Former NBA All-Star forward Carlos Boozer made headlines on Twitter recently with his new beard, which is being compared to everything from Electrode to Earl Sweatshirt from Loiter Squad.

With the hype swirling around Boozer, we figured it might be a good time to put out a top 10 list of bearded NBA players. Which players have the best, worst, and most iconic beards in recent memory?

Why do most NBA players have beards?

NBA players have beards for the same reason anyone else would have a beard: they’re fashionable! Additionally, beards can absorb sweat dripping down a player’s face, which can sometimes be useful.

Who has the biggest beard in the NBA?

While there’s no precise way to determine the basketball player with the biggest beard, the logical assumption is Philadelphia 76ers point guard James Harden. At its peak, Harden’s beard would hang close to six inches under his chin -- and that fact doesn’t even account for how remarkably thick it is.

Ranking the Top 10 Greatest NBA Beards of All Time

  1. Kyle O’Quinn

NBA Career Span: 2012-13 to 2019-20

Former NBA center Kyle O’Quinn barely had any facial hair when he was an undergraduate at Norfolk State. He started donning his classic signature chinstrap as a member of the Orlando Magic between 2012 and 2015.

O’Quinn signed a four-year, $16 million contract with the New York Knicks heading into the 2015 season. He backed up a plethora of other centers in New York, including Robin Lopez and Joakim Noah. O’Quinn also let the beard grow out. It completely filled in, and O’Quinn’s face was covered.

  1. Chris Kaman

NBA Career Span: 2003-04 to 2015-16

Former Clippers center Chris Kaman was a star at the University of Central Michigan. He slipped to the No. 6 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft only because he was in the same class as generational talents LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh.

At Central Michigan, Kaman also sported his legendary ginger beard. Kaman kept his beard even-keeled as a Clipper, and perhaps it worked, as he was an NBA All-Star in 2010. He later let the beard flow free as a Trail Blazer from 2014 to 2016.

Kaman certainly had one of the best beards in the NBA.

You can view Kaman’s beard: click here

  1. Tyson Chandler

NBA Career Span: 2001-02 to 2019-20

Here we have yet another NBA center! This time it’s former All-Star Tyson Chandler, who played for eight NBA teams and had many different beards (too many to count).

Chandler had a relatively tame chinstrap when he helped the Dallas Mavericks upset the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals. He then signed a four-year, $58 million contract with the New York Knicks and originally maintained the tame chinstrap for a few more years, winning NBA Defensive Player of the Year along the way.

By the end of his Knicks tenure, Chandler’s beard was no longer tame and had fully filled in. By the time he signed in Phoenix, Chandler had one of the biggest beards in the NBA -- a look he continued during the later, journeyman portion of his career.

Here’s his signature look when he was with the Houston Rockets in 2019-20. 

  1. Tyler Johnson

NBA Career Span: 2014-15 to 2021-22

Former NBA point guard Tyler Johnson is perhaps best known for getting one of the most random massive contracts in NBA history. As an undrafted Miami Heat rookie who entered the league in 2014, he hit restricted free agency in 2016 when the salary cap was rapidly expanding.

The struggling but cash-rich Brooklyn Nets presented Johnson with a massive four-year, $50 million offer sheet that the Heat decided to match. Johnson fell out of the rotation and perhaps retaliated by growing a beard.

Johnson was traded by Miami in a salary dump to the Phoenix Suns in 2019. At that point, he fully committed to having one of the strangest beards in NBA history. While Johnson’s beard might not be the most talked about beard in the NBA in recent years, it is certainly one of the more interesting.

You can view Johnson’s beard: click here 

  1. Klay Thompson

NBA Career Span: 2011-12 to present

Current Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson looks ticketed for the NBA Hall of Fame. He’s a four-time NBA champion and a five-time All-Star. As of this writing, he has made the 11th-most 3-pointers in NBA history.

Thompson is primarily known for one look: the goatee. Love it or hate it, that look was highly consistent. Thompson has grown out the goatee more in recent years, but the base mold has remained.

Either way, he has come a long way from the clean-shaven look he had as a fresh-faced rookie back in 2011.

You can view Thompson’s beard: click here

  1. Chris Andersen

NBA Career Span: 2001-02 to 2016-17

Former NBA center and power forward Chris Andersen (known as “Birdman”) is perhaps best remembered for blocking shots, his signature mohawk, and his incredible patchwork tattoo collection. The 2013 NBA champion with the Miami Heat averaged 2.5 blocks per game while playing for the Denver Nuggets in 2008-09.

In addition to being on the wrong end of a Paul George poster, Andersen is also remembered for his unique facial hair. He often went for a bushy goatee in a blond-ginger hue that contrasted with the colors of his jerseys.

You can view Andersen’s beard: click here 

  1. Damian Lillard

NBA Career Span: 2012-13 to present

Milwaukee Bucks star Damian Lillard, who joined the team this season, has had a remarkably consistent facial-hair journey since entering the NBA. It has always been about a long goatee for him. Lillard’s beard doesn’t quite extend all the way up to his ears, and it remains particularly concentrated just below the chin.

Lillard is also quite the player. The seven-time All-Star Game participant has made seven All-NBA teams and even cracked the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team. He came to the Bucks in a blockbuster trade from the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2023 offseason.

You can view Lillard’s beard: click here 

  1. Stephen Curry

NBA Career Span: 2009-10 to present

Like his fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson, current Warriors superstar point guard Steph Curry has donned the goatee for as long as anyone can remember. So, if anyone asks, “Does Steph Curry have a beard?”, the answer is a resounding yes.

As he has matured, Curry has grown his goatee out from just his chin to creep up closer to his ears. It hasn’t always been as defined, however. On a “Mean Tweets” Jimmy Fallon segment back in 2016, Steph Curry’s beard was described as “pubey.”

You can view Curry’s current beard: click here

  1. James Harden

NBA Career Span: 2009-10 to present

James Harden’s older brother Akili once said: “to be truthful I think (James) started growing a beard because he saw mine coming in and he got hair on his face.”

Either way, current Philadelphia 76ers point guard James Harden is now known as “The Beard,” “Fear the Beard,” or any other similar beard-related nickname. He has what is arguably the greatest NBA beard of all time. It’s so good that it might make fans forget that Harden was clean-shaven during his college career at Arizona State.

James Harden’s beard is also so remarkable that it even manages to distract from the perpetual trade rumors surrounding the star NBA guard.

  1. Carlos Boozer

NBA Career Span: 2002-03 to 2014-15

Why does former NBA forward Carlos Boozer command the No. 1 spot on this list of all bearded basketball players? Well, Boozer had a viral Twitter moment over the weekend after giving his 2023-24 NBA opening night betting picks to the Betway Sportsbook.

Boozer and his beard have accumulated more than 25 million views in 28 hours -- numbers that put even James Harden to shame.

And let’s not forget Boozer’s basketball career either. He is a former two-time NBA All-Star who even cracked the All-NBA Third Team back in 2007-08 as a member of the Utah Jazz. He averaged 20.9 points per game that season, which is pretty good for a former second-round draft pick.

Parameters of Rankings

Rankings of these NBA beards are based on their level of notoriety/fame, their level of effort/attention to detail, and their level of absurdity.

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