There are successful bald athletes in every sport, and the chances are you know more than you think you do.
Here’s a run-down of some of the most successful baldies in sport, and some you may not be as familiar with.
Bald American football players
Hoyer started to lose his hair around 2007 and has proudly rocked the shaved head look for years.
In his career as a quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and more, his hair hasn’t been a hindrance in the slightest. Hoyer even won the Super Bowl with the Patriots in 2018.
Despite the name, Punter Anger isn’t particularly known for his temper, but is notable for being one of the many famous people with a bald head and beard.
The California native was given the nickname Banger by his Jacksonville Jaguars teammates, which is a piece of wordplay everyone can enjoy.
Urlacher was one of the most intimidating linebackers in the NFL until his retirement in 2012. He then opted for a hair transplant, but I’m still claiming him for this list.
It’s not clear why there are so many bald Brians/Bryans in the NFL. Coincidence? Probably.
Running back Rex had some significant hair loss early on in his career and quickly embraced it with a full shaved look.
He doesn’t seem at all embarrassed about his baldness, even firing out light-hearted Tweets about his hair loss on occasions.
Bald soccer players
‘Zizu’ is an icon of the sport, having won the Ballon d’Or in 1998 and being one of Real Madrid’s famous ‘Galacticos’ in the early 2000s.
Pep: Similarities with Zidane? “In terms of hair, yes, unfortunately for both of us!”— City Chief (@City_Chief) June 5, 2018
Zidane’s look is as iconic as his talent, and it’s odd to see pictures of the Frenchman with hair. It might surprise you to know that Zidane lifted the World Cup with France in 2002 when his hair was still clinging on.
American goalkeeper Friedel had hair while sitting on the bench for Liverpool but was notably bald by the time he transferred to become Blackburn’s number one.
He became a legend in his 8 years at Ewood before enjoying more success with Aston Villa and Spurs.
Our second goalkeeper is known for being unorthodox, even pretending Paolo Di Canio was offside in an effort to psych him out in an FA Cup game in 2001.
Despite his antics, French teammate Laurent Blanc was so convinced that Barthez’s bald head was lucky that he used to kiss his scalp at the start of every game.
Lombardo is a legend of the 90s Italian soccer scene, possibly most remembered for a bizarre move to Crystal Palace in 1997 that absolutely nobody saw coming.
Palace are nicknamed The Eagles, so it wasn’t long before fans nicknamed him (yes, you guessed it) The Bald Eagle.
Lombardo’s baldness arrived early. Even in his first spell in Sampdoria in ‘89, his hair wasn’t simply thinning or shaved. This man was fully bald in his early 20s.
Sir Bobby Charlton
One of the heroes of England’s 1966 World Cup win, Charlton was from a different era where shaved heads weren’t the norm.
The Manchester United legend was bald on top with hair around the back and sides. But instead of shaving, Charloton opted for a combover, which would eventually be named after him.
He was ridiculed for the crew cut he tried out when he found his hair thinning at just 17 years old. The decision was to grow out the hair on the side of his head and simply sweep it across his bald scalp, which works until you’re running around for 90 minutes in the wind and rain.
The combover became known as ‘the Bobby Charlton’ and was generally used as a joke to poke fun at balding men considering their options.
Sir Bobby eventually cut off his remaining strands himself with scissors after retirement. Knighted in 1994, he’s been a true baldie ever since.
Bald cricket players
Sir Vivian Richards
It’s impressive enough to become a knight, but to fans of the sport, Sir Vivian will always be known as ‘The King of Cricket’.
Richards was so well-regarded by his peers that when former Indian fast-medium bowler Kapil Dev went for the bald look, he claimed to have been inspired by Richards’s signature look:
Hahaha— Sir Vivian Richards (@ivivianrichards) April 25, 2020
You took the right inspiration my friend @therealkapildev 😉 https://t.co/cd8Ke9vbn4
Gooch, a legendary Former England batsman, suffered from a badly receding hairline at the tail end of his career.
