Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James loses the handle on the ball while defended by Orlando Magic's Nikola Vucevic (9) and Elfried Payton at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. File photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo
May 18 (UPI) -- Phoenix Suns guard Elfrid Payton is no longer the proud owner of one of the best hairstyles in the NBA.
Payton has shed his magnificent locks. He posted a photo of himself without his long and high hair Friday on Instagram. Back in April, an Orlando barber hinted that he cut Payton's hair. He even held two large clumps of it and asked his Instagram followers who the hair belonged to. In February, that same barber posted a photo with Payton in his shop.
But on Thursday, Payton made the move official by posting his first photos sans-hair.
Payton explained the significance of his high-rise hairdo is an interview in 2014 for the Magic's website.
Phoenix Suns guard Elfrid Payton. Photo courtesy of Elfrid Payton/Instagram.
"A lot of people look at the hair and think I'm probably some kind of crazy [person], but I'm actually laid back,'' Payton said. "It's like I'm totally opposite [of the wild hair], so I guess it gives me some balance.''
He also said that in 2011 his high school teammates made a promise not to cut their hair until they won a state championship. Payton's high school squad ended up losing in the semifinals. But he kept the haircut through high school, college and through his NBA career.
"I kind of liked what [the hair] was doing,'' Payton said. "I just let it keep growing and growing. And in the years after high school, it got higher and higher and curlier and curlier. I like it.''
But the hairstyle hasn't come without its own set of challenges. On one occasion, it even got in Payton's line of vision and made him shoot an air ball.
Payton, 24, averaged 11.8 points, 6.2 assists and 5.3 rebounds in 19 games this season for the Suns. He joined the franchise in February, coming over in a trade from the Orlando Magic. Payton averaged 11.1 points, 6.4 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game in three and a half seasons with the Magic. He was the No. 10 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft out of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
He is a free agent this offseason.