Iconic Eyewear in American Sports History
Sports eye safety is no joke. That’s why, even when scores of professional athletes are getting eye surgeries like LASIK so that they can take the field with perfect vision, old-fashioned eyeglasses are a common sight in the world of sports. At Eye Centers of Florida, we appreciate that professional athletes past and present are setting a great example for the next generation and protecting their eyes when they’re in the game. Here are four iconic pairs of glasses and some background on the legends who wore them.
Baseball: Eric Gagne
One of the most feared — and accomplished — closing pitchers of all time, Eric Gagne’s safety glasses certainly gave him a signature look. His burly frame paired well with a goatee and an iconic pair of clunky-yet-effective safety goggles, showing once and for all that a pair of frames can be as great as the person wearing them. Maybe those goggles had something to do with his jaw-dropping, 84-game run without giving up a single lead.
Basketball: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
You don’t get to the top of your game without a little practicality. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has long been known as a legend of the hardcourt, but his signature goggles made him even more memorable. Armed with the unconventional — but deadly accurate — skyhook shot, Abdul-Jabbar said that early in his career he was poked in the eyes too often to tolerate. This comes as no surprise, with basketball being the leading cause of sports-related eye injuries.
There’s no telling whether his iconic frames contributed to his Hall of Fame career, but this much is true: when you think about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, his goggles are a non-negotiable part of the image you have in your head.
Cycling: Greg LeMond
Greg LeMond is notable for a few reasons: his 3 Tour de France wins, his ability to reach the top of a sport without doping while his peers all fell victim to the scandals, and his sleek Oakley shades. While teammates Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong were stripped of their titles in front page fashion, LeMond became a shining example of pure, natural performance, and his glasses helped him looked great doing it.
Volleyball: Misty May-Treanor
In a sport where sunglasses are extremely common, the most iconic shades naturally belong to the most skilled players in the history of the sport. Misty May-Treanor and Kerry Walsh-Jennings shared 3 Olympic Gold Medal wins between 2004 and 2012, and each time, they did so donning stylish sunglasses. People may be surprised to hear that sun protection wasn’t the only priority, however. May-Treanor said that her frames doubled as protection against corneal scratches from the sand.
Follow in the Steps of Legends & Protect Your Eyes!
It just goes to show that even at the highest levels of global competition, vision and eye protection is just as important as ever. At Eye Centers of Florida, we carry safety, sports, and sun-protective eyewear for the entire family. Stop into one of our 11 convenient locations throughout Southwest Florida today!