NBA Season Restart 2019-20

Disney World Diary: A bit of a hairy situation at restart

Hair stylists and haircuts are readily available for players (and media) in Orlando

Shaun Powell

Shaun Powell

ORLANDO, Fla. — The coronavirus pandemic has brought us together in certain ways that we could’ve never predicted. Being stuck in our homes and limiting our contact with outside services deemed non-essential tends to create a shared and somewhat frustrating experience.

Let’s get to the root of the subject. What I’m talking about is hair, and how it became a follicle fallacy for most of us over the last four months … and how the NBA addressed this very important issue here at the Walt Disney World campus.

Thankfully, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and his elves, during their intense and very expansive planning sessions for the season reboot, evidently placed this item on the agenda right next to testing, security, safety and the staging of games.

No doubt, someone raised their hand at this meeting and asked: “How can people get their hair done?”

And then, you can imagine every head at the conference table began to nod, pencils were sharpened and notes were taken as the compassionate NBA commissioner pounded his fist and bellowed: “Let’s make this a priority.”

Or something like that.

Anyway, the league had the foresight to squash an uprising by employing multiple barbers and stylists to offer their hair services over three-plus months at the season restart.

All 340-plus players here have access to barbers. The women on staff can get their hair styled. And this perk has filtered down to the media — which as you know are never held in high esteem — yet in this instance someone at the league office was sympathetic.

Players get free haircuts, but media fork over roughly the equivalent of a mortgage payment (or so I’ve heard).

I wouldn’t know because I packed my own clippers. I’ve been cutting my hair for years, ever since Father Time began making that choice easier; men of a certain age know what I’m talking about. I believe Charles Barkley says: “Come on home,” which in translation means don’t fight hair loss and just cut it close to the scalp.

I’ve cut my hair three times so far, using the strokes perfected from years of practice, and somewhere there’s a barber cursing people like me. Just a guesstimate, but I figure I’ve saved several thousands of dollars by skipping the barber. The only regret is I’ve missed out on those engaging barbershop conversations, which are considered therapy and part of the price you pay at the shop. Ice Cube made movies about those talks, and LeBron James (who needs to come on home by the way) even created a recurring TV show on that.

But what’s disturbing here at Disney is how grown men are turning down the chance at a free cut. I tell them I have clippers, and they backpedal. It’s such a confusing reaction. Marc Spears, the fine writer from The Undefeated, had the look of fright when I offered a free cut. Same for Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. Folks are so peculiar and picky when it comes to their hair. Even people on expense accounts simply refuse to look for bargains.

Maybe my skills aren’t what they seem? Or if the option is going to a professional barber, they choose that? It’s so insulting.

Whatever. My supervisor Steve Quintana will be thrilled to know how much I’ve saved the company with my DIY choice. Although I suppose that joy might be suppressed immediately if I ever offered to cut his hair.

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Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter .

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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