All Game, No Shame: Ranking the Top 10 Beards in the NBA Today

John Dorn@johnsdornCorrespondent IIIMarch 24, 2015

All Game, No Shame: Ranking the Top 10 Beards in the NBA Today

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    NBA players are known to take pride in their appearance—both on and off the court. Over recent years though, one trend has taken center stage, touching every team's roster at one point or another. 

    Facial fur is sweeping the league unlike ever before, with players' beards becoming not only a style, but a representation of who they are. 

    Of course, we're all familiar with No. 1 on this list, but plenty of NBA players are giving a certain Houston Rocket a run for his money. Ahead, they're ranked, from 10 down on to numero uno. 

10. Joel Freeland

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    Joel Freeland of the Portland Trail Blazers hasn't just improved his beard game since entering the league in 2012, but his whole look. A lengthier look on top with his high fade perfectly transitions into a full, thorough beard. 

    The English big man hasn't gotten much time to show off his facial locks of late, which hasn't allowed him to earn proper praise as one of the league's most underrated beard farmers. He's averaged just 14 minutes this season, missing 22 games with a shoulder injury immediately after sliding into then-injured Robin Lopez's starting role. He impressed in his eight-game stint as primary Blazers middle man, averaging five points, eight boards and more than a block per game. 

    He's played in just five of Portland's 10 games since being activated, but hopefully he can contribute more to the Blazers soon so that he can, in turn, contribute to the league's community of established beards. 

9. Carlos Boozer

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    Los Angeles Lakers forward Carlos Boozer is far from the perfect player. But his beard? It's pretty close.

    The same unfortunately cannot be said about his notoriously once-Sharpied-in head of hair, but at this stage of his career, Booz will take whatever praise he can get. 

    His glaringly bald head only brings more attention to the deep, dark forest growing around the rest of his face, making for a good look. Boozer seemed to embrace his weakness up top to focus solely on his beard game. Good for him. 

    Also, it helps the whole "randomly screaming" schtick hit even harder. Bearded man yelling at the universe versus non-bearded man yelling at the universe? The choice is obvious.

8. Marcin Gortat

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    We've moved on to the predominantly terrifying division of our ranking. At No. 8 is the uber-intimidating, but actual teddy bear, Marcin Gortat. 

    The Washington Wizards center sports a unique, pointy beard that, when paired with his mohawk, made his skull look something like a diamond. The mohawk has been gone for some time now, but pointy, terrifying beard remains. 

    If you're wondering what the Polish Hammer would look like without his key quality, here's a photo, but it's not for the faint of heart. "The beard makes the man" is a phrase that has something to do with video gaming, but it can double as Gortat's retroactive yearbook quote. 

7. Nikola Pekovic

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    Nikola Pekovic is terrifying. His beard is terrifying. His tattoos are terrifying. His 12.5 points per game this year are terrifying (not exactly, but if anyone asks, I'm not the one who said so). 

    Pek's entire look makes his beard better, just like his beard makes his look better. It would be much more fitting if his play resembled something close to a defensive stopper or feared rebounder, but we'll accept the Wolves center bears resemblance to an actual wolf.

6. Tyson Chandler

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    Something like Carlos Boozer earlier, Tyson Chandler's transition from haired man to bald man has really allowed him to establish an identity as bearded man. 

    Exhibit A: 2011. Sure, Chandler was the defensive lynchpin on a Dallas Mavericks team that knocked off LeBron James' favored Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. But did he have a world-class beard? Nope. 

    His facial-hair game truly came into its own with the New York Knicks in 2011, when he established the look he maintains today. Now back with the Mavs, with talented teammates and a ferocious beard, Chandler is enjoying one of his best seasons ever. Coincidence? Not a chance. 

5. Chris Andersen

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    Chris Andersen has been the face of wild NBA looks for nearly a decade. Between the sky-high mohawk and a rainbow full of tattoos, he's solidified himself as the league's standout persona when it comes to, well, standing out. 

    But recently, with the mohawk chopped down significantly and the Miami Heat's team colors calling a bit less attention to Birdman's ink than Denver's light blue and yellow, the center has added a new level to his flare. 

    With Miami, Birdman's beard has flourished. The blonde facial blanket may go by unnoticed to some, and that's a shame, because it's remarkable. Some men would kill for a mustache and goatee so complete. 

    At age 36, Andersen has found a bit of refined maturity to his wild look. 

4. Kyle O'Quinn

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    The kids down in Orlando tend to fly under the radar, given the Magic's futility since trading Dwight Howard in 2012. But 6'10" forward Kyle O'Quinn's facial accomplishments cannot be understated any longer. 

    The 24-year-old is a key reserve for Orlando, putting in six points and four boards a night over 16 minutes. But every true NBA head knows the true value of a player can't be put into any metric. Take O'Quinn's beard, for example. There's no number that can describe that beauty. Except maybe a 100 emoji. 

    The big man actually trimmed down his trademark on Feb. 20, but in its most premature state, even a beard novice can recognize and appreciate the tremendous facial-hair-growing genes this man was blessed with.

3. Quincy Acy

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    Quincy Acy is on the worst team in the NBA, is no longer playing many minutes for Derek Fisher's Knicks and could be out of the team's long-term plans. But as long as he refrains from chopping down his glorious beard any time soon, he'll always have at least one thing going for him. 

    Similar to Acy's playing career, though, there still looms the question of untapped potential when it comes to Acy's facial hair. The forward has always neglected the deployment of a full mustache to complement the rest of his head's hair.

    That 'stache's absence docks him a few points on our scale, though having the No. 3 beard in the NBA is nothing to be ashamed of. 

2. Nikola Mirotic

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    NBA newcomer Nikola Mirotic brings a lot to the table for the Chicago Bulls. Going in the first round of the 2011 draft, Chicago has been aware of his versatility for years now. But it's unlikely it knew what great beard prospects he truly had. 

    Just 24, the Montenegrin big man already sports one of the league's top editions of facial hair. Paired with a full head of hair as well, Mirotic must have serious issues staying cool over the course of an NBA game. But these are the sacrifices you make when you're quickly climbing the league's beard ladder. 

    Finally getting major minutes under Tom Thibodeau, the rookie has averaged 20 points, eight rebounds and a block over his last 12 games. It's about time the NBA world gets to see that beard on display for 30 minutes a night.

1. James Harden

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    This isn't exactly new news, but James Harden has the most luxurious beard game in the NBA. It's not particularly fair, and the race isn't all that close.

    The MVP candidate's mini-fro-hawk is a key staple to the look as well—without it, his trademark just isn't complete.  

    Harden's barber continually blesses him with this look before what seems like every game. It's not easy to make such a lengthy beard appear so refined, but the Houston Rockets star has it locked down. No mustache overhang, sideburns blended to perfection. 

    2015 figures to be a big year for Harden, as he's in the MVP debate and his Houston Rockets rest comfortably at third place in the Western Conference. Bow down to the NBA's beard king, as if you weren't already.