Could Richard Hamilton Cause a “Headband-Gate” Repeat?
Although I would personally like to forget the tumultuous 2006-07 Chicago Bulls season, I could not help but think of that faithful year Thursday when the Chicago Bulls formally introduced former Detroit Pistons guard Richard Hamilton.
I did not think of that season because of the parallels of the Chicago Bulls coming off a surprise season and signing a free agent from the Pistons, even though it is a frightening comparable.
No, my memory came in the form of a headband. Yes, a headband.
Bulls fans may remember that fateful Saturday night in late November 2006 when Ben Wallace defied the Chicago Bulls team rule on wearing headbands on the court.
For those unfamiliar with the story, Wallace was pulled from a game against the New York Knicks by then-head coach Scott Skiles. Assistant coaches attempted to reason with Wallace, who eventually removed the headband in the waning minutes of the first quarter.
Wallace returned the game, only to put the headband back on at the beginning of the second half, which prompted Skiles to bench him for the remainder of the game.
Wallace famously proclaimed little reason for wearing the headband, stating to theChicago Tribune simply, “I just felt like wearing it.”
This situation generated a lot of buzz around the basketball world and really was a microcosm for a disappointing Bulls season.
This night also brought to light the Chicago Bulls apparent no-headband rule. Fans were made aware of this as Wallace had stopped wearing his headband on a regular basis. However, Bulls fans may not have understand the scope of the rule until this spat.
Paxson observed Bulls bench player and Wallace-esque bust Eddie Robinson wearing the headband around his neck during practice.
Paxson believe this presented a choke hazard and advised Robinson to stop wearing it around his neck. Robinson refused to stop wearing the headband, causing Paxson to ban headbands altogether.
This leads us to today, Richard Hamilton’s first day in Bulls training camp.
Hamilton has worn a headband for the better part of the last eight years due in large part to supporting his famous clear facemask.
Hamilton wears the facemask because of past facial injuries but also as a superstition.
Current general manager Gar Forman said Thursday that the issue has not come up yet.
“We haven’t allowed headbands. I do not know if with the mask that’s required and where he is with the mask. That’s something we’ll look into.”
Hamilton claims the mask and headband are a vital part of his game, “Everything. Headband, mask, that’s my look…that’s like my cape. I can’t live without it. I can’t play without it.”
Head coach Tom Thibodeau said Thursday that he personally does not have a problem with players wearing headbands.
“The past is the past. I’m comfortable with the mask. If it helps him shoot, whatever he needs, I’m all for it.”
It appears for the time being we will not have a repeat of “headband-gate.”
This is a great thing, as the Chicago Bulls and especially their newest acquisition Hamilton need to be all-in for the Bulls to have a chance at an NBA championship.
Read this and all my published articles on Bleacher Report.