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Elfrid, Meet Absalom

February 11th, 2018 · No Comments · Basketball, NBA

Elfrid Payton is a point guard drafted out of Louisiana Lafeyette by the Orlando Magic with the 10th pick of the 2014 draft. Last week, the Magic traded him to the Phoenix Suns in a move from one bad team to another.

Payton is best known for one thing: His comically long hair. Which is an impression a man playing in the NBA probably should not accept, let alone embrace.

Numerous stories have been written about his hair, which is difficult to describe. Some have suggested it looks like he has an awning hanging over his forehead.

His hair is long, certainly, and of late a rising chorus of observers is studying video and coming to the conclusion that Payton’s hair is obscuring his vision — and perhaps even becoming an obstruction as his shots brush his hair.

One recent video led to suggestions that a recent Payton air ball, on a short floater in the lane, could be traced to Payton’s hair drooping over his eyes as the ball left his hand.

Others have noted his career free-throw percentage of 61.6, which is low (verging on unacceptable) for a point guard, and wondered, again, if his hair is part of his problems at the line. A writer for SBNation tracked Payton’s first 62 missed free throws this season and seems convinced “hair obstruction” is part of the problem.

We have to wonder if Payton is aware of the Biblical account of the Israelite prince Absalom — heretofore perhaps the best-known person in Christendom for allowing his hair to produce a dire result.

Absalom was a son of David, the king, and the former apparently was known for his good looks — which included long, thick hair.

The Bible account from Second Samuel holds that Absalom cut his hair only once per year and that it weighed five pounds.

Eventually, Absalom led a revolt against David, and as the son’s army was being routed he attempted to escape on a mule, only to have his long hair get tangled in the branches of a tree — allowing one of David’s men to kill the hanging, helpless prince.

(Note the art, on this wiki page.) And here are various translations of the passage describing his death.

Elfrid Payton’s hair is not a matter of life and death, of course, but as it becomes ever longer, and he continues to miss more than a third of his free throws … it could contribute to the notion that he is not willing to take an action that might make him better at his job: Cut his hair.



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