Glasses in the NBA: Past, Present, and Future

Yes, you read that right. You might wonder — what do eyeglasses have anything to do with professional basketball? Well, any true NBA fan can remember the iconic styles of players in the past and some notable ones in the present. Let's dive in and see more.

Who's Who on the NBA Glasses Scene?

Who can forget the timeless protective goggles worn by the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? Jabbar isn't alone in his spectacled journey to greatness: part of the glasses-clad crew includes such greats as James Worthy, Horace Grant, Kurt Rambis, Thurl Bailey, Hakeem Olajuwon, Buck Williams, Bo Outlaw, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Ben Wallace, to name a few.

After all, basketball is such a precision sport of inches, that elite athletes must see their best for peak performance. Professional players are certainly allowed to wear more traditional glasses in the NBA, but goggles tend to be more practical. This is especially true, considering how physical the sport can get up close bringing a defender to the rim.

Form and Function: Not Yesterday's Goggles

But why only see your best when you can also look your best? These days, glasses aren't just about functionality and utility — they have become a status icon and are quite fashionable. More recently, glasses have taken on some pretty interesting properties such as anti-fog coatings (great for Zoom calls) as well as replacement lenses (if you love your frames, keep your frames). The global eyeglasses market is booming — to the tune of $172 billion by the year 2028.

The Future of Tech and Glasses

The future of technology when it comes to glasses is pretty compelling. Maybe the future of the NBA will be playing in the metaverse? While it's still too early to tell — as of right now, fans can already do pretty enhanced experiences such as the ability to buy sneaker NFTs in the metaverse.

Many fans will soon also have truly immersive experiences thanks to mixed reality headsets such as the Microsoft HoloLens. Facebook/Meta has been making a lot of noise lately as well with the advent of the Ray-Ban Stories Wayfarer. This has been a popular headset, as well — as such an advanced headset now has the ability to project photos directly into the wearer's eyes which helps to enlarge the field of view. This is a dramatic improvement over prior generations of virtual reality goggles.

Okay, so you see where this is going from a fan perspective, but what about the players? We may very well be a long way off from the players themselves wearing such smart glasses for now — but given some time, there should be some dramatic advancements where augmented reality is superimposed in reality itself. Interesting times ahead, that's for sure.

Bringing it All Together

Here's to a new year ahead: let's see our best and look our best — on and off the court. Learn more about the style, form, and function of the future of eyewear and how sports can adapt to these styles in the visual deep dive below.

Looking Up. The Future of Eyewear Is Shining Bright

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