Headbands Un-Banned

The Un-banned

Want to wear a headband on game night? No sweat.

For the first time since Scott Skiles was named head coach of the team on April 21, 2008, Bucks players are free to wear headbands during games. Skiles let the players know about the change in Green Bay before their final preseason game this season.

Drew Gooden and Marquis Daniels are early adopters of the new look, having already sported multiple headband styles early on this season.

The Change

So, what inspired the policy change?

“Monta actually asked him (Skiles),” Gooden said. “He said there are a couple guys on the team that wear headbands. Coach said he didn’t have a problem with us wearing headbands. And that was basically it.”

Ellis, one of the team’s two captains, has opted not to wear a headband. Fellow captain Mike Dunleavy also has never worn a headband, and doesn’t plan on starting now. Dunleavy is starting his second headband-less season with Skiles.

“Yeah, he (Skiles) just started to open it up,” Dunleavy said. “And said if you want to wear headbands, feel free to. I guess as you get older, you begin to change your ways on things. So they are in play this year.”

The Stars and Stripes

LeBron James is the most famous NBA star currently embracing the headband. Other notable headband-wearers in recent years include Rajon Rondo and Carmelo Anthony. The look really only began to catch on in the 2000s. If you grew up watching basketball in the 1990s like I did, you probably can recall Clifford Robinson’s signature headband – it still stands out because he was just about the only player wearing one at the time.

“Historically you want to have a team of guys who dress the same way, involved in the same things,” Dunleavy said. “But nowadays, guys have what they wear, and you don’t want to throw guys off. If they are used to wearing a headband, they can wear a headband.”

Gooden and Daniels recently wore a stars and stripes-themed headband issued by the NBA to commemorate Veterans Day, celebrated on Nov. 11.

The Past and Future

While Skiles previously maintained no-headband rules, he had made exceptions in the past. In Chicago, he allowed Ben Wallace to sport his trademark headband, and in Milwaukee, Charlie Villanueva (who has alopecia universalis) wore one.

Meanwhile, Gooden and Daniels – veterans with a combined 19 years of NBA experience – now carry on in a style that they developed before arriving in Milwaukee. Gooden had worn a headband throughout his entire career before joining the Bucks, and he plans to keep wearing one the rest of the season.

In addition to Ellis and Dunleavy, neither Doron Lamb nor Ersan Ilyasova expressed interest in sporting a headband. Brandon Jennings used to wear a headband back in high school, but has no plans on bringing his headband years back. So, not everyone is riding the wave of the headband revolution (yet?).