Meeting the Multiple Personalities of Andrew Bynum's Hair

Grant Hughes@@gt_hughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistFebruary 25, 2013

Meeting the Multiple Personalities of Andrew Bynum's Hair

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    Andrew Bynum has been through a lot in his first season as a Philadelphia 76er, and the multiple personalities of his hairstyles provide a good glimpse into his emotional journey.

    Though he started out rather demurely, featuring a mildly unkempt afro in his first appearance as a Sixer this year, things quickly fragmented.

    The result was a season marked by distinct styles that partially reflected Bynum's personality at the time.

    When things were particularly bad, and hope seemed lost, a truly depressing hairdo emerged. And as things start to look more encouraging now, Bynum's follicles have taken on a more focused, positive look.

    Maybe that's reading too much into things, but hey, it's still fun to chronicle the amazing variations of his locks.

    Grab a comb and enjoy.

Before the Madness

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    Bynum greeted the microphones and cameras of media day on October 1, 2012 with a relatively sensible 'do.

    Sure, the mini-fro is a little uneven, kind of unruly and probably not aerodynamically sound, but compared to what would come later, the style here is pretty tame.

    And besides, aerodynamics really only would have mattered if there were any running in Bynum's future. Nearly five months have passed since this photo was taken, and the Sixers big man hasn't spent a minute sprinting down an NBA court.

    The guy wearing this look is presentable enough, but there's just a hint that things could get out of control quickly.

    Remember this as the "before" picture, everyone. Because the upcoming "afters" are going to get a whole lot weirder.


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    This photo was snapped less than two weeks after media day. Here, we can start to see some unusual angles appearing in Bynum's manicured 'fro.

    You can tell he's keeping the edges trimmed up, but up top, some strange stuff is going on.

    The front seems to have a windshield-esque slant to it, and the back is nicely squared off. It's possible we're dealing with an awkward angle here, but it seems just as likely that a protractor factored into whatever trimming took place.

    This style says, "I'm a gentleman who like blocks—whether on the basketball court or as an inspiration for squared-off hair."

The Electrocutor

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    Three weeks after "Angularity" debuted, Bynum blew things out. This photo from Nov. 4 features the most follicular volume Philly's injured center would achieve at any point in his hair evolution.

    The expression conveys surprise. You know, the kind one might feel upon jamming a finger into a light socket.

    There's a lot of attention to detail here, too. Note the white ends on many of the uppermost hairs. Some might argue that Bynum is going prematurely gray up there, but doesn't it seem just as likely that he highlighted those tips to achieve the full 1000-volt look?

    The personality behind this style seems to say something like, "I can't give my team a jump start on the court, but I sure can put a jolt through my hair."

    Other styles will ultimately be stranger, but this one is the most shocking.

    See what I did there?

Dualism in Texturization

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    Now things are really starting to get interesting.

    Toward the end of November, Bynum got a little texture in his ever-expanding cloud of hair. The result is an interesting combination of unruly afro and slicked-back refinement.

    I like to imagine this is what Pat Riley's hair would look like if he were involved in some kind of explosion.

    The styling here represents an interesting crossroads, as Bynum is no longer allowing his 'do to stretch its limits; he's now trying to control it with products.

    As a (totally untrained) psychologist, the personality associated with such a look screams "duality." And if you look close enough, you'll see a goofy kid at war with a buttoned-down business man.

Rock Bottom

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    Sidelined for months and looking no closer to a return, Bynum rocked a hairdo that somehow looked sad. It's odd, right?

    How can hair appear bummed out?

    Well, for starters, it helps to relax it, comb it forward and shape it into something that looks like a helmet. Maybe it's protective, designed to keep out any more bad vibes.

    This image comes from a depressing portion of Bynum's season, and this particular hair choice conveys a melancholy personality quite aptly.

The Philly Legend

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    Hey, you know who was really popular in Philadelphia a few years ago? Allen Iverson!

    Perhaps in search of some good will, Bynum adopted a style very reminiscent of one "The Answer" sported during his time in a Sixers uniform.

    The look is creative, sleek and a little edgy—just like the Iverson personality Bynum is clearly channeling here.

    Let's hope he doesn't start immediately shooting 40 percent from the field when he returns, though.


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    It's too easy to reference famed Batman villain Harvey Dent, better known as "Two-Face" in describing this 50/50 look.

    On the one hand, it's possible that intrusive cameras merely interrupted Bynum mid-braid. But another way to explain the personality associated with this hairstyle would be to say that he's in a transitional period.

    As Bynum nears a return to the court, he's clearly in the process here of organizing a few things. The fact that he's only half finished is a good indicator that both the player and the man are a work in progress.

    But if he starts flipping coins to make every decision, go ahead and start to get a little worried.

Everything's Under Control

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    This seems like as good a place to end as any.

    Here, Bynum has everything on his head organized into neat little geometric patterns. Perhaps the tightness of the rows and precise angles indicate that he's got everything under control.

    As he returns to practice and starts to focus on getting his basketball life in order, his hair has apparently followed suit.

    If you're a Sixers fan, maybe this kind of attention to detail is encouraging.


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