D’Amato’s ‘Mullet’ Brings Online Fame to Northern Essex Community College Basketball Player

(Courtesy screenshot.)

It used to be, as the old Clairol commercial goes, that “only your hairdresser knows for sure.” Northern Essex Community College Knights basketball player Matthew D’Amato has turned that notion, um, on its head.

College alum Andrew Comeau, who contributes to the popular @ballislife social media accounts, took a video of D’Amato’s distinctive ‘do during a Nov. 3 game. After obtaining permission to share it, the video went viral online Monday night.

“I had no idea the video would blow up the way it did. [He] told me it had a chance of making it on their Twitter, but I thought it was a long shot,” said D’Amato. “Next thing I know, it’s on their Twitter and Instagram where they have millions of followers.” ESPN’s SportsCenter picked it up and shared with its 26.37 million Instagram followers, dubbing D’Amato the “Mullet Mamba” in the process.

D’Amato is from Peabody and went to Salem State to play basketball in 2017. While he made the team his second year, he didn’t see much playing time. He left school to work full-time, but found himself with time on his hands after the pandemic hit. “I stopped working and there was nothing to do.  I felt like I didn’t have a purpose. I decided I wanted to go back to school to continue my education and maybe play basketball again. In order to do that, my mindset had to change, along with my hairstyle,” he said.

College basketball coach Darren Stratton helped him enroll as a Liberal Arts major and secure a spot on the team. Like many, D’Amato’s hair grew out in the aftermath of the pandemic. He said he and his barber “…both thought a mullet would look cool.

The story was featured on Snapchat and shared hundreds of times on Twitter and Instagram. SportsCenter’s post has 330,000 likes and 3,600 comments. D’Amato said, “I was and still am in shock.  I got mixed responses when I asked people how they felt about the mullet. I never knew it could get the attention it’s getting right now.”

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