Rem Bakamus took one last look at his long locks in the mirror.
His hair, which fell just below his shoulders, was now fixed up in six separate ponytails prepared for a long-awaited trim.
“You ready?” the barber, Kat Henderson, asked.
“Yeah,” Bakamus said. “Go for it.”
Henderson took the scissors up to the first ponytail and didn’t give Gonzaga’s fifth-year senior a chance to change his mind. She quickly snipped away at one of the roughly 7-inch long ponytails in the back of Bakamus’ head.
“Can I hold it?” Bakamus asked after the section of hair was completely cut off.
He took the ponytail from Henderson and examined it in his hands.
“That’s really cool,” Bakamus said.
It had been well more than two years since Bakamus, who served as a reserve guard in his final season for the Gonzaga basketball team this season, had cut his hair. He started growing out his hair with some of his teammates in 2015 during Gonzaga’s second run to the Elite Eight.
Several of the Zags dropped off from the pact after that season, but Bakamus stayed clear of any barber shop and allowed his locks to keep growing.
“My plan all along was just to grow it until I could put it up in a bun,” Bakamus said. “I like putting it up in a bun.”
In the 2015-2016 season, Bakamus’ hair got long enough to finally tie it up into a bun. This year, he kept his hair tied high on his head, mimicking the popular “man bun” that took the nation by storm in the last few years.
Bakamus said in February before Senior Night inside the Kennel that his well-known bun wasn’t going anywhere. He feared that changing his ’do midseason could jinx Gonzaga’s historic winning streak. At that time, the Zags were undefeated in the regular season and were No. 1 in the AP Top 25 poll.
As the Zags progressed through the NCAA Tournament before eventually falling to North Carolina in the championship game, Bakamus kept the long-hair look.
But on Tuesday, Bakamus finally decided to put an end to the bun that Gonzaga fans have come to know and love.
Within 45 minutes, clumps of hair scattered the floor surround Bakamus’ barber chair inside The Barbers, a shop owned by ex-Zag and former NBA player Dan Dickau.
Six ponytails eventually made their way onto the counter in front of Bakamus. He grabbed one again and held it up to the side of his head.
“It’s weird to me that this was attached at some point,” Bakamus said. “It’s weird not having hair right now.”
The guard said he liked his new look – much shorter with a part on the side – but it would take some getting used to.
With a whole new look comes all new rules of maintenance that Bakamus hasn’t had to think about for a few years. He realized a shorter cut means getting into the barber shop at least once a month, buying styling products and having to style his hair daily instead of just tying it up in an elastic.
“I’m going to start watching YouTube tutorials on how to style my hair,” Bakamus said.
Bakamus was joined by a couple of friends, his girlfriend and Dickau at the barber shop. He only mentioned the haircut on Twitter and to his friends who live in his hometown of Longview, Washington, via Snapchat.
He even forgot to tell his parents about his new ’do until halfway through his haircut. He grabbed his phone in between snips and Facetimed his parents, Bill and Cathy, in Longview to break the news.
Bakamus’ locks won’t be thrown away and forgotten. He plans to donate his hair to Wigs for Kids, a nonprofit organization that has created wigs for children with health issues since the 1980s.
”Hopefully, somebody wants my hair,” Bakamus said.
“I bet someone is going to get a stellar wig out of this,” Henderson assured him.
After all, that soon-to-be wig is more than just a cap of long wavy locks – it’s a piece of history.
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