What do you do as an NBA player when your uniform doesn't have pockets and you need somewhere to put your mouth guard while sitting on the bench? If you're James Posey on the New Orleans Hornets, you do the practical thing and put it in your socks.
That's what Posey was spotted doing coming off and on the court last night during the Hornets' preseason game against the Indiana Pacers. "I got no pockets so I put it in my sock and have a easy place to get it out," he says
Seems practical enough, but wouldn't sticking his mouth guard in and out of his sweaty sock make the mouth guard start to taste bad?
"Naw," he explains. "I'm a clean guy."
Personal hygiene aside, it turns out Posey has been wearing a mouth guard since high school. And while he likes to protect his "pearly whites," Posey didn't start wearing the mouthpiece by choice.
"I didn't like it," he says. "But my dad made wear it in high school and he told my high school coach that if I didn't have it in, don't play me."
Posey quickly began to appreciate the added protection when he saw other players getting elbowed in the face and getting their teeth knocked out. He also saw the upside of wearing a mouth guard as he grew older and began molding his craft as a physical player. Along the way, he began to accessorize and lay the foundation for what would become his signature look.
Posey began wearing high socks while on the Denver Nuggets as part of a team-wide attempt to break a long losing streak. When he joined the Miami Heat, Posey was then subjected to Pat Riley's rule that all his players wear kneepads during practice. Once again, Posey saw the benefits of wearing extra protection. After knocking knees with an opponent during the 2006 playoffs, he began wearing the pads during games. When the Heat won the NBA title, the kneepads stayed.
Posey added a headband to top off his look during last year's championship season with the Celtics. Though it seems to be a trend for him, Posey said he doesn't anticipate adding another accessory this year with the Hornets.
"I'll be playing football pretty soon," he jokes
That's not too hard to imagine—except that football players usually stow their mouth guards in their facemasks, not their socks.