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Can you imagine Michael Jordan unleashing his trademark off-balance rocket from the center circle, swishing the three-pointer, and winning the game? The only difference is that he’s now rocking a full head of 15-inch dreadlocks for a bold change. What’s your immediate reaction?

I bet most fans wouldn’t readily embrace a long-haired Michael Jordan. The image of the iconic bald NBA player is ingrained in our minds, and we’ve grown accustomed to his iconic bald crown. This iconic bald image may forever free Jordan’s crown from hair replacement systems and wigs.

Michael Jordan: Trend Setter for Bald NBA Players

ESPN once reported on how Michael Jordan shook up the fashion industry. In the report, Jermaine Hall and Jeff Staple revealed how Jordan’s receding hairline started a fashion revolution.

“Before Jordan, players like Dominique Wilkins and Karl Malone rocked fades,” noted Jeff Staple. “But Jordan’s bald head gave a sense of streamlined efficiency.”

Had Jordan not boldly sported his iconic bald look throughout his prime, the idea of baldness might not have gained favor among basketball players and fans alike, thanks to Jordan. Bald NBA players no longer have to worry about being bald, as baldness has long become the access card to the coolest NBA players’ club.

Now, let’s review this practical dilemma: If you’re an average individual dealing with thinning hair on the crown, should you opt for a hair replacement system or a wig to cover it, or embrace the sleek shave like Michael Jordan and other iconic bald NBA players? Before we jump to the conclusion, let’s first look at some of the world’s most renowned bald NBA players.

10 Renowned Bald NBA Players from the Past to the Present

Becoming an elite basketball player demands dedication, athleticism, grit, and persistence. Is baldness a secret formula for greatness? Probably not. Yet, here’s the kicker: the top players often rock the bald look. Are you curious about the iconic bald NBA players who’ve made their mark? Let’s meet them now.

1. Bald NBA Players: Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan, a prominent figure among bald NBA players in the West, boasts basketball prowess and business acumen. Like his fellow bald peers, Jordan embraced baldness in the early 1990s. His illustrious playing career spanned two teams: the Chicago Bulls from 1984 to 1993 and 1995 to 1998, and the Washington Wizards from 2001 to 2003.

Michael stands as one of the all-time greatest players, evident from his remarkable career highlights and accolades, including:

  • Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year
  • No. 23 North Carolina Tar Heels 
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • National college player of the year 
  • 2× Consensus first-team All-American
  • 2× Sporting News National Player of the Year 
  • 2× USA Male Athlete of Basketball of the Year 

2. Bald NBA Players: Kobe Bryan

Hailing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, Kobe Bryant emerged as a renowned bald basketball player. Debuting in the NBA in 1996, he embraced the bald look by shaving his head. As the years went on, between 1997 and 2011, he experienced hair loss and opted for a clean-shaven appearance.

During his impressive two-decade basketball journey, Kobe dominated as a shooting guard for the famous Los Angeles Lakers. Regrettably, he passed away on January 26, 2020, leaving behind a legacy as one of the greatest players and scorers in the game.

3. Bald NBA Players: Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Kareem Abdul Jabbar is a retired basketball player. He is also among the best bald NBA players of all time, as seen throughout his 20 seasons in the league. Early in his career as a college player, he had an eye-catching afro but opted to go bald.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s illustrious career spanned the Milwaukee Bucks (1969–1975) and the Los Angeles Lakers (1975–1999). Beyond his playing days, he embraced coaching, contributing to the Oklahoma Storm (2002), serving as an assistant coach at Alchesay High School (1998–1999), the Los Angeles Clippers (2000), and the Los Angeles Lakers (2005–2011).

Kareem Abdul’s career is decorated with the following awards:

  • 6x NBA Most Valuable Player
  • 6× NBA All-Defensive Second Team 
  • 5× NBA All-Defensive First Team 
  • NBA All-Rookie First Team 
  • NBA rebounding leader 
  • NBA Rookie of the Year 
  • 2x NBA scoring champion 
  • 4x NBA block leader 

4. Bald NBA Players: Alex Caruso

Several current NBA players embrace the bald look, with Alex Caruso being a notable example. As a member of the Chicago Bulls, he’s earned the nickname “Bald Mamba.” Caruso chose to go completely bald for a meaningful cause, shaving his head to raise $10,000 for testicular cancer research.

He has played for four teams throughout his basketball career: 

  • 2016-2017: Played for Oklahoma City Blue 
  • 2017-2021: Played for the Los Angeles Lakers
  • 2017-2019: Played for South Bay Lakers 
  • 2021-present: Played for Chicago Bulls 

5. Bald NBA Players: Shaquille O’Neal

Renowned for his larger-than-life persona on and off the court, Shaquille O’Neal is a towering figure in basketball history. He’s celebrated not only as an NBA legend but as a dominant center in the sport. With an impressive career, Shaq secured four NBA championships with the LA Lakers and Miami Heat.

Among his accolades are three NBA Finals MVP awards, the 2000 NBA MVP title, and an incredible fifteen NBA All-Star selections. He played for six teams through his career:

  • Orlando Magic 
  • Boston Celtics 
  • Miami Heat 
  • Cleveland Cavaliers 
  • Phoenix Suns 
  • Los Angeles Lakers 

6. Bald NBA Players: Jason Kidd 

Among the bald guards in the NBA, Jason Kidd boasts a notable career as an American professional basketball coach and former San Francisco, California, player. With his signature shaved head, Kidd’s image is synonymous with his time on the court. Renowned for his exceptional passing skills and mastery as a point guard, he has solidified his place as one of the finest in the game’s history.

