Style Advice for the Warriors
The Warriors are, needless to say, America's Team. Which makes Baron Davis's facial hair America's Beard, and Andris Biedrins's spiked hair America's Porcupine, and Matt Barnes's follicular brilliance America's Mohawk. And so, with Davis-obsessed teenagers no doubt slathering their faces with Rogaine and their heads with styling gel at this very moment, I figured I should check with some experts about whether these Golden State looks are working.
Thus, armed with glossy "before" and "after" photos of these three Warriors, I just traipsed all over downtown, attempting to interview working hair stylists for the sports section. Yes, the Washington Post is actually paying me to do this. Appropriately, the first reply I got was "Are you really from The Washington Post?"
For the record, some brief background. Davis has long flirted with beards of various length and styles, although his bushy look--variously described as "biblical," a "locomotive cowcatcher," or a "Papa Smurf"--has only earned its mystical status in recent weeks. Barnes promised Davis and Stephen Jackson he would go mohawk if the Warriors made the playoffs; they did, and he did. And Biedrins has had spiked hair for years, although his NBA.com portrait still shows more of a Caesar look.
Anyhow, the results, after talking to 13 stylists at five different hair cutteries, including celebrity stylist Andre Chreky, Jose Rodriguez (who's been cutting hair in downtown D.C. for 49 years) and former DI soccer player Sheri Whatley, who once put her hair in cornrows as a display of team unity:
The experts agreed that this beard makes him look older, if nothing else. Some thought this also conferred a sense of confidence and power. Others thought it looked sloppy and ill-conceived.
Chreky: "It sort of blends in with his neck. It's just too much hair at the bottom of his face and not enough on the top of his head."
Andre Chreky stylist manager Mindy Roberts: "It's not good for his features, it takes away from his face. I don't think it's intimidating. It's just a little bit too much, a bit too much."
Bubbles manager Marsha Stein: "It makes him look more powerful, doesn't it? Maybe that's more of the mystique."
Bubbles stylist Co Morgan: "It looks a little '70s."
Molecule stylist Sheri Whatley: "You never see a player with a big, full beard. This guy, I would never forget. You expect him to have a tweed hat with a cigar. But it's just cool; a guy couldn't pull this off without some level of self-confidence."
Salon Balayage stylist Linda Bui: "Oh! Too much going on there. Too much hair. It doesn't look appropriate at all."
Rodriguez: "I don't like beards too much. I have a lot of customers with beards; some of them look pretty nice, they're professional people. Maybe he feels more powerful that way, like Samson. How 'bout you? C'mon, grow some hair."
[Trust me, I'm trying.]
Every expert agreed that the spikes were an improvement over his previous look. A few suggested tweaks, but most saluted his basic image.
Chreky: "It's too dated, it's too '80s looking. It's gelled or waxed too much. It would be better if the hair fell forward naturally, with just a spike in the front."
Roberts: "The spike up in the top looks good, but instead of having it so tight on the sides loosen it up. I do this a lot: short and spiked. Don't look too uptight. If you're in the crowd, you have to have fun."
Stein: "I think he definitely looks hotter with the new look. He looks like he's got more speed, like he's swifter. He looked like a college boy before."
Whatley: "I don't know, why not? Once you get to that level, the talent is pretty much equal. It's a mental game. Tell me this guy doesn't look like he's going to run all over your [behind]."
Bui: "It's ok. He has style: funky, modern."
Rodriguez: "More people use this style, with the gel and the spikes. A lot of people do that now, even business people sometimes."
The most divided verdict. Some loved the willingness to experiment. Others complained that it was poorly executed. In fairness to Barnes, my mohawk photo was from shortly after the deed was done; it looks a bit better now that it's grown in.
Chreky: "For a mohawk it needs to be more faded. The way they shaved it makes it look vacant, like he has sort of a bald spot. His temple looks empty."
Roberts: "My opinion is it makes his face look too long. He's a good-looking man, but the profile of his face, his facial features, it doesn't go. I would grow it to the side to make him look more handsome."
Morgan: "Oh, I love it, I love it. It's unique, trendy, up-to-date. Some people say the mohawk died a year ago, but this is a shorter version. It shows boldness, it shows character. It's fun."
Stein: "It makes him look more like a Warrior. He's cute, isn't he?"
Whatley: "It definitely makes you feel more powerful, I think. To me, it was boring before--look at his eyes, not even alive. I think it either shows confidence or helps him get confidence. I love it, I like anything that's unique or different."
Bui: "Oh my goodness. He looks funny. I don't like it."
Rodriguez: "Like a teenager. I don't particularly care for that, but it all depends. You can tell maybe he went to barber's school; the hair is very uneven. Some of these guys are very high up, and they get very cheap haircuts."
The Key Ingredients of the Baron Beard (FanHaus)
An Open Letter from Baron Davis's Beard (Say Hey)
Davis in a Bullet Fedora (The Basketball Jones)
Baron Beard History Lesson (Golden State of Mind)
Biedrins = Drago? (Say Hey)
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