Rather than grabbing the clippers or going for a full shave, Gooch chose a hair transplant. While the results look great, the surgery subsequently landed the clinic in legal trouble over their claims his hair had regrown.
Sir Geoffrey Boycott
Younger sports fans may not remember Sir Geoffrey, but he was a legendary batsman in the 1960s and 70s. He went on to become the voice of cricket analysis on British TV in the 80s and 90s.
Boycott’s hair deserted him as his legend grew, with his hair rapidly receding throughout his playing career. The no-nonsense Yorkshireman kept a tightly cropped hairstyle in his later years, rather than shave completely bald.
Amla was the first South African to score a triple century in test cricket but is as recognizable for his hairstyle as his playing style.
Receding at an early age, Amla simply embraced the shave and went completely bald. At the same time, he grew out his thick beard to an impressive length to give himself a signature look on and off the field.
Honorable mention: Shane Warne
Warne is famous for being one of the greatest bowlers of all time, but the Aussie hit the headlines for a different reason in 2006.
Warne rocked a bleached blonde look for most of his career, but found he could see his scalp through his hair in the mid-2000s and opted for a hair transplant.
His ad for the clinic that performed the procedure went viral, but Warne was always known for his sense of humor and took the jokes as well as he took wickets.
Warne never went fully bald thanks to his surgery, but we’re claiming him as an honorary baldie for this list.
Bald Hockey players
Stepan is a center who broke through with the New York Rangers in 2010 and showed a gradually receding hairline throughout his career.
Stepan moved to the Arizona Coyotes and went fully shaved by the time he left for the Ottawa Senators in 2020.
Goalie Anderson is another who went gradually bald throughout his career with the Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Buffalo Sabres and others.
Eventually Anderson made the sensible decision to brave the shave.
Like any man who goes bald in his 20s, Getzlaf had to make a decision of what to do with his hair as it gradually left him.
Sensibly, the Anaheim Ducks legend went for a gradually shorter haircut rather than a full shave all at once.
When you spend most of your public life under a helmet, hair isn’t a huge priority. Markov simply shaved his head when it became obvious his hair was on its way out.
Kudos to the Russian defenceman for making the best of it by pairing his bald head with a stylish beard for a classic look.
Left winger Chimera was another who started balding at a young age.
It says a lot about the mentality of hockey players that very few try to hide it or go for a transplant (the helmet would be an issue here), they just seem to whip out the clippers or the razor without a second thought.
Bonus points to Chimera for growing this badass mustache:
Who’s mustache is better: Jason Chimera or General Custer? pic.twitter.com/6Ip5lebIdt— Ian Oland (@ianoland) November 6, 2015
Bald tennis players
90s heartthrob Agassi was well known for his flowing locks, but he shockingly revealed in his 2009 autobiography that it was actually a hairpiece. These days he keeps it simple with a clean shave.
This Day In 1990: @AndreAgassi loses in French Open final to Andres Gomez. Agassi reveals in autobiography, published 19 years later, that the night before, his hair, which actually is a hairpiece, fell apart. His brother advises him not to move too much during the match. pic.twitter.com/Eoa3ziXmwa— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 10, 2019
Blake doesn’t do anything by halves. The New Yorker went from wild dreadlocks early in his career to a buzz cut in the blink of an eye.
Now rocking a fantastically shiny bald head, he’s fortunate enough to look good whatever his hair does.
2019 ATP men’s singles champ Mannarino is one of those lucky guys who looks better without hair than with.
Now rocking a neat, closely-shaved head, the Frenchman has grown out some stubble and is one of the most stylish players on the men’s scene.
A former world no. 3 and French Open semi-finalist himself, Ljubičić has arguably had even more success as a coach since his retirement in 2012, working with great players like Roger Federer.
The Croatian’s distinctive bald head has been a fixture since losing his hair as he approached his 30s.
Ukrainian-born Davydenko never appeared too concerned by the fact he was balding during his career.
