How do you decide how awesome a player is? Some might say it’s how many home runs they’ve hit or touchdowns they’ve scored. Others might think the most important thing is consistency. Maybe it’s how active they are in the community.
Today I’m here to suggest a new category: Hair.
There are a lot of athletes whose crazy hairdos are key to their uniform. But these, I think, are the 10 guys with the best hair in sports. Some of them are active players, others are retired; some have long, flowing locks, while others have spiky, outrageous looks. But the thing they all have in common is they’re awesome at what they do — and they have great hair stylists.
10. Odell Beckham Jr.
Odell’s ‘dos are almost as good as his catches. In May 2014, the New York Giants selected him with the 12th pick in the NFL Draft. In November 2015, he made one of the best catches of all time. And then he became one of the faces of football. He was on the cover of Madden Mobile, Madden 16, and was voted the top receiver in the 2016 Pro Bowl — all in addition to having incredible, two-toned, gravity-defying hair.
9. C.J. Wilson
C.J. Wilson was drafted by the Texas Rangers as a relief pitcher in 2001. Then, in late 2011, he signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. In addition to being a star baseball player, he’s a racing team owner. In 2014, CJ Wilson Racing finished 14th and 19th in the Daytona 500. But as a longtime Head & Shoulders “Mane Man,” there’s one other thing Wilson knows: hair.
8. Jayson Werth
At every great milestone, Jayson Werth’s hair has been there. When he stole home, or when he crushed his 1,000 hit, his hair was there. But his hair hasn’t always been that awesome. Once upon a time, he was a clean-shaven Orioles catcher. Then he was a Phillies outfielder with stubble and a full head of hair. In my opinion, though, his hair peaked when he came to the Nationals and began rocking the caveman look.
At age 24, Neymar has made a case as one of the best soccer players ever, with more than 250 goals. At the same time, the Brazilian superstar has established himself to have the best hair in soccer possibly of all time. Neymar now plays for FC Barcelona, and led Brazil to the semifinals of the 2014 World Cup. He’s also one of a few people in the world who can rock a mohawk.
6. Jacob DeGrom
Remember earlier, when I said that these players could have long locks? This is the player I was talking about. The 2014 National League Rookie of the Year has incredible hair. Or I should say used to have great hair? The Mets ace decided to shear his long flowing hair after the end of the 2016 season. Last year, he pitched the Mets into the World Series, finished with the fourth best ERA in the National League, and tied a MLB record for most strikeouts to start an MLB game. This young pitcher has a bright future — though I’m sure it would shine brighter if he grew out his hair again.
5. Clay Matthews
The Green Bay Packers linebacker is one of the best defensive players in the game with an average of 67.5 tackles a year. That’s legendary. Equally incredible: his long, golden, Thor-like mane. When he was drafted in 2009, he tied his hair in a bun. But now he lets it flow. Matthews’ contract with the Packers is up in 2018, and I can’t wait to see what the next few years hold for him, whether it’s playing for a new team or even (gasp) cutting his hair into a buzzcut.
4. Bryce Harper
Harper made his MLB debut at the age 19 with the Washington Nationals. In his first year, he collected 144 hits, 22 home runs, 98 runs, 59 RBIs, with 18 stolen bases on his way to being named the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year. In 2015, he was named NL MVP. There’s already talk of the three time all-star getting a $600 million dollar deal. Perhaps his power comes from his great hair.
3. Coco Crisp
The former Cardinals draft pick has played for the Red Sox, Royals, Indians, and most recently the Athletics. With almost 300 steals in his career, he is definitely a very good player. And he definitely has some awesome hair. From Afros to hair sculptures, Crisp’s hair constantly reminds the rest of us that we’re not cool enough. His more recent hairstyles pay tribute to the former MLB superstar Oscar Gamble.
2. Andre Agassi
Although he’s been out of tennis for almost 10 years, Agassi’s still a tennis legend — as is his hair. But before I continue, I should acknowledge that he admitted to sporting a wig in the 90’s to mask his baldness. But let’s not let that distract us from the incredible hair when he had it. The winner of eight Grand Slam titles rocked one of the best mullets the sporting world had ever seen. He might be bald now, but the legend of his hair lives on.
1. Troy Polamalu
Where do start on Troy Polamalu? I mean, the guy had about three feet of hair, people! The former Pittsburgh Steelers safety is a hair hero. As a longtime Head & Shoulders “Mane Man,” he knows his hair. He once claimed to have not cut it for more than 10 years. With more than 750 tackles in his career, Polamalu definitely has a spot as one as the best defenders of all time — not to mention the best sports hair of all time!
Photos: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images (Beckham), Scott Halleran/Getty Images (Wilson), Patrick McDermott/Washington Nationals/Getty Images (Werth), Denis Doyle/Getty Images (Neymar), Jim McIsaac/Getty Images (DeGrom), Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images (Matthews), Simon Bruty for Sports Illustrated (Harper), Brad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images (Crisp), Moenkebild/ullstein bild via Getty Images (Agassi), Grant Halverson/Getty Images (Polamalu)