10 NBA Players Who Became Well-Known for Wearing Goggles

In the game of basketball, vision comes into play in a couple of different ways.

Teams need to have a vision of the style they want to deploy night in and night out in order to maximize their full potential. Individual players who have great vision can see things developing before their teammates and opponents do, and it can be a huge advantage.

Although it’s not the most popular apparel item in terms of swagger, basketball goggles have been worn throughout the years in the NBA to protect or enhance the vision of players.

We’ll take a look at 10 NBA players who are intimately linked with their on-court spectacles.


Hakeem Olajuwon

For the majority of his illustrious career, Houston Rockets legendary center Hakeem Olajuwon played without goggles. Bringing up the high points of his basketball life, such as the 1994 and 1995 NBA Finals, will show the Hall of Famer sans any sort of eyewear.

However, he was forced to sport protective eyewear during the early 1990’s, as he suffered a fractured orbital bone near his eye. The injury wasn’t a long-term concern, as Olajuwon would go on lead the Rockets to two championships during the window where Michael Jordan stepped away from the game to play baseball.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

nba players with goggles

Thanks to LeBron James’ recent exploits, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is now the second leading scorer in NBA history. His achievements are no less impressive however, especially when considering that his massive scoring output only included one three-pointer in his career.

During the early part of his tenure in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks, Abdul-Jabbar was subject to scratches and pokes in the eye as defenders flailed helplessly to stop his trademark skyhook. This caused slight damage to his vision, and the legendary center wanted to preserve his sight for the remainder of his life.


James Worthy

“Big Game” James Worthy was known for coming through when it mattered most in college and in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers. However, a scratched cornea he suffered in 1985 caused him to re-evaluate how he showed up to the court.

From that point on, Worthy wore his signature goggles, which allowed him to play effectively for several more seasons. He is a three-time NBA champion and a seven-time NBA All Star.


Amar’e Stoudemire

For a long stretch in the 2000’s and early 2010’s, there was no player in the NBA who finished dunks with more authority and power than forward Amar’e Stoudemire. His freakish athleticism allowed him to jump over and through anyone who stood in his way.

Stoudemire is often forgotten as one of the premier members of the 2010 free agent class, and it’s possible he may not have gotten the big bucks if he didn’t take care of his peepers. He started wearing goggles after the 2008-2009 season, when he suffered a torn iris and detached retina.


Horace Grant

Even though he won’t go down as one of the greatest players with goggles, Horace Grant may actually be more well-known for wearing them than any other player. Remarkably, Grant was legally blind, and truly needed the prescription goggles to see what he was doing on the floor.

Goggles or not, Grant was a part of some of the most memorable teams in league history. He was a physical presence for the Chicago Bulls in the early 1990’s, and served as a reliable power forward for strong Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers teams later in his career.


Kurt Rambis

As if the 1980’s Lakers teams didn’t have enough players wearing goggles with Abdul-Jabbar and Worthy, power forward Kurt Rambis also rolled with sports glasses. There was only one minor detail; Rambis wore his actual glasses during the game, with frames that could be mistaken for a professor’s.

Even though most people would deem that to be very risky, Rambis successfully deployed his glasses throughout a 14 year NBA career. He was a part of four title teams.


Buck Williams

Millennials might remember Buck Williams parked on the bench of some successful New York Knicks teams during the twilight of his career in the late 1990’s. However, he was a completely different player in his earlier days.

Williams came in and proved his worth as a scorer right away with the New Jersey Nets. He was named to the All Star team in three out of his first five seasons, and averaged over 16 points per game in eight campaigns with the Nets.


Reggie Jackson

It’s pretty funny that the NBA’s version of Reggie Jackson, as well as the MLB Hall of Famer by the same name both donned eyewear in their respective sports. The NBA’s Reggie Jackson decided to wear goggles after getting his eye scratched in a game against the Phoenix Suns in 2021.

Jackson has bounced around the league a little bit, but has always been viewed as someone who can get hot in a hurry. He’s hoping to help the Denver Nuggets make a deep run in the playoffs this spring.


Antoine Carr

Except for one outlier season with the Sacramento Kings, Antoine Carr was a player who was known for coming off the bench and knocking down 15 foot jump shots. He may be most remembered for his role on a couple of Utah Jazz teams that were denied from winning a title thanks to the exploits of Michael Jordan.

Carr played in the league for 16 years, with six different teams. He has career averages of nine points and three rebounds per game.


Wendell Carter Jr.

The next generation of spectacle-wearing players is in good hands, as Orlando Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. appears to be dedicated to the look. He suffered an eye abrasion last season against the Brooklyn Nets, which prompted the young player to increase the level of protection in that area.

Carter was a lottery pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, before being traded to the Magic in the Nikola Vucevic deal. He’s averaged about 15 points per game in the last two seasons with Orlando.


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Andrew Pistone

Andrew has gravitated towards basketball ever since he was a child. Whether it was spending hours in his parents' backyard practicing shots from various angles, participating in spirited CYO games, or playing pickup at the park, he has always had an affinity for the sport. That passion for the game persisted as he got older, playing at the high school level, and coaching via instructional programs that promoted fundamental skill development.