CHICAGO – The clear plastic facemask that Chicago Bulls guard Rip Hamilton has made a trademark of his player persona was originally worn to protect him from recurring nose injuries, but now in the tail end of his career, he admits that the mask has come to serve a different purpose.
“Honestly? At this point, it’s really just to get the chicks.”
The 34-year-old, currently sidelined with a foot injury, insists that despite how the facemask traps his facial moisture and distorts his appearance so that he looks like some sort of burn victim, it has served as a veritable fishing pole for reeling in babe after babe after babe.
Whether wearing it on the court, in the clubs, or even when out tending to mundane errands, Hamilton asserts that the mask drops more panties than a gimp-armed Victoria’s Secret employee.
“I guess the ladies think it’s mysterious or something, like, ‘Whoa, who is that guy, and what could he be hiding behind that exotic orthopedic contraption?’” Hamilton reasoned. “So when I open up to them a little, show them that there’s a real man behind all the secrecy, let’s just say that they open up a whole lot to me.”
The on-court Casanova says the mask is so alluring to females that sometimes, when setting up for a free throw, he’ll look up and realize that 10 or 11 women are trying to seduce him with lewd, unspeakable gestures—a phenomenon that certainly doesn’t help his concentration, or his free throw percentage, for that matter.
“You know, I’ve worked so hard my entire career to build a reputation as a cunning, inventive basketball player, but I’m starting to get the feeling that I’ll never be able to escape my legacy as a sex symbol,” he lamented. “It’s just like Wilt [Chamberlain]: The dude won four MVPs, made it to 13 All-Star Games, scored 100 points in a game, but after he retired, the only thing people ever asked him about was whether he really slept with 20,000 different women. I guess that’s what I’m gonna have to get used to.”
This is a reality that the numbers seem to reflect: In the 28 out of 66 regular season games that Hamilton played for the Bulls last year, female attendance was up an average of 400 percent. And until he unmasks himself, it seems the mask will continue to be his identity, serving as both a blessing and a curse.