The Best Facial Hair in Sports

Facial hair exists for three reasons: to keep a man warm, to make a man look powerful, and to give those without facial hair something to revere.

You don’t have to be an athlete to grow a beard. You could be sitting in a recliner with Old Style running down your whiskered chin and nacho cheese drizzled all over your shirt. However, it’s obvious that if you are an athlete and you can grow a beard, you should. You might not win a championship, but you’ll at least look cool.

Therefore, to cap off another successful No-Shave November, I would like to count down the starting five of my own personal bearded band of brothers.

Hollywood Hulk Hogan: Hulkmania would have been a mere ripple, were it not for Hogan’s trademark blonde horseshoe adorning his muscular upper lip. Even though there’s been a significant drought on top of the Hulkster’s head for quite some time, his mustache remains intact and ready for an atomic leg drop at the drop of a hat.

Rollie Fingers: In my opinion, the MOST iconic mustache in sports history. As a World Series champion, Cy Young winner and Milwaukee Brewer legend, Rollie Fingers stands atop the summit of Cool Mustache Mountain. The best thing about his textbook Captain Hook handlebar—it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon. Fingers is so dedicated to his mustache he turned down a contract with the Cincinnati Reds in 1986 because owner Marge Schott would have made him shave. “Tell her to shave her St. Bernard, and I’ll shave my mustache,” Fingers said. Bravo, sir.

James Harden: As a man who has sported a beard through all types of weather, I can attest to how rough it can get during hot, strenuous work. Maintaining a full beard during a grueling NBA season requires a man with strong moral character, and I believe James Harden is that man. He has gone from fuzzy sixth man in Oklahoma City to bearded star in Houston, and he hasn’t forgotten what got him there: great basketball skills and excellent beard skills.

Brian Wilson: One of Major League Baseball’s biggest personalities just so happens to sport the MLB’s biggest beard. While he has been plagued by the injury bug as of late, it hasn’t changed who he is: an odd individual with a lush forest growing out of his face. Though Wilson sat out the majority of last season, he and his pet beard had a front row seat as his San Francisco Giants captured their second World Series championship in three years.

Brett Keisel: There are no words that do this beard justice. The Steelers’ defensive end has transcended the title of “athlete” with the mane that engulfs his face. Leif Ericson, Zeus, Grizzly Adams: that is the kind of company Keisel is in with his beard. It is a masterpiece, plain and simple. We should all bow our heads to the majesty of this beard and to the man’s man that dons it.


Gus Merwin


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