I'm not a crazy person for absolutely loving this story about Ayo just molding his body to the face mask. Not even when he takes a dump does that thing come off. Not for pancakes in the morning and most certainly not with March Madness looming and the potential threat of inhibited court vision. The level of psychosis it takes to fuse fiberglass to your face to offset a competitive disadvantage is something you see from a Pierce Brosnan supporting-Bond villain.
The mask stays with me
Stories like these separate college basketball from the pack. If this were a Blue Blood football program there would be a 5-star recruit waiting to take Ayo's 25 proverbial carries a game. If it were professional basketball he'd be on the shelf getting a zj. And if it were baseball we'd just be arguing about whether the mask would have been allowed 35 years ago. Only in college basketball do you have the individual star power, the sole responsibility and the passion for literally one shining moment all mixed into one. It's so perfect that Of Course one of the NPOY candidates won't take the mask off. We're looking for an edge here guys it's March 10th forchrissakes.
Elsewhere my mind is racing about the great masks in sports. There are so many but I think my #1 is the two-piece catcher's helmets from the 80's and 90's. None of the super protective shit they have now. Back when you'd wear the same helmet to catch backwards then slip it forwards in the bottom half when you came up to the dish. That's a good mask/helmet combo by me but there are so many others.
If you include all the circumstances though, Ayo's mask is going down as the most memorable non Rip Hamilton basketball mask of my life. It's a pretty shallow category to start for me but I'm willing to expand as we get into March. The deeper the run, the stronger the memories. Fingers crossed this mask story goes down in history.
The good kind.
PS - really ramping up the March Madness talk on Red Line Radio. Now is the best time to get subscribed.