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.  

 

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome