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Initial Reactions: An Ode to Hair Lost




Shortly after finding out the Pellies signed Elfrid Payton, I decided to of course go searching for anything about him during the end of his season in Phoenix. What I found instead was even more disturbing



He cut it. His beautiful locks, he finally went and cut them. From his first night as an NBA player, he tried to tuck his hair away. Was it because he wanted to seem less intimidating to Michael Carter-Williams, the reigning rookie of the year whom he was looking to usurp? Was it because he had an inkling he would soon be traded to Orlando? We can’t know for sure, but we knew it was a matter of time before the hair was unleashed on the league. Even Jay Bilas’s first line that night on Payton: “You’re getting a great hairdo” and great it was.


While I didn’t know much about the University of Louisiana Lafayette prospect at the time, I knew that I would forever be fascinated by his hair. Especially after hearing the story of not wanting to cut it until winning a championship. How long would he keep that promise? Would he ever win a championship? Would he ever feel pressure to cut it because it become more of a story than he was?

Soon, he was shipped to Orlando. However, the legend of his hair grew….

Sep 29, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton (4) during media day at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

And grew…

Nov 7, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton (4) against the Minnesota Timberwolves before the game at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Until we finally reached it. What seemed to be the perfect apex in Orlando. It started here:


But grew to here…

Mar 27, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton (4) during their game against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Magic 131-112. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports


And then we reached it. The perfect coming out of it’s cocoon, becoming a beautiful butterfly moment for his hair:

Even after being seemingly blocked by his hair, Elfrid was undeterred. While it may have been the moment that Orlando decided they needed to move him, Elfrid and his hair carried on. They carried on to the hot sun of Phoenix. Where not only did the hair survive the heat, it thrived

Mar 2, 2018; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Elfrid Payton (2) against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


Feb 26, 2018; New Orleans, LA, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Elfrid Payton (2) dribbles up court in the second half against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center. The Pelicans won, 125-116. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports


That is until, sadly this offseason where it all changed. If you’ve made it this far, I warn you, what lies ahead is not for the faint of heart. It is akin to finding out there is no Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, all rolled into one. Whether fueled by agent desires, fear of his hair being a distraction as he entered free agency or for being misguided into thinking his hair was blocking him from potential sight lines, Elfrid has apparently decided it was time to cut the locks…


While we are excited that a hometown son has returned home again, we cannot help but feel some part of him is missing. Gone forever is the mythical power his hair once held. Can he build on with out it? Will he begin anew? Is this simply the start of a new journey as Payton grows? We’ll all find out together this season with the newest Pelican.

From New Orleans by way of Escondido, Luis Enrique is one of the original moderators of the Pelicans SubReddit and contributed work to the now defunct Stoop Sports.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Tracy Whitaker

    July 2, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    Thank God he cut it. I couldn’t stand it, but to be fair I wish James Hardin would shave that stupid looking beard and AD would shave between his eyes!

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