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Pro Basketball Preview: Nothing but Hair

STERLING, ILL. (October 23, 2014) – Basketball is a game of statistics, and with the 2014-15 pro season about to tip off, one stat that’s impossible to miss is the sheer number of beards on the court. According to a new study from men’s grooming leader Wahl, conducted by STATS, eight in 10 players sported facial hair last season and that number is expected to grow—pun intended—this year. What’s driving this trend? Analysis of players with and without facial hair suggests it’s a combination of style and substance. Highlights of this study, as well as a breakdown of the most dominating facial hair styles in the league can be found in the new Best Beards in Basketball infographic.

The beard has long been associated with power, confidence, even virility, but performance? Recent studies from Wahl, whose facial hair trimmers help guys keep their beards in check, proved facial hair’s prowess on the baseball diamond and on the football field, so it would seem only natural that basketball, a sport in which style and style of play go hand in hand, would deliver similar results.

“Facial hair is self-expression and it’s safe to say no sport showcases a player’s individuality more than basketball,” said Steven Yde, director of marketing for Wahl Clipper. “While it’s hard to imagine a beard can make you perform better, there’s something to be said about performing the way you look and feel.”

MVP = Most Valuable Beard

One reason facial hair is sported by some 80 percent of players today may be its history of domination at the game’s highest individual level—most valuable player. In each of the past eight seasons, the league’s MVP has rocked a beard, in one form or another. These elite players have averaged an impressive 28 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists per game.

Facial hair dominates the frontcourt

When it comes to scoring, beards are a must. According to the study, nine of the top 10 and 20 of the top 25 scoring leaders in 2013-14 made it rain while rocking facial hair. The top facial hair leaders, in particular, averaged a wicked 27 points per game. And scoring is just the start. Those with scruff on their faces were also about sharing the ball as the top 10 assist men last season all sported it. Each of them averaged at least seven dishes per game.

Not only did facial haired players dominate the leaderboard in every major offensive category last season, as a whole those with man fur averaged more points, rebounds and assists versus their clean-shaven counterparts.

Beards rule the backcourt

Fear the beard—the expression may have started on the baseball diamond, but it might as well be the motto of the bearded warriors who live on the boards and make a living blocking shots. In fact, of the 21 players who eclipsed 650 rebounds last season, all but one of them had facial hair. In similar fashion, each of the 15 players who eclipsed 100 blocked shots in 2013 sent the ball back with a face full of scruff.  

Concerned that facial hair may slow you down? Don’t be. The top six ball thieves in the league took it away last season with quick hands and healthy stubble. In total, those with facial hair held a slight advantage in steals, blocks and defensive boards.

Best Beards in the League

The starting lineup for the all-beard dream team in 2014-15, assuming there was one,  would look a lot like this based on last season’s performance: Guard: James Harden, 25 ppg, 4.7 reb and 6.1 assists; Guard: Stephen Curry, 24 ppg, 4.3 reb and 8.5 assists; Forward: LeBron James, 27.1 ppg, 6.9 reb and 6.3 assists; Center: DeAndre Jordon, 10 ppg and 13.6 rebounds; and Guard: Deron Williams, 14.3 ppg, 2.6 reb and 6.1.

Real guys looking for facial hair styles and how-to tips should visit wahlgrooming.com. The site also features more information about the Power of Facial hair and its impact on pro basketball, football and baseball.  Connect with Wahl on Facebook and Twitter

About Wahl Grooming
Since 1919, with the invention of the first practical electric hair clipper, the Wahl Clipper Corporation has been the leader in the professional and home grooming category. A quarter-century ago, Wahl, recognized the desire for well-kept facial hair and created the facial hair trimmer category. Today, Wahl manufactures a variety of facial hair trimmers and clippers, including the first-ever line to harness the power of lithium ion. For more information visit www.wahlgrooming.com.

Study Methodology

Determination of facial hair’s impact on pro basketball performance included analysis by STATS of individual players’ statistics at the end of the 2013-14 season. For more information about STATS, the world’s leading sports statistical analysis company, visit www.stats.com

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Meghan Bitenc, (414) 225-9539, mbitenc@hyc.com

Patrick Kopischkie, (414) 225-9522, pkopischkie@hyc.com