KEEPING IT RAHEEL

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.  

 

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It's all systems go for the Houston Texans! Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images.

It was 2002 and the city of Houston was rewarded with the NFL's 32nd franchise. I remember the newspaper special section with all the info points on the new team. There was even a full page graphic explaining how the grass plates were constructed. (Side Note: We should've known right then and there it was going to be disastrous!) There was a level of excitement unseen since the Rockets won a title, I'd assume. People were wearing “32, Houston” jerseys. There was more Battle Red, Deep Steel Blue, and Liberty White around town than a Fourth of July day parade.

The next time the city was excited about Texans football involved the Gary Kubiak days of making the playoffs. After that, Bill O'Brien hung a few division title banners as well. That's when the lull came. It all came crashing down, swiftly and mightily. The death of Bob McNair may have played a part in things deteriorating so quickly. Whether blame is placed here or there, changes needed to be made. Cal McNair was seen as incompetent. In comes Nick Caserio. He had a mess to clean up. The last two seasons were awful, but necessary. After back-to-back one-and-done coaches, Caserio has hired his guy.

Enter DeMeco Ryans. The former Texans great linebacker was the 49ers defensive coordinator the past two seasons. He took over a great defense and kept it going. From the moment he stepped on campus at Alabama, he commanded a different level of respect. Not only was he good, but he was a leader. Nicknamed “Cap” because he was a captain on and off the field. That followed him to Houston. His presence was felt everywhere he went. It was known before his career ended that he'd most likely be a coach one day.

This moment in time right now is giving 2002, Kubiak playoffs, and O'Brien playoff vibes but amplified. Why? Because one of this franchise's own has come home. Ryans was the most desired candidate this coaching cycle. Sean Payton may have had the bigger name, but Ryans was the one the Broncos tried to go back after, then settled on Payton. Teams he turned down had to move along and find other candidates to fill their vacancies. HE CHOSE HOUSTON! Nothing like feeling desired and being chosen!

I believe DeMeco will turn this franchise around and make them a contender. It's very rare that you have a star athlete turned sought after coach and NOBODY has a bad word to say about him! Social media has turned things into a 12-hour news cycle. Yet you've NEVER heard or seen DeMeco involved in any foolishness. He's been a model citizen, while also maintaining a high level of play and now coaching. When people respect you for your football acumen AND your character, that says a lot. Whoever said nice guys finish last obviously hasn't met DeMeco.

Armed with some cap space, draft capital, a capable GM, and ownership seeking a fresh start, DeMeco is set up to succeed. It's up to him, and Caserio, to finish what was started two years ago. Currently, the house on Kirby has a few more improvements to make. Some paint, redoing the floors, new landscaping, and new furniture. The kitchens and bathrooms are done. It needs the final touch. DeMeco is that final touch.

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