The NBA is taking a page out of the No Fun League and banning ninja-style headbands for the upcoming 2019-20 season. Per a release from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, there are safety concerns regarding the headwear.
The NBA notified teams that it won't allow players to wear "ninja-style headwear" this season, NBA spokesman Mike Bass tells ESPN. The headwear "...hasn't been through the league approval process. Teams have raised concerns regarding safety and consistency of size, length ..."— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 9, 2019
From a fan perspective, the ninja headbands were one of the more interesting fashion accessories in the NBA last year. Jovan Buha of The Athletic wrote about Montrezl Harrell adopting the look with the league’s cooperation. Harrell had to follow two conditions: matching the color to the team’s jersey and flipping it inside out to hide the Nike logo. The head tie became part of Harrell’s look, a way to set him apart from the other big men in the league.
That’s what makes it somewhat surprising that the NBA has shifted its stance this year. If the league were dissatisfied with having Nike ninja headbands, it would be pretty easy to just make a new headband with the NBA logo. But the safety argument doesn’t hold a ton of water. Just ask Harrell.
Bullshit excuse that don’t even make sense how Hell its safety issue smh ♂️ ♂️ https://t.co/Y2v0Dmel51— Montrezl Harrell (@MONSTATREZZ) September 9, 2019
Several players wore ninja-style headbands last season, and there were no reported facial or eye injuries as a result of the headband. The potential “danger” caused by a headband is seemingly no different than that of a ponytail or any sort of long hair. Even though the competition committee cited safety as its rationale, they don’t have any concrete evidence to back that up.
As it stands, Harrell and others around the NBA will have to go back to normal headbands — ones that display the NBA logo, it should be noted — unless the league figures out a way around the theoretical safety concerns. Until then, hopefully the NBA can at least clarify its objection to this accessory, because this policy, unlike ninja headbands, doesn’t make them look good.