17 September 2008

Best Beards In Sports, Part II

Man, the more research I do on this, the more sites I'm finding dedicated to keeping track of all the awesome facial hair in sports. To stay relevant I'm going to find the overlooked treasures lurking in corners, the poetic statements on the irrelevancy of the razor, the glorification of shagginess in a world of metrosexuality (ed note: I don't just hate the Yankees because I'm a Masshole, I hate them because of their regressive facial hair policy). However, I think it's only fair to link up to those who have come before and made lists of their own, because there's no accounting for taste (clearly).

There are more basketball beards than I first realized and the NBA has even put together their own best beards in NBA history list. Their list was inspired by Baron Davis, who is leading the charge to bring back the glory days of the '70s. There are some magnificent face nests going on here, but personally, I think Bill Walton tops everyone. Le Basketbawl has a few quality photos and a bunch of links as well, go check those out.

However, let's not start with basketball. Instead, let's take a look at a sport that lately has been overrun with metrosexualism: football (soccer). Like basketball, football had a grand tradition of facial hair that's mostly fallen by the wayside. Irish legend George Best is probably the most notable proponent of beardism, followed by 1982 Brazilian World Cup star Socrates. Former captain of my beloved Newcastle Brian Kilcline was signed by King Kev his first time around (back when they were good) and Spurs have had a couple beardos in Steve Archibald and Ricky Villa. Germany not only dominates in the World Beard & Moustache Championships, but they also seem to consistently produce footballers like Paul Breitner & Manfred Kaltz who display an intimidating face. These days very few footballers are countering the Cristiano Ronaldo-ization of the game, but here are a few notables:

I was disappointed when Olof Mellberg left Villa for Juve, because there is a dearth of great beards in the EPL, but he was inconsistent anyway. Keep the viking look, Olof!

With Mellberg gone it's been perennial oddball Djibril Cissé holding down the beard fort. He returned to the EPL from Marseille to join Roy Keane's Mackems and the bleached what-have-you came along for the ride.

West Ham defender Matthew Upson is also holding down, but with a rather weak beard that I could probably grow in 2 days. No joke. At least he's got something, I guess.

Germany & Real Madrid defender Christoph Metzelder takes a lot of flak for not being that good, but at least he's got a sweet beard, something severely lacking in the Primera Liga.

I'll finish off with one last, and fairly spectacular, facial feature: that of former American defender Alexei Lalas. Before he tried to salvage a horrendous LA Galaxy side by signing David Beckham, Lalas was well known for his awesome scraggle. I'm certain any positive mojo he had disappeared when he finally shaved. Oh, he also signed that frequent offender of terrible facial hair: Abel Xavier.

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