Naturally fair, Davydenko’s hair became wispier as the years went on, through his peak in the mid-to-late 2000s and into his retirement in 2014. Blondes do go bald quicker, and Davydenko was no exception.
Bald volleyball players
McClendon’s story is an inspirational one, having suffered from alopecia areata since the age of 12.
At the end of 2018, the American-born player decided to fully shave her head rather than dealing with the small bald patches the condition brings.
This brave decision didn’t negatively impact her career, however, and she went on to appear at the 2019 Volleyball Club World Championship.
Swiss-born American Dalhausser is a professional beach volleyball blocker who competed at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics alongside Nick Lucena.
Standing 6’9 and with a fully bald head, Dalhausser must be an intimidating presence for anyone at the other side of the net!
Another American, Samuelson competed in the 1992 Summer Olympics, winning bronze with the US men’s team.
Samuelson’s baldness is also due to alopecia areata and has had to deal with unkind comments, including chants of ‘bombilla’ from Spanish-speaking fans, which translates as ‘light bulb’.
The 1992 US Men’s Team
In the 1992 Summer Olympics, the US men’s volleyball team shaved their heads when their victory over Japan was overturned by the International Volleyball Federation.
The aforementioned, and already bald, Samuelson was given two yellow cards and should, according to the Federation, have been ejected from the game. The result was reversed and the team decided to shave their heads in protest.
Bald basketball players
Kobe went early with the bald look, having sported a shaved head in his rookie year in the NBA.
Sadly no longer with us, Kobe’s retirement gave him time to work on a new image, and we even got to see beardy Bryant before he passed away.
Shaq started shaving his head at just 23 years old. In 1995, he played in the NBA Finals with his newly smooth dome.
Since then he’s gone on to become one of the all-time greats in the sport and one of the most loved celebrities, known for his generosity and positivity.
Caruso has been nicknamed The Bald Eagle and The Bald Mamba by Lakers fans, but takes it all in good fun.
The former Oklahoma City point guard started wearing his signature head band when former teammate JaVale McGee suggested it would be a nice addition.
Magic always kept his hair short with a close buzz-cut throughout his glittering career with the LA Lakers.
After retirement, he shaved what was left down to a smooth, bald look at the turn of the millennium.
Like Shaq, Jordan was shaving bald by his mid-20s. In the late 80s, the Bulls legend went hair-free and went on to win six championships (the two might not be related!).
Michael Jordan and Shaq at the 1993 NBA All-Star Game #NBA #BullsNation pic.twitter.com/DowtVxDypF— The Jordan Rules (@Rules23Jordan) July 23, 2022
Jordan went on to become a successful businessman and something of a fashion icon, with his bald head being central to his style.
Bald baseball players
Former San Francisco Giants left fielder Bonds has the most career home runs in Major League Baseball history.
However, this record is tainted by his use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Catcher Flowers keeps his baldness under his hat – literally.
Like most baseball players his head is covered most of the time, but he’s been smart enough to pair his now-shaved head with a beard for the times his scalp is on show.
Youkilis spent most of his career with the Boston Redsox, where he was known for his unusual batting stance.
Youkilis paired his bald head with a goatee (Walter White style) for most of his career.
Pujols has spent his career with the St. Louis Cardinals and in LA with the Angels and the Dodgers.
The first baseman and designated hitter has rocked one of the most deliciously shiny heads in sport since his debut season.
Honorable mention: The Chicago Cubs
This list wouldn’t be complete without a shout-out to the Cubs, who had players including first baseman Anthony Rizzo’s head shaved to raise money for pediatric cancer research..
Rizzo braved the shave along with Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ, Taylor Davis, and manager Joe Maddon as part of the Cubs’ 5th annual Respect Bald event.
Bald track and field athletes
Sir Mo Farah
One of Great Britain’s greatest ever Olympians is more about stamina than speed, but he’s certainly not getting any wind resistance from what’s on top of his head.
Sir Mo is the proud owner of four Olympic gold medals and six world championships, so perhaps he did benefit from being a little more hairodynamic.
