It's not often that I look at something bizarre in sports and say with total honesty and severity that I really don't know what's going on here.
But I really don't know what's going on here.
Apparently, Nick Young and Andrew Bynum had a hair-growing contest. Or that's how The Score interpreted a throwaway line in a Washington Post profile of Nick Young after the Sixers-Wizards game on Wednesday. In other news, the Post is doing profiles of Nick Young. See, folks, there are more agonizing teams to follow than the Sixers. At least the Inquirer doesn't run sidebars on former Sixers who are now bench players on other bad teams.
Or maybe they do and I don't remember because of the jarring head trauma I suffered reading about Nick Young's hair-growing competition with Andrew Bynum.
First of all, Andrew Bynum's haircut is among the worst in professional sports. There are people who can pull off an afro on a lunar scale. Beyonce did it in Goldmember, though maybe that's a bad example because Beyonce is one of the most beautiful people on Earth and she'd still look fantastic even if she got the Skrillex haircut.
I think it's got to do with proportionality. The full Dr. J looks best when it's truly outsized--on skinny guys, with skinny heads, so the truly outlandish nature of the hairdo gets beyond a certain point of no return. Look, I'm not saying Andre 3000 looked good, per se, as Coffee Black in Semi-Pro, but neither did he look like The Juggernaut.
Andrew Bynum is enormous, in every dimension. He is tall, he is muscular, he is broad of shoulder, thick of leg and possessed of child-bearin' hips. He can't go full Eraserhead without looking like someone who's more interested in pissing off his parents than actually looking good.
What were we even talking about?
Right, the contest.
Hair-growing contests are nothing new; Steven Stamkos and Steve Downie, then Tampa Bay Lightning teammates, engaged in a pact to look like morons until one of them blinked. As it happens, I myself am in a body hair-growing competition with a bear that lives in the woods behind my apartment, and I'm more than holding my own. But a hair-growing contest that involves Nick Young, who was once the craziest member of a backcourt that included Gilbert Arenas, needs a special wrinkle.
That wrinkle is something that Trey Kirby, who wrote that Basketball Jones bit, picks up on--Young concedes a secret hair-growing contest publicly without making it entirely clear that his opponent was in on the gag.
That'd be about the most Nick Young thing ever.
It's precisely the kind of childlike sociopathy we've come to admire from Il Swag. Making up competitions about silly trivia just to keep himself occupied, never mind the basketball. And now the big question is no longer whether all the king's horses and all the king's men can ever put Bynum together again--it's this: does the Sixers' would-be franchise center know he won a hair-growing competition, or does he enjoy looking like a blighted head of broccoli on its own merits?