A Brief History of Basketball and Male Pattern Baldness

Male Pattern Baldness can be a most cruel mistress. Experts suggest that 1 in 3 men will be impacted by hairloss by the time they reach 30. By 40 years of age, that number increases to 1 in 2. Yikes.

Athletes are men, only better versions of the species. They’re Supermen. But they’re also human, and as such not immune to the shedding process. Some in fact, show signs of baldness at a rather young age.

Australia’s own Phil Smyth felt the sting of MPB as a young man playing hoop for the Canberra Cannons of the NBL. Here he is doing stuff in 1989:

According to my calculations, Phil was a man of 31 in this clip. Poor bastard. Phil favoured the combover, a tried and tested (and failed, might I add) method. No one can detect a thing, Phil. Now go get me a bucket.

LeBron James is 30. He has been balding for some time now, but “hides” it “well” with a thicker than regulation headband. No one can tell, O Chosen One, I promise. Here’s Shaq and Charles Barkley making fun of him:

Shaq and Chuck are bald, but own it I guess. That’s the point.

Ron Artest aka Metta World Peace has some strong opinions about whether he’d prefer to have LeBron James’ receding hairline or Manu Ginobili’s bald spot:

I like that Mr World Peace tackles the big issues.

More currently, the Memphis Grizzlies employ a couple of follically challenged players, namely Nick Calathes aka Nicky Baskets, and Kosta Koufos. Both are from Greece, both are just 25 and suffering from early onset male pattern baldness. Here’s a clip of the two working some magic against the Magic, sponsored (unofficially) by Rogaine: