For the second straight year, Justin Williams had some fun on team picture day at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
But this time the veteran winger enlisted a little help from Andre Burakovsky, who joined Williams in going for the big-hair, bedhead look.
The result was comic gold, and perhaps the latest fashion trend.
“It’s all fun,” Williams said afterward. “Every team picture always looks the same. So ours is going to look a little different.”
Williams pioneered the bedhead-on-picture-day move as a member of the Kings and brought the tradition with him to Washington.
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“I was thinking about maybe doing something else, but that would have taken a lot of effort,” Williams cracked.
Burakovsky, meanwhile, has a reputation for being very particular about his hair. But that all went out the window earlier this season when he made a bet with teammate Marcus Johnasson.
Burakovsky declined to divulge the details of the bet, other than to say it involves avoiding a barber’s chair until the Capitals’ final game has been played.
It’s been nearly five months since his last haircut.
“My hair doesn’t get long. It gets big,” Burakovsky said before adding with a tinge of regret: “Obviously right now, it’s not even possible to do something to it. I just wear my toque every day and hide it.”
So how did Burakovsky (and his poofy hair) end up next to Williams in the team photo?
Glad you asked.
“Justin just came up to me a couple of weeks ago and said, ‘Hey we need to do this together’,” Burakovsky explained. “It’s going to be awesome if we sit next to each other.’ So we went for it.”
At first glance, it would seem the two men have little in common. After all, Burakovsky is 22 years old and was raised in Sweden. Williams is 35 and was born in Ontario. That all said, they’re pretty tight, according to Coach Barry Trotz.
“Those guys are brothers—Burakovsky and Williams,” Trotz said. “They’re little brother and big brother.”
Williams acknowledged that Monday’s pose was inspired by the poster for the Will Ferrell movie ‘Step Brothers.’
“There’s something to that,” Williams said. “Burky’s nickname is sometimes ‘Dale’.”
Dale, of course, is the character played by John C. Reilly in the 2008 comedy.
Burakovsky tried to downplay how much work went into getting his hair photo-ready. He claimed that he used no products; he just ran his fingers through it.
Williams, on the other hand, was not ashamed to detail how he prepared his perfectly crafted coif. He washed it the night before and then combed it out—repeatedly—before taking his spot on the riser.
“I did it in L.A. one year,” Williams said with a gaggle of cameras and reporters gathered around.
“But it certainly didn’t get the attention it’s gotten here. I’m at the podium talking about it.”
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Wizards forward Markieff Morris has weighed both sides of the debate around resting players in the NBA and does not believe it should be a big deal for guys to take a night off every once in a while.
Strong opinions have been shared from both sides, including from Morris' teammate John Wall, who told CSN recently that he thinks the game has gotten "softer." Morris, though, can see why taking a night off might make sense every once in a while.
"For me, it just depends on what your body tells you, man. It's a long and brutal season," Morris said. "For us, last week we had like three back-to-backs or something like that with a day in between to rest. It gets tough. For a player like LeBron [James], I can understand that. You've played more minutes than [Michael] Jordan and all those guys. It's like one game here and there, it won't hurt."
Morris is right that LeBron has logged more minutes than Jordan. Despite being 32 and likely with a few more years left in the NBA, LeBron has already played 49,341 minutes in 1,252 games including the playoffs across 14 seasons. Jordan played 48,485 minutes in 1,251 games across 15 seasons. That means, coincidentally, that on Saturday night against the Wizards LeBron officially passed Jordan in games played.
Jordan, according to Steve Clifford, the coach he employs as owner of the Charlotte Hornets, does not believe in resting players. And he is not alone, as other legends from his generation like Charles Barkley and Karl Malone have weighed in with strong opinions on the matter.
Morris thinks those guys need to chill out and understand that this isn't the 1980s and 90s.
"That's the old school, man. At the end of the day I've got the utmost respect for those guys. They paved the way for us, but it's different now, man. The league is different. A lot of things have changed since back in the day. You've gotta adjust with that. It just is what it is."
Morris was referring to advancements in sports science and training methods. The decision to rest a player is often made with the consultation of a team's medical staff and, as Gregg Popovich has argued, they are trying to preserve players and extend their careers.
Though Morris picks that side in the argument, he doesn't advocate for players to rest often. He knows doesn't think players should abuse the practice.
"You get your chance to play. When you ain't on the court, it's tough. This is our livelihood. This is what we do. You can never take the game for granted," he said.