LeBron first started wearing a headband during basketball, before it was a fashion statement. He simply wanted to keep the sweat out of his eyes.
Today, headbands in basketball are as common as high-tops and jerseys. Players wear them more for the look than to stop sweat. Off the court, they have become a part of urban fashion. And they are often a nice souvenir for fans lucky enough to catch one when a player throws his into the stands after a game.
Most people seem to remember the former N.B.A. star Wilt Chamberlain as one of the first players to wear a headband. But the man who made a fashion statement out of it — albeit an unintentional one — was Donald Earl Watts, better known as Slick.
Watts spent six seasons in the N.B.A., from 1974 to ’79, most of them with the Seattle SuperSonics. And like Robinson, when Watts started wearing a headband, he was not in search of a modeling contract.
“I had sweat everywhere,” Watts said by telephone from Seattle, where he lives. “I could hardly see sometimes because I played so hard.”
Watts attempted to solve his perspiration problems as a sophomore at Xavier University of Louisiana with a primitive approach. He stuck duct tape around his bald head, producing an inevitable result after games.
“My skin came with the tape,” he said. “So that was pretty horrifying.”
But after seeing Chamberlain wearing a headband, Watts said, he searched for one. He found a black one in the women’s section of a small sporting goods store in New Orleans.
The result was better than Watts could have expected.
He said he first wore it in a game against Alabama State and scored 40 points, and “the rest is history.”
The big question is will LeBron ever wear a headband again and could it be a Grand Headband?