Amare Stoudemire was the first NBA player plucked out of high school to win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award in 2003, and he’ll be remembered as a player wearing protective glasses.
Why does Amare Stoudemire wear glasses?
During his 15-year NBA stint, Stoudemire suffered two eye injuries. The glasses were used as an eye protection.
There are other reasons why NBA players wear eyeglasses while playing, find out what these are.
When Did Amare Stoudemire Start Wearing Goggles?
Amare Stoudemire started wearing protective glasses a month after recuperating from an eye injury during the Suns training camp in the 2008-09 season. On February 18, 2009, he got hit again on the same spot leaving him out for two months, and when Stoudemire returned to game action, he wore basketball goggles from then on.
What Caused Amare Stoudemire’s Vision Problems?
During the Suns’ training camp in the 2008-09 season, Boris Diaw accidentally poked Stoudemire in the right eye in a practice game. Stoudemire lay on the floor writhing in pain; all he could see was black. The Suns’ ophthalmologist determined a partially torn iris which is not serious.
It took a month for Stoudemire to recover, and he was wearing protective eyewear when he returned to play. However, the eyeglasses gave discomfort and affected his game, giving Stoudemire enough reason to dispose of them after seven games.
In a game against the LA Clippers on February 19, 2009, Al Thorton hit Stoudemire in the right eye. The injury required surgery and took two months to heal. When Stoudemire returned to play, the protective eyewear became a part of his basketball uniform.
What Type of Glasses Does Stoudemire Wear?
Stoudemire’s first eyewear was Oakley Sports Goggles, but it was uncomfortable. Nike got involved in preparing a customized pair. In season 2010-11, Stoudemire transferred to the Knicks wearing his Nike Visions Goggles; the pair was comfy, didn’t blur his vision, and didn’t break. The eyewear became his trademark while playing.
9 Other Notable NBA Players Who Wear Glasses
Basketball is a contact sport, and the eyes of an NBA player are at high risk of injuries. A defender’s busy hands might poke the offensive player’s eye, or a wayward elbow from a rebound scuffle might end up in the eyes of another player.
Players wear basketball goggles or glasses to protect their eyes. Other players cannot see well on the court and wear sports goggles to improve their vision. There are regular glasses and contact lenses, but they don’t provide protection.
Here are some notable NBA players, current and past, who wore protective eyewear.
1. LeBron James
In a game in 2017 featuring the Cavs against the Wizards, The King wore glasses but removed them after minutes of playing. Moisture from sweat fogs up the glasses, and it gets displaced when hit in the face.
2. Reggie Jackson
While playing for the Clippers, Reggie Jackson got jabbed in the eyes in a game against the Houston Rockets in the 2020-21 season. When he was fit to play, Reggie wore protective eyewear. He enjoyed the benefits of the goggles and never removed them when playing.
Jackson wore protective eyewear during the Denver Nuggets’ successful run to the 2023 NBA championship beating the Miami Heat (4-1).
3. Trae Young
Trae Young had an on-and-off affair with the protective eyewear. Young’s eye got injured in a 2021 game against the Pacers, and he wore goggles for some time. In a 2022 game against the Knicks, Young got nicked in the eye from a Julius Randle drive. He returned to the game wearing goggles and wore them for some games.
4. Jaylen Brown
Brown’s eyes got irritated from contact lens use, and was advised to wear prescription goggles until further notice. In a 2023 game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Brown collided with Tatum and suffered a facial fracture which caused him to miss some games.
When Brown returned, he wore a mask to protect his facial injury, which hadn’t fully healed.
5. Wendell Carter Jr.
WCJ of the Orlando Magic suffered two abrasions in his left eye and wore glasses in the game versus the Washington Wizards on November 2021. Since then, the protective eyewear has made up WCJ’s in-game outfit.
6. Kareem Abdul Jabbar
Kareem’s patented sky hook was a deadly offensive weapon, like Steph Curry’s accurate treys. Defenders tried swatting the ball to prevent him from scoring. In the process, Kareem suffered two eye injuries in 1968 and 1974. From then on, Kareem wore basketball goggles to protect his eyes and became part of his image until he retired.
7. Hakeem Olajuwon
Due to the physicality of basketball, Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon decided to wear goggles in December 1990 to protect his eyes. But he felt uncomfortable and got rid of it after one quarter. A week later, he was at the receiving end of Bill Cartwright’s elbow, fracturing his eye socket, which required surgery. The Dream was out for 25 games.
The Dream played the rest of the 1990-91 season wearing goggles. His point production per game without goggles was 24.2, and his PPG dipped to 18.0 with goggles on. Olajuwon dropped the goggles completely except for a few games in 1991-92.
8. James Worthy
James Worthy was a member of the Showtime Lakers with Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Magic Johnson. After Worthy suffered a scratched cornea in a 1985 game against Utah Jazz, protective eyewear became part of his basketball outfit until retirement.
9. Dwayne Wade
Wade experiences migraines when exposed to bright lights on the court. To remedy his medical condition, Wade tried out different goggles. The Heat franchise sent photos of the eyewear to league officials for approval.
In a 2011 game against the New York Knicks, the tinted glasses Wade planned to wear were disapproved by the NBA. The league officials decided that the glasses had too much tint giving Wade a competitive advantage over his opponents since his eyes could not be seen.
The Heat guard wore less tinted eyeglasses during the game producing 34 markers, grabbing 16 boards, and five dishes outs but lost to the Knicks (93-88).
Wrapping Things Up: Why Did Amare Stoudemire Wear Goggles?
Amare Stoudemire suffered two eye injuries while playing in the NBA. The last injury was excessive; Stoudemire’s right eye was disconnected from his retina, and was in danger of getting blind. After recovering from the operation, you’ll never see Amare Stoudemire without basketball goggles while playing.
Aside from protection, protective eyewear can be customized with lenses to improve vision. Some players get migraine from the lights on the court; photochromic lenses adapt to the light setting.
Getting poked in the eye is a painful experience, but this should not be an obstacle to playing your favorite game. A good pair of sports glasses cover you, and you play basketball till you drop.
We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.