You wouldn’t drain the Nile River of its water. You wouldn’t deny a zebra its stripes. You wouldn’t kidnap Octomom’s kids. (OK, you might kidnap Octomom’s kids.) So why on earth would any self-respecting hairstylist brandish the shears and willingly rip Morris Finley’s locks out of his head? It’s a question I never thought I’d have to ask, but after a hairless Finley graced the court for Armani Jeans Milano’s game against Khimki Moscow this past week, I found myself close to tears.
You probably think I’m kidding. You think this is some silly issue that I’m just blowing up for my own–maybe even your–amusement; “He just wants to write some funny little article,” you say. Well let’s take a step back and look at the result: a loss at Khimki. But was Morris Finley’s haircut the only reason for Milano’s demise? Yes. Yes it was. The 2009 Euroleague stats, with and without hair:
Morris Finley with cool dreads (8 games):
13.3 points; 47% FG; 1.8 steals; 1.75 turnovers; 3 FTM
New, clean-cut, lame Morris Finley (1 lousy game):
6 points; 33% FG; 1 steal; 5 turnovers; 0 FTM
So what the hell does hair have to do with all of this? Ah, yes. I was hoping you would ask. To understand the impact of the hair, we must first understand Morris Finley as a player. We know that he thrives on A) straight line speed B) lateral quickness C) rapid fire hands on defense D) crafty finishes around the rim. Now, let’s examine how each of those qualities takes a hit:
A) I will grant you this: Morris Finley is still fast. Minus the friction, perhaps he is even faster. But faster is not always better. What happens when you rip the spoiler off of a racecar? Control goes out the window. Those season-high 5 turnovers? Yeah. Not flukes.
B) Situation: You are guarding Mo Finley. Jab step right (you’ve got it covered), then crossover dribble from left to right (nice job, you’re still with him). All of a sudden, head fake left (you lunge to your right, parallel with the trajectory of his dark strands of hair; you think you’ve positioned yourself for the charge or, at the very least, cut off his path to the rim). But then, as your knees buckle and your head whips around, you realize that body and ball have flown past you in the opposite direction, and Mo is on his way to an easy deuce. The hair is a deceptive assassin, and you are simply its latest victim.
C) I assume that if you’re reading this, you’ve at least tried to dribble a basketball. Our advanced readers might have even played against someone, and know that the goal is to keep the ball away from the defender’s hands. That means two things to isolate: Hand #1 and Hand #2. With the old Finley, you also had to account for dreads #1-1,386, making it nearly impossible to keep your eyes focused on the real enemies (remember, the hands?). Now the passing lanes are wide open, chaos has turned to tranquility, and a general peace of mind has been restored to the ball handler.
D) You ever tried to block a shot with hair in your face? Me neither. And I don’t envy anyone who has ever had the pleasure of trying.
So do what you must Mo, because Mr. Armani and the fine people of Milan will accept nothing less than a win vs. Madrid and a ticket to the Top 16. I’ve said my piece. Good day.