In case you've been watching the Utah Jazz this season, wondering, "Why don't any of these guys wear headbands?" Well, now you know.
It's not about each player making an individual choice to avoid the accessory, but rather a team policy from head coach Tyrone Corbin. From the Salt Lake Tribune's Aaron Falk:
Don't expect a change to the headband policy: "We've got towels if they want to wipe the sweat off their face," Corbin said.— Aaron Falk (@tribjazz) February 7, 2014
A fan responded to Falk's tweet, asking, "what is the reasoning behind this rule? Seems so arbitrary."
Jody Genessy of the Deseret News shared Corbin's explanation:
Corbin's high school coach banned headbands/sweatbands, made guys tuck shirts in. "It’s part about being a team more than individual stuff."— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) February 7, 2014
Corbin said Jazz have towels for sweat. "Plus, we’ve got some nice-looking guys and I think the headband takes away from their look."— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) February 7, 2014
The thinking that headbands or other individual accessories detract from team unity is not new in basketball circles. I had coaches in both high school and college who enforced the very same policy.
Corbin added his thoughts on that angle as well:
Ty Corbin sounds like Jerry Sloan when asked about headbands: "I haven't seen a headband yet that helped a guy make a shot or get a rebound"— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) February 7, 2014
Whether there's any truth to the theory or any evidence to suggest teams without headbands are more unified is another story. (We haven't seen a headband not help a guy get a point or rebound either.)
If it is effective, I'd hate to see where the Jazz would be without the policy. Utah's currently dead last in the Western Conference with a record of 16-32—though some may suggest the poor play has more to do with youth and inexperience.
Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report.