10 best basketball players with goggles: Who tops the list?

10 best basketball players with goggles: Who tops the list?

Sospeter Itolondo
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:27 PM

Wearing goggles are for many reasons, especially for a physical game like basketball. The player's eyes are usually at risk, especially with the waving and hand motions. Some great players in the NBA are known for wearing goggles. So, why do basketball players wear goggles? Read on to learn more about basketball players with goggles.

why do basketball players wear goggles
James Worthy #42 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up to shoot against the Washington Bullets during an NBA basketball game circa 1988 at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland. Photo: Focus on Sport
Source: Getty Images

Goggles were more popular during the 90s era. Many players do not use them any more due to the emergence of contact lenses and corrective surgery. Although some players still do wear them to protect their eyes from physical harm or beverages entering the eyes during celebrations.

Why do NBA players wear goggles?

These famous athletes wear eyewear to protect themselves from unnecessary injuries and also so that they can see better. Here are some famous basketball players with goggles:

10. James Worthy

The "Big Game James" was a 6'9" small forward for the LA Lakers. The seven-time NBA all-star works as a commentator, Tv host and analyst. The star was known for wearing goggles.

Who was the basketball player with thick glasses?
James Worthy #42 of the Los Angeles Lakers during a game circa 1988 at The Forum in Inglewood, California. Photo: Andrew D. Bernstein
Source: Getty Images

He was wearing them due to a scratched cornea he suffered in 1985. He advised Anthony Davis to do so after he was poked in the eye. He said,

"AD, get your goggles, baby. Get you some goggles, man. I'm telling you it will protect your eyes, man. You get swiped at a lot. Nothing wrong with goggles."

9. Trae Young

The 24-year-old, as of March 2023, plays for the Atlanta Hawks as a point guard. The fifth pick for the Dallas Mavericks also rocked goggles at some point in his young career. Trae Young hurt his right eyelid after he caught an accidental blow from Okongwu in 2021. In the following games, he wore goggles as protective gear.

Do NBA players wear goggles?
Trae Young (#11) dribbles the ball during the Big 12 college basketball game between the TCU Horned Frogs and the Oklahoma Sooners on December 30, 2017, in Fort Worth, TX. Photo: Matthew Visinsky
Source: Getty Images

8. Dwayne Wade

As a point guard, the 13-time NBA all-star played for teams such as Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, and Cleveland Cavaliers. He led his teams, including the United States national team, to success at various times. He used to wear goggles to protect his eyes as light caused him migraines. He is one of the black basketball players with goggles, as most did not like them.

black basketball player with goggles
Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat look on in their game at Staples Center on January 15, 2013, in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Andrew D. Bernstein
Source: Getty Images

However, the NBA had to intervene and investigate to come up with the findings that the tinted goggles gave him a competitive advantage, so he had to abandon them. They said they were not goggles for basketball players as they hindered other players from seeing his eye movements. As per ESPN,

"After a hands-on review at league headquarters in Manhattan Thursday afternoon, the league has rejected the shaded goggles Wade planned to wear against the Knicks. Officials determined there was too much tinting and it would have given him a competitive advantage because opponents would not be able to see his eyes."

7. Anthony Davis

The LA Lakers player plays as a forward and a centre in the NBA. He is one of the best in the game and is regarded as a legend. He wore goggles at one point due to an injury.

sports goggles in basketball
Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers smiles before an interview after the game against the LA Clippers on July 30, 2020, in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Bill Baptist
Source: Getty Images

In high school, he wore prescription lenses. Some used to joke he looked like a young Kareem Abdul Jabbar with the afro and his skinny frame.

6. Horace Grant

The four-time power forward ad centre played for the Chicago Bulls, LA Lakers, Orlando Magic and Seattle Supersonics. He is a four-time NBA champion. He wore the eyewear because he was legally blind.

goggles for basketball players
Horace Grant of the Orlando Magic looks on during the NBA Atlantic Division basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers on 20th December 1996 at the Orlando Arena in Orlando. Photo: Andy Lyons
Source: Getty Images

However, he stated another reason after getting eye surgery. In an interview, he said,

"I got them because I was legally blind. I wore em because of that for a few years. After a few years I got Lasik surgery, but I kept wearing them without the perscription [sic] lenses because I had grandparents and parents come up to me and thank me for wearing them. Their kids and grandkids would get made fun of by wearing protective eyewear playing sports, so I kept wearing them to help make it cool to wear goggles for the kids."

