Glasses and sports goggles may have once seemed like the epitome of nerdiness, but thanks to some amazing NBA players over the years, eye protection can be considered cool. Many players need a way to see better on the court since they can not wear their glasses. Sure there are contact lenses, but those offer absolutely no eye protection. Basketball is one of the sports that puts participants at the highest risk for eye injuries. Players often get poked in the eye when trying to get a rebound and suffer from a corneal abrasion, while others get elbowed in the eye when their opponent is boxing out and suffer an orbital fracture. These types of injuries can be prevented by wearing basketball sports glasses. Luckily, sports goggles have come a long way over the years and come in many colors, shapes, and sizes. Here is a look at a few players that have led the way in making basketball sports goggles cool.
Kareem Abdul Jabbar
At a towering height of 7'2", Kareem Abdul Jabbar was a force to be reckoned with on the basketball court. He scored more than 38,000 points in his career and has earned an impressive six NBA titles.With his immense height, his opponents often had to resort to swatting at the ball in an effort to try to prevent him from scoring. Abdul-Jabbar suffered from two eye injuries, a scratched cornea in 1968 and another injury in 1974. He decided that was enough, and wore basketball sports goggles for protection the rest of his career. Many people may think that his lenses were corrective, but he saw the value in protecting his eyes and embraced the sports goggles as part of his image.
Also a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, and a teammate of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for a time, James Worthy entered the NBA in the 1982 draft. He was a three time NBA champion and an exceptional player that had natural talent for the game. He suffered a scratched cornea during a game with the Utah Jazz in 1985 and wore protective goggles from the next game on to the end of his career.
Yet another player for the Los Angeles Lakers, Kurt Rambis made his mark with this black rimmed glasses and signature mustache. Rambis won four NBA titles and was a key accessory to Magic Johnson's success. He was a huge defensive presence and an all around team player. With 20/400 vision, Rambis needed corrective lenses and did not like to wear contact lenses. Many fans showed up to games sporting similar glasses to support this player of the people. Rambis is quoted as saying: "I look too damn good in them. How can I give that up? They're women magnets." It is no wonder his sense of humor and blue collar playing made him so popular with the fans.
Horace Grant is a legendary member of the early 90's Chicago Bulls. He went on to play for several more teams and earned four NBA titles. He wore goggles, starting in 1990, because he was nearsighted. Grant eventually had LASIK surgery to correct his vision, but continued to wear the goggles. They were part of his image, protected his eyes, and served as an inspiration to children who wore glasses.
Many other players have rocked the basketball sports goggles throughout the years, either for their entire career or for a short time. Amar'e Stoudemire is one such name. Most who do wear them these days are forced to do so to prevent further injuries. What we do know, is that these guys mentioned above were on to something. They protected their eyes while making a statement. These basketball sports goggles became part of their image and ensured their eyes and vision would be in good shape throughout their whole careers and into retirement.