Ranking & Decoding the Best Facial Hair in the NBA

As is true with the rest of society (NBA players are just like us!), we grow facial hair for different reasons. Some of us are just lazy. Some of us are hiding something (perhaps some acne, a scar, what we perceive to be a fat face). Some of us are compensating for something (<--- guilty parties felt the conviction immediately). Some of us prefer that extra IDGAF je ne sais quoi that a beard's masculinity brings.

All of these are fair, and all of these have their place.

I've ranked and classified the strongest facial hair brands in the NBA and also attempted to decipher the messaging behind each of them. See if you agree.


#10 Nikola Mirotic

Beard Classification: Mildly Feral

It's entirely possible that — when the facts come out — Nikola's beard started that fight with Bobby Portis. And also demanded to be traded.


#9 Javale McGee

Beard Classification: Functional --> Attempted Feral --> Inadvertently Comedic

Javale is Javale. A different dude. As is true of most things that Javale does: 

  1. He puts himself out there as one thing 
  2. We all say 'yeah Javale, we're good.'
  3. He keeps doing it and owning it and not really giving a shit. 
  4. We get a soft spot for him and say 'alright Javale, good on you for sticking with it.'

But he's still goofy.


#8 Quincy Acy

Beard Classification: Strongly Feral

Acy's entire existence is based around the fact that he's a bit unhinged under the rim. You could easily add a few bearskin pelts and a battle axe to Quincy's look and people would say 'what's good, Quincy?' No one would bat an eye. Quincy would bat an eye, though. He would literally bat someone's eye for a rebound, and it's likely because of that beard.


#7 Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets

Beard Classification: Regal

Dinwiddie's tight goatee is straight up funky, in the best way. It says 'I'm good to chill and perhaps entertain some ladies after the game, but don't think for a second that I won't %&#@ you up.' It's classic and fresh at the same time. I feel like Dinwiddie's beard insists on everyone sitting still while Isaac Hayes' By the Time I Get to Phoenix plays and cries its EYES OUT.


#6 Aron Baynes, Boston Celtics

Beard Classification: Very Much Feral, Inadvertently Regal

Pre-bearded Aron Baynes was a nondescript, steady player that seldom strayed from his role. He banged. He boarded. He got paid. Bearded Aron Baynes is still a fairly nondescript, steady player that seldom strays from his role. He bangs. He boards. He gets paid. But now he looks like a wildling that could also show up at a Tame Impala concert wearing Clarks and a jean jacket while still being a total black hole of masculinity in a 2 mile radius.


#5 Tyson Chandler, Phoenix Suns

Beard Classification: Feral by way of maturity

This might seem high, but hear me out: Tyson has visually entered that 'could burst into a fit of speaking truth at any moment' phase of his career, and his beard is a license to do so. It's a controlled but fiery indicator of passion. A thoughtful vet that might still chew your ass if you walk away when coach is talking. It's a stand-up beard.


#4 Steven Adams

Beard Classification: Intensely Feral

Only facial hair this strong could stroll into the hurricane of: getting repeatedly kicked in the nuts by Draymond, accidentally saying something super racist, being Russell Westbrook's longtime foxhole soulmate and still somehow stroll out of the other side whistling without a care in the damn world.


#3 Dario Saric, Philadelphia 76ers

Beard Classification: Irrepressibly Regal

Unquestionably the best stubble in the league. Look how dark that is! It refuses to go gently into that good night! It probably pipes up in the Sixer locker room with insightful thoughts on team-culture! It's interesting that the Sixers are sponsored by StubHub, because you could make the argument that Dario's chin and upper lip are a much more impressive hub of stub. Just saying.


#2 Milos Teodosic, Los Angeles Clippers

Beard Classification: Inadvertently Feral, Bizarrely Mildly Regal

Teodosic's beard communicates so many things, but most impressive is the fact his beard is not  in any way concerned with your opinion about it. His beard isn't thought about: it just happens. It's the most zero-fucks-given beard in the league. Varying directions of growth and wildly irregular borders. His beard is like that gnarly forest from Sleeping Beauty.

His beard has seen some shit, man. You don't wanna know about it. Milos' beard looks like it would drink a six-pack of Natural Light from a tope-colored fridge made in the 80s. Milos' beard looks like it has a recliner that he inherited from his grandparents and he just put a blanket over it and decided it was good enough. Milos' beard has a glass coffee table with gold trim and a big three-troughed ashtray sitting on it. There's a signed Burt Reynold's poster in Milos' beard's basement, and it was sloppily put in the frame.


#1 James Harden, Houston Rockets

Beard Classification: Iconic (but possibly hiding something)

The calories I would spend explaining this would be better used elsewhere. Maybe even to trim my own beard.