5. Hakeem Olajuwon

The Nigerian-American played for the Houston Rockets as a centre. He won back-to-back NBA championships and was inducted into the FIBA hall of fame. The star wore the eyewear after he succumbed to an injury that fractured his eye socket. However, he said they did not feel right and removed them.

NBA players who wore goggles
Hakeem Olajuwon Center for the Houston Rockets during the NBA Midwest Division basketball game against the Denver Nuggets on 5th April 1991 at the McNichols Sports Arena, Denver. Photo: Tim DeFrisco
Source: Getty Images

4. Lebron James

The all-time NBA points leader plays for the LA Lakers as a power forward. He also played for teams such as Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat. The star once wore goggles as they fell off a fellow player, Wendell Carter Jr.

why do nba players wear goggles
LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers at the free throw line during the second half against the Toronto Raptors at Quicken Loans Arena on November 15, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo: Jason Miller
Source: Getty Images

He later posted the video on Instagram and trolled himself. He captioned the video,

"What the heck is wrong with me!?!?!?! Out there just having a good time while doing what I love to do!"

He also wore them during a game against Charlotte Hornets, where he suffered a corneal abrasion in his right eye. However, he got rid of the 9 minutes into the first half.

3. Jaylen Brown

The star athlete played as a small forward for the Boston Celtics. The star basketballer wore the eyewear as a protective precaution. However, the player has yet to find comfort in wearing them and removes them several times.

why do basketball players wear goggles
Jaylen Brown, #7 of the Boston Celtics, reacts during the fourth quarter of the game against the Brooklyn Nets at TD Garden on March 03, 2023, in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo: Omar Rawlings
Source: Getty Images

In an interview, Jaylen Brown said:

"I haven't been able to find any comfort really with the glasses, so I was just like, 'F it,' and took them off. My eye's still blurry. Everything's still blurry. I don't have very good vision, but at least it's like, more consistent."

2. Buck Williams

The power forward played for the Portland Trail Blazers, New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks and made three-time all-star appearances. He wore protective eyewear because of an injury he got from an elbow from James Donaldson in the right eye.

famous basketball players with goggles
Buck Williams makes a free throw attempt during the NBA Pacific Division basketball game against the LA Lakers on 14th February 1990 at The Forum arena in Inglewood, Los Angeles. Photo: Stephen Dunn
Source: Getty Images

In an interview, he said,

"I cannot believe to this day the amount of people who associate me with those goggles. I hated those things. They were difficult to play in, it was like playing in a tube. And I would always get cuts on my face, because if someone hit you real hard, they would press into your face and cut you. Hated those things and threw them away a long time ago."

1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

The second all-time points scorer, only overtaken recently by Lebron James, was also known for wearing basketball goggles in the NBA. He played for the LA Lakers and the Milwaukee Bucks as a centre. The legend wore the gadgets after he had suffered repeated injuries to the eyes, causing corneal abrasions, pain and irritation.

10 basketball players with goggles
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shoots during a National Basketball Association game against the Buffalo Braves at the Memorial Auditorium in January 1978 in Buffalo, New York. Photo: George Gojkovich
Source: Getty Images

He got most of these injuries due to his tall nature. The star was 7 foot 2 inches tall, way above the NBA average. The star tops our list of NBA players who wore goggles.

Do NBA players wear goggles?

Sports goggles in basketball have been popular for a long time, primarily due to eye injuries and irritations that come with the game. Some wear them as they may have eye complications that hinder them from seeing. Most do not wear eyewear nowadays.

Who was the basketball player with thick glasses?

Kurt Rambis (born February 25, 1958) was known for his thick goggles. The eyewear was thick-rimmed and had a lanyard making him look like Austin Powers.

Kareem Abdul-Jabar tops our list of basketball players with goggles. The star player wore the eyewear to protect his eyes from injuries caused by other players due to his tall nature. Most players, however, do not like wearing goggles as they term them uncomfortable.

READ ALSO: Premier League owners: All EPL team owners ranked by net worth

Sports Brief published a list of Premier League owners ranked according to their net worth. The Premier League is the largest in the world and boasts the best players on the planet. They also have the most fans and attendance compared to other leagues. This only means they attract the biggest and best owners.

So, who are the Premier League owners, and what is their net worth? Click the link above to learn more about the owners and their teams.

Sospeter Itolondo photo
Sospeter Itolondo
SEO Editor
Lebron James