Before we get into this debate, it’s necessary to pay homage to the flat top fade of all flat top fades as worn by Christopher Reid aka Christopher “Kid” Harris from the 90’s movie House Party. I don’t think anyone in the history of haircuts has ever worn a higher flat top fade, and the “Kid ‘n’ Play” flat top is the golden standard.
Like all fads, the flat top fade has come, gone, and come again over the years. In the late 1980’s/early 1990’s, they were as common as short shorts in the NBA. There were several variations, from the Reggie Miller “Gumby”, the Detlef Schrempf mullet/flat top fade combo, to the Chris Mullin “high and tight”. While all styles are iconic, nothing compares to the “Kid ‘n’ Play” sported by Kenny Walker:
After a lull of eraser-like haircuts in the early 2000’s, the “Kid ‘n’ Play” has made a resurgence. I’ll credit Brandon Jennings for bringing it back as a senior in High School, but he cut it off when he went overseas to play ball and we never really got to see it in all its glory. Two young ballers, Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel and the Knicks’ Iman Shumpert have brought it back in full force. Let’s take a look at Nerlens’ hair-do:
Flat top? Check. Stripes on the side? Check. Wait, is that a UK shaved in the back of his head? That’s flat-out awesome. The fact that he used his hair-do to tell the world where he decided to go to college makes his flat top tough to beat.
Let’s take a look at Iman Shumpert:
The first photo is an early ‘Shump flat top. The 2nd photo was taken today as the Knicks prepare for his season debut. Go ahead, click on the photo and enlarge it. That flat top has some height! Shumpert is listed at 6’5″, but with that flat top fade he’s gotta be almost 6’10”. Not bad ‘Shump, not bad at all.
While both haircuts are equally awesome in their own right, there are rumors that Iman Shumpert plans to chop the eraser top off when he returns from the Knicks’ overseas trip. Not only does Nerlens Noel have no intention on trimming his locks, he’s kept the UK shaved into the back of his head the entire season so far. That takes dedication.
Best Flat Top Fade in Basketball: Nerlens Noel