10/02/2014 06:02 EDT | Updated 12/02/2014 05:59 EST

What’s the deal with LeBron’s hair?

As one of the world’s most famous (and interesting) athletes, it’s hard for LeBron James to do anything quietly.

The coverage of his free agency this summer bordered on absurd, with fans and reporters tracking everything from flight paths, moving trucks and website colour palettes in hopes of unearthing clues about which NBA team he’d pick.

After LeBron announced his return to Cleveland, he suddenly looked noticeably slimmer.

That started a flurry of speculation about the reasons for the weight loss. Did he want to play a different position? Was he hurt? Sick?

LeBron later revealed that he’d tried a new diet (“No carbs, no sugar, no dairy, no refined sugar. No nothing. Meat, fish, veggies, fruit,” he told CNN) as a summer “challenge” that had “nothing to do with basketball.”

Case closed. Now onto the next thing: what’s with his hair?

Before I go on: I'm not trying to be mean here. I am bald. Very bald. Since I was, like, 20. Maybe earlier but it took me a while to admit it. I also admire LeBron. Love how he plays and how he seized power from the NBA's owners and executives.

In spite of (maybe because of) those things, I can't help noticing LeBron’s hairline has been receding for years, and fans have noticed him trying to keep up (and cover up) by altering his headband angle.

Possibly aware of the snickering, LeBron switched to an extra-wide headband. Check out the difference between his and the standard model sported here by Paul Pierce:

Curiously, LeBron, who’s 29 years old, has never tried shaving his head — a look that has become increasingly mainstream since Michael Jordan (a hero on the order of Larry David to those of us in the bald community) fired his hair in the early ‘90s.

But has LeBron tried the opposite of shaving his head? Last month Deadspin noted that his hair looked noticeably fuller at promotional appearances, speculating that he’d had hair plugs installed.

But, a few weeks later, Deadspin pointed to new photos showing LeBron’s hair looking thinner than ever.

So what happened? Were the earlier pics just an illusion? Weird lighting? Did LeBron’s body reject a hair transplant?

Who knows. Let’s just hope we’re not headed for this: