Whilst browsing photos from the launch event for LeBron James’ latest signature shoe, it hit me: LeBron looks different. On closer inspection, it has become clear that he has magically re-established his hairline.
For years, LeBron’s hair has been receding.
It was already thinning around the temples as a rookie back in 2003:
As the years went on, he strategically placed his headband further and further up his forehead to cover his rapidly retreating hairline.
And when the headband could not possibly go back any further on his head without falling off, he simply resorted to a thicker headband:
Of course, he could not wear the headband everywhere off the court, so we got to witness his forehead in full effect:
Then came the Nike LeBron 12 launch event on Tuesday:
He clearly has a re-established hairline. The thinning at the temples is far less pronounced and he now has a thick head of frontal hair in the center, where it was looking wispy thin just weeks ago.
This is a more realistic and thorough job than Carlos Boozer’s infamous paint job. It appears that LeBron may have had hair transplant surgery similar to that undergone twice by English football star Wayne Rooney.
This is something he should have had done years ago.
Whilst some called for him to go the earnest Michael Jordan route and shave his head entirely, that was never going to work for James due to his awkward head shape. While Jordan had the perfectly round and symmetrical skull, LeBron’s is somewhat misshapen around the back.
When he has a short cut and no headband, he actually looks like Joel Anthony:
We are all human, meaning we are all vain and insecure to varying extents. James, one of the most scrutinized humans on the planet, appears to be more vain and insecure than most – at least when it comes to his hair. And who can blame him? The topic has been the source of much online ridicule by fans.
To his credit, he has begun to own the issue in recent years, even joking in 2011 that he had dreamed about his hairline’s return:
Now it appears to be back for real. It is a much better look. And unlike Kevin Durant’s summer 2013 mini-fro, which I broke down in ground-breaking detail, it is surely here to stay.
Will James be honest about it? I hope and expect that he will. This is too drastic a change for the world not to notice when the 2014/15 season comes around. Sooner than later he will be asked about the topic with a microphone in his face. It will be a chance for him to be open, show a human side, effectively admit his hairline-related insecurity and confirm that he has taken steps to eradicate it. It will be another mark of his growth.
Good for him.
EDIT – October 30, 2014: It turns out the re-established hairline was temporary after all. Was it a spray-on job? Was it glued on? Was it always meant to be temporary? Did he change his mind because he decided it would garner too much attention? Either way, I am disappointed. The season is here and LeBron’s hair is back to being as thin as ever: