Culture

Courting Style

As NBA league play kicks off, key players and franchise staff members aren抰 the only ones getting excited about the new season. Jay Esquivel, the New York Knicks team barber, can抰 wait to get team members in his chair for his second season. Read on to hear about his time with the players卆nd what type of salon Knicks star Baron Davis would like to open.

Take us back to how this all started. How did you get involved with the Knicks?
Actually, I was blessed with this awesome opportunity by surprise. I always knew I wanted to get in good with them, and I kept telling myself, 揂ll I need is to get one guy. Then one day Knicks starting guard Allen Houston walked through the front door of my barbershop. I was intimidated at first. Then I shook it off and thought, 揑 got this.

The salon you own, 2 Perfection in Porchester, NY, isn抰 exactly in a convenient walk-in location for a player living in the city. How do you think he heard about you?
I wondered the same thing. I抦 going into my eleventh year at this spot and hadn抰 seen a player before. He told me someone in Greenwich recommended my barbershop to him, so he wanted to try it out. I did him up real nice, and he ended up coming back a few times. After a few more visits, I just came right out and said, 揑 know you and the other guys are real busy, so if you ever need me to do a house call, just let me know and I can come by.

What was it like the first time you did an on-site cut?
When Houston called me up the first time, he didn抰 have me over to his house, which I had expected. He hired me come barber the whole team卬ot just the players, but the staff and the trainers, too. I was really nervous. They called me down to the practice facility in Greensburg. I was intimidated, but they treated me like I抎 been on the team with them the whole time. They were joking around and giving me a hard time like we were old friends. Pretty soon, I was going to the practice facility twice a week.

Do they ever come into 2 Perfection?
They do, and they bring a good vibe. At the facility, it抯 a bunch of guys just joking around with each other, and they抮e all so hilarious. It抯 a real good time. When they come into the shop, that doesn抰 change much. They抮e still hilarious. It抯 almost like they抮e hanging out with my other customers. They抮e friendly and cool about giving autographs and taking pictures with people when they ask. It抯 nice to get them down there, but I love going into practice as well.

What would you say is the team抯 style preference?
They抮e real clean, very urban, typical New York-style cuts. Knicks starting guard J.R. Smith would be the only guy who really switches it up sometimes asks for something a little different. Even those guys who just shave their heads條ike Baron Davis梙ave well-groomed beards that are always sharp.

Esquivel has regularly worked with point guard Baron Davis, who is famous for consistently boasting a shaved head with a goatee groomed to facial hair perfection. We chatted with the currently injured star athlete and well-known jokester to find out what his barber shop would look like if he switched roles with Esquivel to open his own establishment.

If you were to open your own salon, what would you call it?
I抎 call it the Boom Boom Room. It would look like a gentlemen抯 lounge that would double as a bar you want to be at. But just because it抯 a barbershop doesn抰 mean I wouldn抰 service women梕veryone抯 welcome to come in and grab a drink!

What kind of drinks would you serve?
We would have everything: Jack Daniels, Patron, Vodka卐verything.

Other than the drink menu, what would be unique about your barbershop?
I would have flat screen TVs and pool tables. It would be a place you would go to just hang out. There would only be four barber chairs because I want it to feel kind of exclusive. I would never want it to get too packed.

You mentioned you抎 welcome women into the salon. What are your preferences in women抯 beauty looks?
I like women to look natural. Straight hair with no heavy duty product and makeup should match their natural skin tone卹eally minimal.

- MEGAN RUPP

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