Jamaican Powell is one of the fastest men in history, clocking a phenomenal personal best of 9.72 seconds in the men’s 100m.
Powell achieved this time in September 2008 at the Athletissima Grand Prix in Lausanne, Switzerland, all while rocking a sleek, shiny bald head.
It’s #tbt … So lemme throwback to when I had hair lol … Whe cute ah guh? 😁 pic.twitter.com/AU7yfqazvS— Asafa Powell (@officialasafa) September 10, 2015
Lamont Marcell Jacobs
An Italian sprinter and long jumper, Jacobs shocked the world in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when he took home the gold in the men’s 100m dash.
Jacobs succeeded Usain Bolt as the world’s fastest man, all while looking a million Lira with his chiseled good looks, bald head and tattoos.
This list wouldn’t be complete without a nod to the man who was nicknamed ‘The Bald Bullet’.
Newman was one of the world’s fastest men in the 1960s, and is said to have been bald since his days as a college athlete.
Kenyan-American middle and long-distance runner Lagat is a five-time Olympian, and a certified baldie.
Sometimes it’s difficult to know whether people are fully bald or just careful shavers, but Lagat ended any speculation in 2010 when he said that even if he grew his hair, he would still be “as bald as a village elder.”
If you’re thinking that wearing caps all day could be to blame for the number of bald golfers, think again.
According to the Belgravia Centre, traction alopecia looks different from most of the hair loss seen in golfers like Tiger Woods, and simple male pattern baldness is to blame.
Here are some prime examples:
Former world number one Lehmann spent most of his career in a hat but has occasionally been spotted without it.
Most likely, this was to keep the sun out of his eyes while watching another massive drive, rather than just to hide his bald head.
The first Danish golfer to male the European Ryder Cup team, Bjorn made the cut in 1997 and has since braved the shave.
Furyk doesn’t seem as shy about his hair loss as some of his rivals and regularly plays with no hat.
2012 FedEx Cup winner Haas is another who lost his hair thanks to alopecia areata.
Rather than put up with patchy hair loss, Haas takes the simple route and shaves bald.
It seems that Cink spends most of his time outdoors in a cap, as on the rare occasion he does take off his hat, he shows the world some pretty impressive tan lines.
The 2009 Open winner doesn’t seem too self conscious about the patterns that his hats make, as evidenced by this ‘impressive’ look from back in 2014:
Stewart Cink’s tan hasn’t quite “Cunk” in yet. #SkullCap @PaulPabst @JasonSobelGC pic.twitter.com/v51g226tO1— Ben Taylor (@BTtrey4) January 10, 2014
Bald rugby players
Rugby is a hard man’s game, and many players shave their hair to add to the tough guy look.
But here are a few who didn’t have any choice:
Former Bath and Gloucester outside-centre Tindall hit the headlines in the late 90s when he dated Zara Phillips, his now wife and the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II.
More recently, the British baldie joked about the days when he had hair in an Instagram post.
Intimidating New Zealander Lomu became the All Blacks’ youngest ever player in 1994 at the age of 19.
With few options for a new haircut, Lomu once shaved the number 11 he wore on the back of his shirt into his eyebrow.
Tragically, Lomu died from a heart attack in 2015 which was linked to a kidney condition.
Dallaglio is a former England rugby captain whose hair was well on its way out during the flanker’s playing career.
These days he sensibly keeps his head shaved bald, with some occasional stubble growth appearing on his chiseled jawline.
Rugby Sevens star Fisher is another woman who has bravely battled alopecia and even told how she has been kicked out of female toilets when people mistook her for a man.
Butterbean (Eric Esch)
Esch was more well-known by his nickname than his real name, and it took him a long way.
Fighting across several disciplines, including boxing, MMA and even at Wrestlemania, Butterbean earned his nickname due to the bald head, heavy physique and pale complexion that made him resemble… well, a bean.
‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’ is no stranger to controversy, and while he has reformed his image in recent years he’s still a scary dude.
