It's your hair, Joakim Noah, that incensed that Miami Heat lady fan so much that she sent you the middle finger earlier this week as you left the court after being ejected from Game 2 of the NBA playoffs.
It's your hair. That pony tail bun isn't even really a pony tail because it sticks up high on your head. Most ponies I know have tails that start lower on their backside and hang more directly vertical. Your tail flops around up high on your head especially when you run. From a viewer's perspective, it's a distraction from the NBA action. We want to watch basketball, not analyze the psychology of a tormented hair-dresser. By pony tail standards, yours is too short, only a few inches. Aesthetically, a long flowing pony tail on a person, extending at least six inches, is more optically soothing and correlates more accurately to a horse's.
It's your hair. Why do you keep it so long all the time? This mess has been going on for a decade, your hair invading our personal space. You wore it like you do now through your college hoop days at the University of Florida. It unnerved, disturbed and perturbed us then as it does now.
What's unfortunate about this is you are fine basketball player. Like your hair, you are a rarity on the court. Coaches dream about having guys like you on their team. You don't care how many points you score, which is cool and, frankly, odd. Rebounds and defense are your passions and fortes. Virtually all NBA guys-in fact all who play basketball in any league--much prefer shooting. Your side-spin push shot from the lower shoulders is the quirkiest in the NBA; every other guy in the league, and just about every other hooper on Earth, shoots with backspin. My guess is as a kid you blew off the basketball camp session when they taught you how to shoot because you were fooling around with your hair doo or didn't respect the instructor. Probably both. I can't think of one guy in the NBA less concerned about his hair and what people think of it, and more concerned about winning, than you.
But you perplex. Who are you? What makes you tick? Why the hair worn that way? Why do you have us wondering?
It's your hair.
I love the way you play. You are all about your team winning. I love the way you trash talk. No one in the league but you has come out and publicly said they didn't like the Miami Heat and thrown doubt out there about how good they are or can be. You did. You have stones.
You don't care if LeBron James gets offended by such remarks even if it makes him-the greatest player in the world--more motivated to beat you. You are exquisitely irrational. You want him to play harder because it makes you play harder. Yet if he plays harder your chances of winning decline. Yet you don't care; you don't think stuff like that through. Playing hard and keeping your hair the way it is are everything to you-and winning. Not scoring, not shooting, not one, not two, not three, not four, not LeBron, not the lady who gave you the finger. To you she's toast and you couldn't care less about her hairdo. You compartmentalize out basically everyone except your teammates and coach and maybe, although I wouldn't know, your girlfriend if you have one. How does she feel about your hair?
In your first year in the league a few years back you offended so many players on your own team that they collectively decided you needed to take a few games off, sit on the sidelines and take a blow, calm your nerves, stop being a jerk. You showed up at the games with the same unkempt hair and did your penance. How many players in the history of the NBA have been sat down by their own teammates because they were driving them crazy? You are the only one.
You are the only one with hair like yours. You are the only one with a shot like yours. You are the only one who comports himself the way you do. You are the only one who runs his mouth the way you do by the things you say. There are plenty of trash talkers in the NBA, but you say stuff that really upsets people and, I think, one reason is your hair.
In the history of the NBA, there has only been one guy in your league or your ilk. Like you, he ate rebounds and defense for breakfast, lunch, after snack-time, dinner, and bed-time snack. Like you, he rocked hair-dos that stirred the pot and distracted from game action. Like you, he competed with uncommon ferocity. Like you, he didn't care what anyone thought of him. Like you, he wasn't easy to figure out and never will be. Like you, you didn't want to play against him because it was an annoying hassle all the way around. The technique on his shot was almost as cockeyed as yours. Shooting was for him, as it is for you, far from the center of his basketball universe.
He painted his hair lime green and wore a wedding dress. He dated Madonna. He yelled at refs; didn't respect them in fact. I don't sense you respect refs much either. Like you, he drove people bananas. Like you, there was not much anyone could say to him that would change the way he acted.
Like you, he was a respected ball player. Like you, he was a winner. You know who I???m referring to, a fella of curious renown, Dennis Rodman. And I'm telling you, it was his hair, much like your hair, that won the mental battle over us.