Today we will be taking a look at the best players throughout the course of the NBA that rocked dreads. Looking through the history of the league, some of the best players of all time had dreads at one point in their career.
For this list, we will break the players into two categories, the best in the league with dreads today, and the best players with dreads of all time.
What Are Dreads
Dreads are one of the most popular hairstyles in modern culture. It is defined as a hairstyle in which the hair is washed but not combed and twisted while wet into tight braids or ringlets hanging down on all sides.
Outside of the NBA, some other big names that wear dreads are Lil Wayne, Bob Marley, and Whoppi Goldberg. The meaning of dreads changes vastly from culture to culture and even from person to person.
Some wear the hairstyle to represent the beginning or end of a chapter of their lives, some wear the style for religious reasons, while others just like the way that it looks.
Best Players With Dreads Currently In the League
Currently, dreads are one of the most popular hairstyles in the NBA. As a result of this, some of the top names in the league have donned the look a time or two.
Arguably the best player in the entire NBA with dreads at the moment is Ja Morant. Morant has one of the brightest futures out of anyone in the league. His athleticism is out of this world, he is developing into an amazing leader, and his jump shot is already developing quickly. Although Morant has only been in the league for three years, he has quickly made his way up the NBA totem pole and now is one of the favorites to win the MVP award.
With Morant being such a young player with his athleticism not leaving for years to come, the sky is the limit on the kind of player that he can become. Many have compared him to someone who will show up a bit later on this list, Derrick Rose. If he is able to avoid injuries and continue to develop his jump shot, he has the potential to be a top point guard in the NBA for years to come.
Along with this, his team, the Memphis Grizzlies have an incredibly bright future. Last season, Morant led the Grizzlies to the second seed in a hyper-competitive Western Conference. They were eventually bounced from the playoffs by the eventual NBA championship-winning Golden State Warriors in the second round. Despite this, the Grizzlies are still one of the youngest teams in the league and it is clear that they are here to stay as championship contenders for years to come.
Jimmy Butler recently took NBA Twitter by storm when he posted a picture with full dreads. This was a shock to many as just a few months before, he had a hairstyle that was much shorter. It is unknown whether or not Jimmy will be bringing the dreads with him into the 2022-2023 season, however, it appears that they are here to stay at least for the offseason. After the initial photo of the new hairstyle, Butler has later been pictured with the same hairstyle working out with his trainer.
Butler has had a few twists and turns throughout his very respectable NBA career. He started off as the last pick of the first round, being selected by the Chicago Bulls. Butler did not see much playing time coming into the league and still had a lot of ground to make up in his offensive game.
However, through the hard work and obsession with the game that he has become known for, he became the face of the Chicago Bulls. For some time, there was allegedly a power struggle behind the scenes between Butler and Derrick Rose over control of the team. Rose was from Chicago and showed the potential to be a generational point guard, however, injuries left his career being a shell of what it should have been.
The Bulls would eventually pick Butler to be their franchise player, however, due to an incompetent front office, they could not build a team around him and they were forced to trade him to the Timberwolves.
After countless run-ins with teammates and many in Minnesota thinking Butler was a headcase, he was shortly traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. Butler was a part of a very talented 76ers core, however, once again due to front office mishaps, Ben Simmons was deemed more important to keep around and Butler found his way to the Miami Heat.
At this point in his career, the general narrative was that Butler was a head case and a locker room cancer. Never being an organization to fall for headlines, the Heat took their shot with Butler and he has had a complete resurgence with the Heat. He is a top player at his position along with being one of the league’s premier defenders.
The final current player that will be covered is Derrick Rose. When asked why he made the choice to grow his hair out and get dreads, Rose was quoted as saying, “A lot of people don’t understand, but I feel with black people, our hair is everything. Our hair is power. Growing my hair out, it felt like I was gaining my strength but also becoming more mature. I began to leave that revenge side behind”.
