SALT LAKE CITY — Ninja-style headwear is reportedly a no-go for the 2019-20 NBA season, but in Utah, an old-school, unwritten rule will be ditched.
New Jazz guard Mike Conley is set to continue his longtime tradition of wearing a headband, according to a Deseret News source, which in previous years would’ve been a big no-no.
“He can wear it,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder told the Deseret News. “I might wear one, too.”
Utah’s no-headband policy reportedly stemmed from the days of legendary coaches Frank Layden and Jerry Sloan, then continued with Ty Corbin. Although nothing was written in stone, they encouraged players to stand out with their play, and not their on-court style, which is why guys were pushed to keep their jerseys tucked in and play with the same colored socks to keep the focus on team unity for many years.
Snyder certainly respects the franchise tradition, but also sees things differently in this day and age where players can also express themselves with their sneaker color of choice and other on-court accessories. That’s why he also previously allowed former Jazzman Trevor Booker to wear a headband in his brief Jazz tenure, plus ‘Headband Joe’ Ingles wore one after being cut above the eye in Memphis last season.
“We ran the analytics and found he shoots better with a headband,” Snyder said of Conley. “So, I have encouraged him to wear one. ... Joe Ingles also thinks he shot better with one last year, so he asked me if he could wear one ... if that’s the case I might wear one too!
“Mike’s and our team’s focus are on being unselfish and playing defense that will be the case whether he or any of our players wear headbands or any of our five different uniforms or whether Donovan wears tights,” he continued. “That’s what’s important to us.”
“Those things are ways to emphasize to our team being a selfless group and unity is important. I respect that and want our team to demonstrate that by how we play.”
It’s a new day in Jazzland.