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    It's Time We Talk About Leonardo DiCaprio's Random-Ass Hats

    A completely unnecessarily deep dive into Leo's favorite fashion accessory.

    This past weekend the internet lost its collective shit when Leonardo DiCaprio was spotted with Rihanna in the crowd at Coachella.

    Jesse Grant / Getty

    The sighting reignited speculation surrounding a long-rumored romance between the Academy Award winner and the pop star. But we're not here to talk about love...

    Jesse Grant / Getty

    We're here to talk about something much more important β€” DiCaprio's incredibly random college baseball hat collection.

    Jesse Grant / Getty

    Over the course of the past few years, DiCaprio seemed to shift away from his trademarked baseball hat and courtside Lakers seats in favor of a newsboy cap and tennis and soccer matches.

    Julian Finney / Getty, Thomas Coex / AFP / Getty, Kenzo Tribouillard / AFP / Getty, Matthew Stockman / Getty, Franck Fife / AFP / Getty, Cindy Ord / Getty Images for Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Yoshikazu Tsuno / AFP / Getty, Andrew Barton

    But this month Leo's perplexing hat collection has made a couple of high-profile appearances β€” from his Michigan hat at Coachella to his Cal hat at an Islanders game in Brooklyn β€” and it got me wondering again. Why?

    Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

    Needless to say, there are plenty of questions that NEED to be asked.

    1. Why the obsession with random college hats?

    2. How many hats of random college teams does Leo have?

    3. Are they haphazardly strewn about his plethora of mansions and yachts or beautifully showcased in a magnificent hat room?

    4. And why does he almost exclusively wear Zephyr hats? (Honestly, no one wears Zephyr hats!)

    5. Did Zephyr just send him every college hat they ever made or does he buy them like a normal person?

    6. Does he own stock in Zephyr?

    7. Does he like ANY of these teams?

    8. WHY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!??!?!


    So I decided to comb through thousands upon thousands of photos to see how Leo's strange college hat collection has evolved through the years to try and gain some insight or understanding.

    1994: Colorado State University

    Dave Allocca / The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty

    Weird Level: 10/10

    Possible Explanation: This is the first known appearance of Leo's random hat collection and arguably the most perplexing. Colorado State University?! No one is a casual fan of Colorado State. I checked the filming locations of everything he shot within two years of this photo and nothing took place in Colorado. I checked their notable alumni and couldn't find a connection. I'm gonna guess he found it at a thrift store.

    *Also look at the brim of the cap. It's possibly the worst curve I've ever seen. It makes me cringe. However, it makes sense that he loves Zephyr's hats because the brim is pre-curved.

    2000: University of Pittsburgh

    Vince Bucci / AFP / Getty Images

    Weird Level: 8/10

    Possible Explanation: At this point he's transitioned to the Zephyr, hats which become his trademark look. The Pittsburgh hat is pretty goddamn random. As far as I can tell, he's never filmed a movie in the Steel City. My guess is he thought the panther looked pretty fierce.

    2004: California State University, Long Beach

    Vince Bucci / Getty Images

    Weird Level: 3/10

    Possible Explanation: This hat makes perfect sense. Leo grew up in Hollywood and never went to college, but that doesn't mean he can't rep his state's fine education institutions. Long Beach State's baseball team is also known as the Dirtbags, which I'm sure he got a kick out of.

    2006: St. John's University

    Denise Truscello / WireImage

    Weird Level: 5/10

    Possible Explanation: As an actor, DiCaprio obviously spends a lot of time in New York City, and if he's going to pick up a hat of any team in the area, the Red Storm make the most sense β€” even if their basketball team was terrible around the time this photo was taken.

    2006: University of California, Berkeley

    Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

    Weird Level: 1/10

    Possible Explanation: This makes total sense. He's from California! It says "Cal" on the hat! The only reason I didn't give this a 0/10 is because Berkeley is a five-and-a-half-hour drive north β€” but I'm nitpicking here.

