Minimalists in Sports: Athletes Who Wear the Least Equipment

Matt King@TheRealMattKingFeatured ColumnistAugust 9, 2012

Minimalists in Sports: Athletes Who Wear the Least Equipment

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    Safety is important in sports, especially these days. Hockey players didn't used to wear helmets. Now all of those guys have more gear and padding than your average soldier.

    But there are still some sports that have shied away from bulking up with a bunch of equipment. Today, we salute these athletes for their bravery and cover our eyes whenever they play. 


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    You know how people watch film of the NFL when it was just getting started and guys weren't wearing anything except those old leather helmets and are all like, "oh my goodness, so brutish!" Well, that's how rugby still is, and it may just be more brutal than football.

    If you've seen some of the hits guys take playing rugby without pads on, you would think NFL players need to stop whining about those "roughing the quarterback" penalties.

Bull Fighting

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    If you put me in a ring with a bull, I would require one of those full body suits that guys wear to train police dogs. But bullfighters go in with a sparkly outfit and a cape.

    No shoulder pads or anything, guys? No facemask? You do know there's a bull in front of you, right?


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    MMA is just a couple of tiny, ineffective gloves away from having literally no equipment. No pads? These guys don't even wear shirts.

    At least boxing has the big padded gloves. In MMA you can punch and kick each other with almost nothing between bone to bone contact but a little flesh.

    I don't see them strapping on pads anytime soon, either.

Jai Alai

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    Jai Alai balls come flying at players at speeds up to 188 miles per hour. Yet all they wear is one little helmet. In baseball there are 100 mile per hour fastballs and Barry Bonds used to strap bullet proof vests to his arms and legs before at-bats.

    They call it the most dangerous sport in the world. I can't imagine why.


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    This one seems kind of out of place with the others on the list, but it makes sense, I promise.

    You see, basketball players don't really have any equipment. Aside from their shoes and things like the shooting sleeve Kobe wears, it's just them and the ball. And the defenders that they bump up against all game long.

    Of all the sports in the U.S., basketball racks up the most injuries year after year, so take that for what it's worth. These guys go all out without hardly any protection at all.