As previously mentioned, Rose’s career is one of the biggest what if’s in the entire course of NBA history. He had the potential to be a top-five point guard of all time and got off to arguably the hottest start ever. Rose became the youngest player to ever win the MVP award. Along with this, he was the face of his hometown Chicago Bulls.
It appeared that Rose’s Bulls were building up to be enough to take down the Miami Heat. There were a handful of tough games and series between the two teams during this era. However, tragedy would strike Rose just as he was reaching his peak.
During the fourth quarter of a meaningless playoff game that was already decided, Bulls then head coach Tom Thibedeau chose not to pull Rose from the game and he suffered the first major injury of his career that would begin one of the worst injury streaks the league has seen from a star of Rose’s status at that time.
His initial injury kept him sidelined for over a season and would end up being the beginning of the end of his time as a star in the league. Since he departed from Chicago, he has bounced from team to team, playing for the New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons, and finally returning to the Knicks where he still plays today.
Although he is not the star that we remember him as Rose is still a talented and valuable player even today. He even received a first-place MVP vote in the 2020-2021 season.
Best Players With Dreads of All Time
Now, we’ll take a look at the players who made the hairstyle popular in the league.
Allen Iverson is known as the player who made dreads and cornrows popular in the NBA. At the time Iverson rose to popularity, David Stern was the commissioner of the NBA and he ran a very tight ship.
As a result of this, there were rules in place on what kind of clothes players had to wear to games, and it was clear there was a certain way that the league wanted its players to present themselves. Iverson was the player that broke the barrier on this and without him, we likely would not be seeing the pregame outfits or the hairstyles that we see today.
If Iverson was not the caliber of player that he was, there is not a chance that he would have had the cultural impact that he did. However, basketball talent was one of the things that Iverson really never had to worry about until later on in his career. Although he was inefficient at times, he was one of the game’s best scorers. Along with this, he is still regarded as being a top three if not the best ball handler of all time.
On the defensive end, he had incredibly quick hands and racked up a mind-boggling amount of steals over his career. Despite not always being the most willing passer, and taking defensive possessions off at times, Iverson is still one of the best to play his position. Finally, his 2001 playoff run was one of the most impressive stretches of basketball that we have ever seen.
Chris Bosh wore dreads through the statistical prime of his career. During his time with the Toronto Raptors, Bosh was one of the biggest names in the league. Statistically speaking, this was the prime of his career. He was the first option, the face of the franchise, and the team ran through him. However, Bosh willingly gave this position away to join LeBron James and Dwyane Wade on the Miami Heat to form the “Big Three”.
During his entire time with the Heat, Bosh had a buzzcut and his game saw a lot of changes throughout this period. Coming into the formation of the “Big Three” neither of the stars were incredible shooters.
As a result of this, Bosh is the one who made the enormous sacrifice of changing his entire style of play to make the team work. He switched from a more traditional big role to being a stretch four or even a stretch five at times. The “Big Three” of James, Wade, and Bosh would make it to the NBA Finals every season that they played together and finished with a Finals record of 2-2.
After the 2014 Finals loss against the San Antonio Spurs, James left the Heat to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers. This move left Wade and Bosh hanging out to dry in Miami. The duo of Wade and Bosh still clung around as a playoff team, however, they never made any deep playoff runs together without LeBron. A handful of years after the Heatles broke up, Bosh was forced into premature retirement due to blood clots that could have turned fatal if he continued playing.
The final player we will cover today is Ben Wallace. Wallace began his career as an undrafted free agent. He is one of the few players in the history of the league that was able to make it to an All-Star game despite not being drafted coming into the league. Wallace was known as a Hall of Fame level interior defender.
Over the span of his fifteen-year career, Wallace was a one-time blocks champion, a two time rebounding champion, a four-time Defensive Player of the Year winner, a four-time All-Star, a five-time All-NBA player, a six-time All-Defensive player, and last year, he was announced as a member of the Hall of Fame.