We never really noticed it until Monday afternoon, when KNBR Radio's Ted Robinson brought it up, but Baron Davis' stellar play against the Mavericks so far might be the best point guard performance by a beard since Walt Frazier led the Knicks to the NBA title in 1973. Sure, other beards have performed well in the clutch; most notably Bill Walton's for the Trail Blazers in 1977. And let's not forget Clifford Ray's beard, which teamed with George Johnson's gigantic 'fro to form a center tandem that led the Warriors to the NBA title in 1975. But at the point guard position, has there ever been a MVW (Most Valuable Whiskers) candidate to beat these two? We can't think of one.
Small wonder then that Dirk Nowitzki is struggling against the Warriors so far. If this is what passes for a beard in Germany, it's no wonder the Mavericks are down 3-1. On Monday, Dallas coach Avery Johnson boldly addressed the beard issue, and did not pull any punches.
"I'm tired of hearing about how they've taken him out of his game and any lack of confidence. You're just not supposed to have that, all right," said Johnson of Nowitzki. "I wasn't the best of players and didn't have the best of skills, but you were not going to shake my confidence. We need all of our players to be confident, to be resilient, to be persistent and that's what I want to see tomorrow. If I don't see it at shootaround, I'm going to be highly upset."
OK, technically not about beards, but we can read between the lines. Will the Mavericks be able to muster enough facial hair to stave off early elimination? Stay tuned.