It's the NBA's All-Mask Team!
The #KobeMask is here! OK, it arrived Wednesday night. And with it, Kobe Bryant landed on the long, impressive list of NBA players to adorn face masks.
Among players, there are all-time greats and afterthoughts. Among masks, there are sleek-looking numbers and ones that would make even Billy Loomis go, "Dude, you're freaking me out."
So without more ado -- and with apologies to Alonzo Mourning, Wally Szczerbiak and whomever else we forgot -- we bring you Basket Case's All-Mask Team, featuring our starters (all-time great players), bench (all-time great masks) and even a couple of bonus bits of headwear that never made it to the court.
Wilt Chamberlain, C: On this special anniversary we must celebrate Wilt, whose (according to news archives) broken nose and lost teeth put him behind the mask for some brief moments in the 1960s. Bill Russell (pictured) was sufficiently scared. And by scared we mean he kept winning championships instead of Chamberlain.
Dennis Rodman, F: Worn in 1994, it was the all-time rebounding specialist's all-time boringest accessory.
LeBron James, F: King James wore a traditional mask after an injury in 2005 (see above illustration). Interestingly, he still wears this headgear during most fourth quarters.
Richard Hamilton, G: Of course he's on here. Dude's so Mask, you could call him Eric Stoltz.
Bill Laimbeer, C: Of course he's on here. Dude's so Mask, you could call him Jamie Kennedy.
Will Perdue, C: Wore masks at multiple points in the 1990s, including this time with San Antonio when he 1) broke his eye socket and/or 2) forgot to remove part of his Silver Surfer outfit.
Brandon Williams, F: Another masked Spur. What he lacked in production, he made up for by scratching a "Z" on the backboard after every basket.
Harold Pressley, F: Fact: Pressley broke his nose twice in five weeks in 1987. Rumor: The former Sacramento Kings forward wandered into the athletic trainer's office and said, "Gimme the Wilt."
Three players whose masks we wish had made it into games.
Dirk Nowitzki: OK, Finals MVP. Let's see you drop 30 while wearing this.
Ron Artest/Metta World Peace: Isn't he the perfect Los Angeles Dodgers spokesman, though?
ALL-MASK TEAM TWITTER CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK
Hmmm, maybe he should have been on the team
IN PICTURES. AND WORDS.
More highlights of NBA headgear (non-mask edition):
JOKE OF THE WEEK
Predicting (a very small part of) the week ahead.
Heat at Lakers, Sunday: He'll bury shot after shot against the man who smacked him in the face, shaking off whatever pain remains to lead his team to victory. Yes, Jason Kapono will get revenge on Pat Riley and those damned Miami Heat.
Paul Lukas contributed to the masked madness.
Patrick Dorsey is a Page 2 editor. He averaged 12 points per game as a second-grader in YMCA hoops; all other basketball court records have been sealed. He can be reached at bypatrickdorsey(at)gmail(dot)com and is also on Twitter (@DorseyPatrick).