Nikola Jokic’s headband the NBA accessory that no one saw coming

The long history of NBA props added an unexpected new chapter this week in the Mile High City.

Kareem Abdul-Jabar had his extendable glasses, Bill Laimbeer his clear plastic mask, and Dennis Rodman his endless array of hair colors (among other things).

Now we can cast the red banner of Nuggets center Nikola Jokic into the annals of the Association.

Or maybe we just leave it out? Grading the Week staff aren’t quite sure what to do with it yet.

Nikola Jokic’s headband — B+

If we were to construct a list of the NBA superstars least likely to randomly accessorize, the Joker would almost certainly be near the top. He’s a man, after all, whose signature style until last week was his unapologetic affinity for compression pants (aka tights).

Still, there we were Thursday night, watching the future two-time MVP run up and down the Ball Arena field against the Memphis Grizzlies sporting a garish red headband that matched his tights perfectly.

The Grading the Week staff couldn’t help but laugh, if only because the adornment so obviously went against Jokic’s greatest sartorial instincts.

As much as Jokic’s game may contain hints of artistry and brilliance, there’s no doubt that his essence is rooted in utility.

The no-look passes that dot the Nuggets highlight the reels every night? Acts of subterfuge intended to cause confusion. Spinning post moves, behind-the-back dribbling and subtle feints? All methodical movements designed to get closer to the hoop.

Even the fade out of Sombor Shuffle — on the face of it, an overt act of basketball nonchalance — has more to do with the unblockable nature of the shot than any sort of showmanship.

So if you’re going to ask Jokic to do something like, say, throw a blindfold in the middle of a game to win, you better have a legitimate goal. Thanks to an unlikely turn of events, that turned out to be the case after Jokic suffered a gash to his right temple early in the game.

Much like former Suns great Steve Nash once wore a ridiculously large bandage across the bridge of his nose in a playoff game — a memory Nuggets coach Michael Malone referenced after the game — Jokic covered his injury with a comically strong red headband during a playoff game-clinching victory.

The fact that he could barely wait to take it off after establishing himself as the first player in NBA history to score 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 assists in a single season tells us all. we need to know about Jokic’s respect for garnishment.

Among the list of the most surprising props in NBA history, Grading the Week staff would rank the headband somewhere between LeBron James’ black mask and Paul Pierce’s “accidental” wheelchair.

He came out of nowhere – and maybe that’s where he should stay.

Return of the Tiger — A+

Under normal circumstances, Tiger Woods making the masters cut would barely qualify as remarkable. But for the 46-year-old to do so just over 500 days after his last tournament, and 14 months since a horrific car accident nearly cost him his right leg, is a small miracle.

We call it “minor” only because it’s Tiger. With him, the miracle is to be expected.

Elizabeth J. Harless