7. The Williams sisters
If you closed your eyes in their early years, you would hear the sound of marbles smacking into each other after every serve by a Williams sister. They left a lasting impression on the public with their colored hair beads, and still impress us today with their original styles.
8. Dorothy Hamill
The elegant figure skater paved the way to the ‘80s and ‘90s chili bowl haircuts and short hairstyles that defined Olympic gymnasts like Mary Lou Retton and Kerri Strug. Hamill helped make short hair cute and feminine.
9. Andre Agassi
The tennis wild child evolved from messy mullet to buzz bald effortlessly. His ability to skip over the ridiculous combover as we watched him lose his hair was admirable.
10. Shaun White
Anyone with the nickname “the flying tomato” deserves a place in the hair hall of fame. Less than 5 percent of the world's population is naturally redheaded, so the gold medal Olympic snowboarder is truly unique.
WHAT PROS SAY
The barbers of Jay's Pure Platinum Hair & Nail Studio in Orlando compiled their own top 10 list:
1. Pedro Martinez, baseball
Jheri curl: Can you say drip, drip?
2. Manny Ramirez, baseball
Dread twist: Looks like snakes are having a meeting on top of his head.
3. Troy Polamalu, football
Long and wild. Every day is a bad hair day.
4. Don King, boxing
Keeps dodging a fight with clippers.
5. Shannon Briggs, boxing
Dreads and bleach, a bad combo.
6. David Beckham, soccer
With $250 million, I don't care how crazy my hair looks.
7. Pau Gasol, basketball
You're a millionaire and you can afford a trim.
8. Tim Duncan, basketball
His edge never quite lined up straight.
9. Rampage Jackson, MMA
Don't like my bald head? Come tell me!
10. Chad Johnson, football
Blond mohawk: Dennis Rodman told me to!
© 2008, The Orlando Sentinel (Fla.).
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