For over 1,000 consecutive games to begin his career — a stint that went from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Miami Heat and back to Cavs — LeBron James rocked a headband. It was the NBA’s closest thing peanut butter and jelly, with the best player in the league donning a unique style with the league’s logo on it. Then, it just went away.
“I did it because I just wanted to look like my teammates,” James said back in 2015. “Just wanted to be one. Nothing more than that.”
Well, #HeadbandBron made a loud return to the Staples Center on Wednesday night — this time as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers — and the entire league, especially the Minnesota Timberwolves, and its fans knew they were about to be in big, big trouble.
James posted 24 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and two blocks in the Lakers’ 114-110 victory over the Timberwolves. That stat line is certainly not out of the normal from the game’s biggest superstar, and arguably the greatest player to ever lace them up, but it definitely put the league on notice and meant nobody in the arena was safe from his wrath with a headband on.
Throughout his career, people have loved to hate LeBron. Most of them have no sound argument that’s truly worth listening to, but the hostility is for real.
When James made “The Decision” to leave Northeast Ohio for South Beach — something that, to this day, gets scrutinized for no real reason considering the times and people not understanding how historic of a players he already was — the disapproval hit an all-time high and forced a rebellion against him when he played for the Miami Heat.
At the peak of his powers, and with a much thicker headband than anyone else in the league had, James became the NBA’s greatest and most powerful villain. Everyone was glued to see what he would do next, how he would dominate entering his prime, how he would fail, everything.
Headband LeBron won two NBA Finals, four NBA MVPs, a scoring title, five NBA All-Defensive First Team selections, two Olympic gold medals and produced more All-Star highlights than most ever want to count.
So of course it’s a big deal James, who has played in eight-straight NBA Finals with the Heat and Cavaliers, teased wearing a headband at practice and then followed it up by sporting it Wednesday. He ditched the headband full-time back in March 2015.
This is the LeBron James everyone grew to love or grew to hate. He has changed the game since he first took the NBA by storm over 15 years ago.
Watching him dominate in a headband again was simply a reminder of how powerful he is, that this is even a big deal, and if he continues to wear it, every single opponent should be scared.