KEEPING IT RAHEEL

Raheel Ramzanali: Defending my honor - Respect the headband, Granato!

Raheel Ramzanali: Defending my honor - Respect the headband, Granato!
David Beckham rocked the headband look. Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Last week I was brutally attacked online via cyber bullying thanks to fellow SportsMap contributor John Granato. Like most of his cyberbullying, his attack was focused on my physical appearance and attire. Mr. Granato was not fond of my athletic chic attire that featured a slim soccer style headband to keep my hair out of my eyes while I worked out. The comments were hurtful and the pain was real, but I persevered because I know some of the greatest athletes ever have rocked the soccer headband. In an attempt to set the record straight and help bring John into the fashion forward year that is 2018, here are the best athletes ever to wear a skinny soccer style headband:

Mike Miller: If shooting 40% from three during your career isn’t enough, Miller is a two-time champ and also won the Rookie of the Year for the 2000-2001 season. The rest of the list will feature mostly soccer guys, so I wanted to start with American sports to highlight how greatness can be accomplished in the NBA with a skinny headband on. In addition to his shooting, Miller went out to redefine his career and gladly took a bench role for the 2005-2006 season Grizzlies and played his way into the 6th Man of the Year award. None of this happens if his hair was in his face thus making him the greatest American player to wear a soccer headband.

Luis Scola: There was a time in Houston where Scola was the crafty forward that fans couldn’t get enough of and most of that charm came from his headband. We’ve had our share of characters in Houston, but none of them ever flexed on us with the soccer style headband like Scola did so it was only right that we fell in love with the 2007-2008 All-Rookie team player. Scola went on to average almost 15 pts a game for the Rockets and was part of the 22-game winning streak. Hate the headband? You might as well hate Houston, John.

Sergio Ramos: In America we celebrate champions and greatness more than any other country. MJ vs LeBron: CHAMPIONSHIPS. Derek Jeter: CHAMPIONSHIPS. Tom Brady: CHAMPIONSHIPS. So it is only right that we celebrate one of the most decorated Spanish footballers in the history of the sports: Sergio Ramos. We might know him as the crewcut captain, but before the current iteration of Ramos, he was a notorious headband guy. He’s won a FIFA World Cup, multiple UEFA Euro titles, and four other Champions League titles with a relatively unknown club called Real Madrid. Defense wins championships and he is the greatest scorer from a defensive position.

David Beckham: Few soccer stars have ever captured the mainstream headlines like Becks did in the early 2000s when he was the most popular athlete in the world. Part of his appeal was his fashion forward style and haircuts. Becks did it all: faux-hawk, cornrows, and of course the headband look. He’s the most decorated celebrity athlete of our generation and it is only right I end this list with him. John, if you hate greatness then you hate the headband. Enough.  

 

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Allen had high praise for Diggs. Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images.

Impersonal as it might seem to have their dynamic on-field relationship end with an exchange of phone texts, Bills quarterback Josh Allen made it clear on Thursday how much receiver Stefon Diggs meant to him during their four seasons together in Buffalo.

Allen made no mention of Diggs’ mercurial temperament or the occasional sideline flare-ups by expressing only praise in his first opportunity to discuss his now-former teammate being traded to the Houston Texans earlier this month.

“Just thanking him for everything that he did for me, and (I’ll) always have a spot in my heart for him. I’ll always love that guy like a brother. And I wish him nothing but the best,” Allen said, in disclosing what he texted to Diggs. “My lasting memory of Stef will be the receiver that helped me become the quarterback that I am today.”

Brought together in March 2020, when Buffalo gave up a first-round draft pick to acquire Diggs in a trade with Minnesota, the duo went on to re-write many of Buffalo's single-season passing and scoring records, and lead the team to four straight AFC East titles.

Diggs, now 30, also brought an inescapable sense of drama with him in raising questions about his commitment to the Bills and whether his tight relationship with Allen had soured.

A day before being traded, Diggs posted a message, “You sure?” on the social media platform X in response to someone suggesting he wasn’t essential to Allen’s success.

Whatever hard feelings, if any, lingered as Buffalo opened its voluntary workout sessions this week were not apparent from Allen or coach Sean McDermott, who also addressed reporters for the first time since Diggs was traded.

“Stef’s a great player, really enjoyed our time together. Won a lot of games and he was a huge factor in winning those games. We’ll miss him,” McDermott said. “You never replace a player like Stef Diggs, and we wish him well.”

Allen turned his focus to the future and a Bills team that spent much of the offseason retooling an aging and expensive roster.

Aside from trading Diggs, salary cap restrictions led to Buffalo cutting respected center Mitch Morse, the breakup of a veteran secondary that had been together since 2017, and the team unable to afford re-signing No. 2 receiver Gabe Davis.

“I don’t think it’s a wrong thing or a bad thing to get younger,” said Allen, entering his seventh NFL season. “I think it’s an opportunity for myself to grow as a leader. And to bring along some of these young guys and new guys that we’ve brought in to our team. And that’s an opportunity, frankly, that I’m very excited about."

Despite the departures, the Bills offense is not exactly lacking even though general manager Brandon Beane is expected to target selecting a receiver with his first pick — currently 28th overall — in the draft next week.

Receiver Khalil Shakir enters his third year and tight end Dalton Kincaid enter his second following promising seasons. Buffalo also added veteran experience in signing free agent receiver Curtis Samuel and Mack Hollins.

While Beane acknowledged the Bills lack a true No. 1 receiver, he noted there’s less urgency to fill that spot now than in 2020 because of how much the offense has developed under Allen.

“Now that Josh has ascended to the player he is, is that a requirement? I don’t think so,” Beane said.

Diggs’ role also began diminishing in the second half of last season, which coincided with Joe Brady replacing Ken Dorsey as offensive coordinator. Brady placed an emphasis on adding balance to a pass-heavy attack and getting more receivers involved, which led to an uptick in production for Shakir and Kincaid.

While Diggs’ numbers dropped, Buffalo’s win total increased.

With the Bills at 6-6, Diggs ranked third in the NFL with 83 catches, seventh with 969 yards and tied for third with eight TDs receiving. Buffalo then closed the season with five straight wins in which Diggs combined for 24 catches for 214 yards and no scores.

”(Diggs) meant a lot. You look at the statistics, they don’t lie,” Allen said, in referring to Diggs topping 100 catches and 1,000 yards in each of his four seasons in Buffalo. “I don’t get paid to make changes on the team. I get paid to be the best quarterback that I can be and try to lead the guys on this team.”

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome