Jordan never hit the court without his UNC trunks under his Bulls uniform. And Boggs ate chicken before every game. MF explains why your favorite pro athletes practice the superstitious rituals they do.
NHL players get intensely superstitious during the playoffs, constantly growing out their beards until they hoist the Cup, or get eliminated. By the time the Stanley Cup Finals roll around, it can look more like a game between a couple rugged lumberjack companies than a game to decide the NHL championship. The New York Islanders are credited with starting the tradition in the early 1980s, and the fact that they took four straight Cups while exhibiting this behavior definitely helped the idea stick around. Of course, most players don’t put faith in their beards to bring them luck, but many still like the tradition for purposes of team unity and focus. Players in other sports have been known to grow playoff beards as well – recently, LeBron James has done it with the Miami Heat, and San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson and teammate Sergio Romo grew out huge beards during the 2010 MLB playoffs – leading fans to rally behind the slogan “Fear the Beards” before the team eventually won the World Series.