Teams he played for:

  • 1994–1996: Played for Dallas Mavericks 
  • 1996-2001: Played for Phoenix Suns 
  • 2001–2008: Played for the New Jersey Nets 
  • 2008–2012: Played for Dallas Mavericks 
  • 2012-2013: Played for the New York Celtics 

Teams he coached:

  • 2013–2014: coached Brooklyn Nets 
  • 2014–2018: coached Milwaukee Bucks 
  • 2019-2021: Assistant coach of the Los Angeles Lakers 
  • From 2021 to the Present, he coaches the Dallas Mavericks 

7. Bald NBA Payers: Gary Payton Sr 

Born in Oakland, California, Gary Dwayne Payton Sr. is a renowned former professional basketball player. He turned bald during college, cementing his status as one of the most iconic bald NBA players. Revered as one of the finest point guards in history, Payton’s legacy continues to shine.

Teams he played for:

  • 1990 to 2003: Seattle SuperSonics 
  • Year 2003: Milwaukee Bucks 
  • 2003-2004: The Los Angeles Lakers 
  • 2004–2005: The Boston Celtics 
  • 2005–2007: The Miami Heat 

Awards he bagged:

  • Nine times NBA All-Defensive 
  • NBA Defensive Player of the Year 
  • First Team Pac-10 Player of the Year 
  • Beavers USA Basketball: The Male Athlete of the Year 
  • No. 20 retired by Oregon State

8. Bald NBA Players: Nicholas Batum 

French player Nicholas Batum stands out as one of the current bald NBA players. This French professional basketball player is a versatile small forward and power forward for the famous Los Angeles Clippers. Notably, Batum’s bald look is a conscious choice, distinguishing him from those who adopt it due to hair loss.

Teams he played for:

  • 2006 – 2008: Le Mans Sarthe 
  • 2008–2015: Portland Trail Blazers 
  • 2015–2020: Charlotte Hornets 
  • 2020 – now: Los Angeles Clippers

Awards he bagged: 

  • 2× LNB Pro A Best Young Player 
  • French Basketball Player of the Year 
  • Albert Schweitzer Tournament 
  • FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship MVP

9. Bald NBA Players: Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley, a dominant power forward in his prime, clinched the NBA MVP award in 1993. As hair loss struck his crown, Barkley boldly shaved it all off. The former Phoenix Suns star humorously admitted, “I could grow hair, but I have a big hole in my head.” 

He acknowledged the moment he decided to fully embrace his baldness, stating, “You know, when you’re about 25, and you realize like ‘uh-oh,’ and you have to just go ahead and come on home, as I call it.” Barkley openly expresses pride in his bald identity, viewing it as an integral part of himself.

Teams Charles Barkley played for:

  • 1984–1992: Philadelphia 76ers
  • 1992–1996: Phoenix Suns
  • 1996–2000: Houston Rockets

Awards Charles Barkley bagged:

  • NBA Most Valuable Player 
  • NBA All-Rookie First Team 
  • NBA All-Star Game MVP 
  • 11× NBA All-Star
  • 5× All-NBA First Team 
  • 5× All-NBA Second Team 
  • All-NBA Third Team 

10. Bald NBA Players: Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson, a legendary point guard in NBA history, faced early hair loss and opted for a buzz cut throughout his playing years. Around the turn of the millennium, Johnson took a step further and embraced the bald look, which has since become a hallmark of his distinctive style.

Teams Magic Johnson played for:

  • 1979–1991, 1996: Los Angeles Lakers
  • 1999–2000: Magic M7 Borås
  • 2000 Magic Great Danes

Team Magic Johnson coached:

  • 1994Los Angeles Lakers

Awards Magic Johnson bagged:

  • 3× NBA Finals MVP 
  • 12× NBA All-Star 
  • 3× NBA Most Valuable Player 
  • 5× NBA champion
  • 2× NBA All-Star Game MVP 

Should You Need a Hair System or Wig to Cover Baldness?

Well, we’ve just gone through some renowned bald NBA players, let’s reflect on our initial question: Should we get hair systems or wigs to cover thinning hair? I personally reckon we should keep our head cool. These bald NBA players set trends, their choices might not align with ours. They’re celebrities; we’re everyday individuals juggling work, family, and responsibilities. Unlike them, we don’t need to perform on the court or endure excessive sweat.

Remember, you don’t have to be bald if you don’t wish to. Modern toupee hair systems seamlessly blend with natural hair, offering an undetectable look. Breathable and comfortable, they’re designed to feel like your own hair. So, whether you choose bald or not, a palmful of options is available to help you feel confident and comfortable.


From Michael Jordan’s iconic bald crown to the present-day basketballers, bald NBA players have reshaped basketball’s image. Jordan’s choice catalyzed a fashion revolution, while others followed suit. For those with thinning hair, options like hair systems or wigs differ from these players’ bold paths. 

Remember, our lives and priorities vary from theirs. Whether inspired by their confidence or driven by personal comfort, modern solutions offer choices. Just as they left their mark, you can decide your journey to self-assuredness.


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