Making a Spectacle: The 10 Best Goggles/Glasses in NBA History
The history of eyewear in the NBA is a rich one. Nobody's going to poke fun at "old four-eyes" when he jams the ball through the hoop and in your face.
Eyeglasses were first invented by Salvino D'Armate in Italy back in 1284. Since that time, many people have worn glasses. In fact, an estimated 96 million Americans require glasses or contact lenses.
Even with advancements in corrective vision such as Lasik surgery, many people prefer to don the classic spectacles.
In the sports world, many players opt for prescription goggles to help them see. Here are 10 of the best NBA players to wear glasses or goggles on the court.
Formerly known as Lew Alcindor, Jabbar was drafted first overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1969 NBA Draft. Kareem has gone on to become one of the greatest players of all-time.
Kareem holds the record for most points scored by an NBA player in a career with 38,387, over 10,000 more than any active player.
Jabbar has racked up six NBA titles, six MVP awards, 19 NBA All-Star appearances, a Rookie of the Year award, and NCAA Player of the Year nod, among many other achievements.
Kareem also had some fine movie roles in his post-NBA career. Among them; Game of Death (with Bruce Lee), Airplane!, Fletch, and, everybody's favorite basketball film, Slam Dunk Ernest.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wore goggles after having his cornea scratched in a college game against Houston. He has since worn them for protection.
One trademark of his is highly effective sky hook shot, which has yet to be replicated with similar results.
In November of 2009, Kareem was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia that, if treated properly, will not hinder his ability to live a long and normal lifestyle.
When you are on a teams with Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Magic Johnson, it's very easy to get overlooked. James Worthy wasn't even the most famous guy with goggles on his team.
On the court, however, teams had to take notice of Worthy because he too, was a force to be reckoned with.
"Big Game James" won an NCAA Championship with North Carolina and three NBA titles with the LA Lakers. Worthy was recognized as the Most Outstanding Player in the 1982 NCAA Tournament and in 1988 was named MVP of the NBA Finals.
The seven time NBA All-Star spent his entire professional career with the Lakers and remains one of the most underrated players in NBA history.
Kurt Rambis was best known for wearing his Buddy Holly-style glasses and an ever present mustache.
Rambis played in the Greek League before signing with the LA Lakers in 1981, where he spent most of his 14 year NBA career. In LA, Rambis accumulated four NBA titles.
Rambis went on to become an assistant coach for the Lakers in 2002 under head coach Phil Jackson.
On August 8, 2009 Rambis was introduced as the new head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Sadly, Coach Rambis has neither a mustache or those glasses that he was so well known for in his playing days.
Though not the first name that comes to mind when you think of the Utah Jazz in the eighties and nineties, Thurl Bailey was the seventh overall pick for Utah in the 1983 NBA Draft.
As part of Jim Valvano's miracle 1983 NC State Wolfpack NCAA championship team, Bailey led the team in scoring and rebounding.
After his playing career, Bailey went on to record some R&B/Nu Soul fusion records, converted to a Mormon, and becoming active in the Republican party.
We like to remember him best for his sweet eyewear and short-shorts
A member of the University of Houston's "Phi Slamma Jamma" with Clyde Drexler, "Hakeem the Dream" fell short of the NCAA Championship three times before bolting to the NBA.
The Houston Rockets selected Olajuwon first overall and were never second guessed in a draft that included Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, John Stockton, and...ahem...Sam Bowie.
Hakeem went on to win two NBA titles with Houston (as well as two Finals MVPs), along with an NBA MVP honor, an Olympic Gold medal, and a slew of other accolades.
For only a short period in 1991 did Olajuwon wear goggles, but for being such an outstanding player, he was worth mentioning on this list.
Buck Williams was named NBA Rookie of the Year in 1983 after being selected third overall by the New Jersey Nets. He went on to have a 17 year career with three NBA All-Star appearances.
With all of his accomplishments, an awesome name, and a reputation for durability, it's sad that the only thing we can rely on people remembering about Buck are his goggles.
Nobody in the NBA embraced the goggles more than Horace Grant. Often changing the color of his rims to match his teams colors, Grant turned his vision problem into a fashion accessory.
With the Bulls for three championships, the Lakers for one, and the Magic for another appearance in the Finals, along with a stint in Seattle, Grant was a reliable source of rebounds and overall intensity.
Besides having one of the toughest names in sports, Bo Outlaw ushered in the new era of NBA goggles.
Bo was never the best player in the league, but he did provide oft overlooked defense for his teams.
After recording his first triple-double, Outlaw responded with, "What’s that, some kind of hamburger?"
No Bo, that is some kind of stat.
Ben Wallace is one of the all-time great NBA defenders. Winning a championship with the 2003-04 Detroit Pistons and winning four Defensive Player of the Year honors, Wallace has cemented his name in NBA history.
In 2005, Wallace wore oversized goggles for part of the first quarter of a Piston's game. It was just enough to put his name in goggles history as well.
Amar'e Stoudemire was the first player drafted out of high school to go on to win Rookie of the Year, which he did in 2003 by beating out Yao Ming.
Stoudemire is a four time NBA All-Star and a one time Olympic bronze medalist.
Amar'e overcame persistant knee problems only to be plagued by persistant eye problems. His solution, eye surgery and a new style of goggles made by Oakley.