The former heavyweight champion of the world looks as mean as ever with his face tattoo, bald head and gray beard.
Always one to take care of his image, it’s a testament to how great a boxer Mayweather was that he retired while still looking so handsome.
For most of his career, Floyd kept his hair shaved down bald, and always looked good with it. He briefly appeared in public with a full head of hair in 2021 before going bald again later that year, with speculation this was due to a botched hair transplant.
Eubank Sr. spent much of his in-ring career with an odd hairline that was very much receding. The hair that was left seemed thick enough, but seemed to start at the very top of his head.
These days Eubank rocks a fully shaved head while watching Chris Jr. tear through his opponents.
Relentlessly positive Fury has openly discussed balding, insisting it’s a ‘beautiful’ process. He has even rejected hair transplants, instead rocking the classic bald and bearded look.
Bald MMA fighters
Silva has been bald his entire professional career, so it’s difficult to imagine anything else. However there are one or two rare photos online of the Spider with hair.
Cormier is another fighter who is hard to imagine with hair. One barber in Newark made it a little easier for us, as DC remembered on Twitter in 2020:
Y’all remember that one time I was in Newark and they absolutely laced me with the fresh edge up, and a little extra hair on top!!! My goodness what were they doing? 📸@arielhelwani pic.twitter.com/4Wp1k3AcU5— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) November 13, 2020
Rutten told interviewers that he took the decision to shave his head at 22 years old when he saw himself with a purple blow-dryer one day. Deciding it wasn’t worth the effort, he went straight to the barber and asked for a full shave, and has never looked back since
Couture hasn’t quite gone for the full shave yet but keeps his balding head buzzed down to a closely cropped style.
I, for one, won’t be telling him to do anything different, at least not to his face.
Usman went for a full shave after fans and opponents trolled him for his receding hairline.
He was filmed asking the barber to “take it all off” and asking “What y’all got to say now?”
Bald pro wrestlers
‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin
The man who sparked a new era in professional wrestling in the late 90s did so without a lot of the glamor that had epitomized previous years.
Austin’s look was simple – black boots, black trunks, bald head, goatee.
It’s hard to imagine, but back in his WCW days, ‘Stone Cold’ was in a tag team called The Hollywood Blondes where he had long, blonde hair. Things could have been very different!
Dwayne Johnson’s alter ego was Austin’s nemesis during the WWF’s ‘attitude era’.
Like Austin, he started his career with questionable hair, but once his Hollywood career was in full swing he was already shaving fully bald.
The only person on this list to rock a ‘skullet’, Hogan has looked 60 years old for his entire career thanks to a bizarre hair decision.
Hogan was bald on top from the early 1980s. Despite this, he managed to wrestle for decades with long blonde hair almost reaching his shoulders.
The bandanas he wore outside the ring were doing a lot of heavy lifting.
Bam Bam Bigelow
Bam Bam’s iconic bald head became part of his unique look thanks to the flame tattoos he added.
It helped make him one of the most intimidating-looking heels during the classic 80s and early 90s era of pro wrestling.
Former NFL defensive tackle Bill Goldberg was a phenomenon in late 90s WCW, where he tore through the entire roster on an unprecedented 173-match undefeated streak.
Like Austin, Goldberg didn’t need to rely on a gimmicky image to get over with the fans, going for simple black boots and black trunks, with a bald head and goatee beard.
Summary: Are athletes more likely to go bald?
The number of bald athletes is due to two factors; stress and testosterone.
Professional athletes tend to live in high-pressure environments, pushing themselves to the limit to be the best.
Meanwhile, male athletes tend to have higher levels of testosterone, which is involved in muscle growth. Male Pattern Baldness is often caused by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase which converts 10% of the body’s testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, an androgen that causes damage to hair follicles.
Given these two factors, it’s no wonder so many successful athletes either lose their hair completely or opt for hair transplants.
Before you go
It’s not just athletes who lose their hair, there are many famous people who go bald under the scrutiny of the public eye.
Here’s 38 pictures of of bald celebrities when they had hair.