Basketball is a contact sport and injuries are part and parcel of the game. With the popularity of sport increasing day by day, the style of the game has become more physical. The change in the style of play has also increased the possibility of players suffering from various injuries. Speaking about injuries, facial injuries is one among the various injuries which can be relatively minor or severe.
While there have been many NBA players at present who have been wearing a mask due to injuries over the years, former Detroit Pistons legend Richard Hamilton (Rip Hamilton) made the mask a thing of his own. Despite breaking his nose during the 2003-2004 NBA season, Hamilton led the Detroit Pistons' championship team in scoring with 17.6 points per game. Hamilton went on to wear the mask for the rest of his career. The big question that basketball fans have in their mind 'Is why did Rip Hamilton wear a mask'?
The fans still wonder as to 'Why did rip Hamilton wear a mask'. The Rip Hamilton mask first came into the limelight during the 2003-04 season. Rip Hamilton's nose had been broken twice that season (it happened once before in 2002) and he was advised to wear the mask the rest of his career or face nasal reconstructive surgery. The Rip Hamilton mask proved to be lucky for him as well as the Detroit Pistons. The small forward led the Pistons in scoring as they marched to the NBA title that very season.
Rip Hamilton led the Pistons in scoring (2003-04) with 17.6 points per game. Detroit finished the season with 54 wins. In the playoffs, the Pistons dominated the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round before setting up a rematch with New Jersey. They eventually won the NBA Championship that year against the Los Angeles Lakers. On February 26, 2017, the Pistons retired Hamilton’s no. 32 jersey.
Rip Hamilton Bulls career started back in 2011 when he was signed as a free agent. The Rip Hamilton Bulls chapter, therefore, had begun after spending the previous nine seasons with the Detroit Pistons. The Bulls were the last stop for Hamilton before retiring after the 2012-13 season. He only played two seasons in Chicago. In his first season with the Bulls, Hamilton suffered from the most injury-plagued season of his career, as he appeared in only 28 games in 2011-12 and averaged just 11.6 PPG.
He didn't perform much better in the playoffs, as he averaged 13.0 PPG on 41.4 % shooting from the field and watched the Bulls get eliminated in the first round by the eighth-seeded Philadelphia 76ers. In 2012-13, Hamilton was still struggling to stay healthy and started to slowly see his playing time decrease as the season progressed. His minutes were being eaten up by Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli, who both had a major impact on the Bulls' 2013 postseason run.