There really isn't much of a difference between sports and theater. Both are dramatic, cathartic, and emotional. Practice is to rehearsal as costumes are to uniforms and the players, like actors, live for the cheering crowds. The theatrical tradition of wearing masks was started to exaggerate expression, athletes use them —well —for everything.

Whether it's for injury, allergy, intimidation, or style, these players take masquerading to a whole other level. The most prominent recent example comes from Kobe Bryant, who's ordered three masks since breaking his nose in the All-Star Game. But the history of athletes wearing masks dates back over 50 years and includes legends like Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain, and the late Pelle Lindbergh donning various forms of headgear. So, let's pull the curtain, hit the lights, and start the show: here are The 30 Most Menacing Masks in Sports History.

Tags: kobe-bryant, athlete-masks, lebron-james, rip-hamilton, oscar-robertson
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