    2007: Florida State Seminoles

    Koichi Kamoshida / Getty Images

    Weird Level: 7/10

    Possible Explanation: Florida State generally has been known for their football team, but they were pretty mediocre around 2007, so this hat doesn't make much sense either. However, Florida State gear has always been very popular, so it's nowhere near the strangest thing to appear on Leo's head.

    2008: Louisville Cardinals

    Harry How / Getty Images

    Weird Level: 5/10

    Possible Explanation: I firmly believe he saw this hat and said, "Hey, it has the letter 'L' like Leonardo! That's me! I gotta have it."

    2009: Arizona State Sun Devils

    Noel Vasquez / Getty Images

    Weird Level: 6/10

    Possible Explanation: Arizona State is known as a party school. Leonardo DiCaprio is known as a party person. So really, it's a match made in heaven.

    2009: University of Connecticut

    Matrix / Matrix /

    Weird Level: 7/10

    Possible Explanation: UConn basketball was actually very good in 2009. They went to the Final Four and were led by future first-round draft picks Hasheem Thabeet and Kemba Walker. So this hat was actually topical β€” whether he was trying to be or not!

    2009: Virginia Commonwealth University

    Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

    Weird Level: 8/10

    Possible Explanation: Leo was ahead of the curve with this one. VCU made the NCAA tournament in 2009, but they were by no means a household name. A couple years later, the mid-major school shocked the college basketball world by making the Final Four. Leo was probably like, "Told ya so."

    2009: UCLA Bruins

    Koichi Kamoshida / Getty Images

    Weird Level: 0/10

    Possible Explanation: Born and raised in Los Angeles. No-brainer. This hat makes the most sense BY FAR.

    2009: University of Rhode Island

    Noel Vasquez / Getty Images

    Weird Level: 7/10

    Possible Explanation: Former Rhode Island Ram Lamar Odom was a key contributor to the 2009 NBA Champion L.A. Lakers, which could explain DiCaprio's hat choice. However, Odom only played at URI for one season and I find it hard to believe DiCaprio chose this hat in support of the Lakers forward. So either he is an very well-informed celebrity fan or this is an amazing coincidence.

    2009: California State University, Fullerton

    Revolver / Revolver /

    Weird Level: 3/10

    Possible Explanation: (see: California State University, Long Beach)

    2009: Michigan Wolverines

    Gabriel Bouys / AFP / Getty Images

    Weird Level: 6/10

    Possible Explanation: The Michigan logo has a very simple and timeless look, which seems to be something DiCaprio gravitates toward. They also have one of the largest fanbases in college sports.

    2009: Wichita State University

    Gabriel Bouys / AFP / Getty Images

    Weird Level: 8/10

    Possible Explanation: Kansas? Really? Wichita's basketball program hadn't taken off yet at this point, so I'm guessing he told everyone the "W" stood for winner. Amazingly, he was ahead of the curve here as well, because three years later the Shockers went to the Final Four.

    2009: Ohio State University

    Matrix / Matrix/Flynet

    Weird Level: 6/10

    Possible Explanation: Ohio State AND Michigan! Who does this guy think he is? This is a bold move, and I hope he did it to keep both fanbases on their toes.

    2009: Florida Atlantic University

    Noel Vasquez / Getty Images

    Weird Level: 9/10

    Possible Explanation: My only guess is he was visiting some rich friends in Boca Raton playing some bocce when it started raining and he was near the college bookstore and he picked up the hat.

    2009: Washington State University

    Enfoque / Enfoque/Flynet

    Weird Level: 8/10

    Possible Explanation: The only reason I didn't give this a 9 or 10 is because Wazzu is at least located on the West Coast, but other than that there's no logical reason for him wearing the Cougars' hat β€” let alone in Ibiza.

    2009: Grambling State University

    Noel Vasquez / Getty Images

    Weird Level: 10/10

    Possible Explanation: Grambling State University is a historically black college in Northern Louisiana. They're well known for their marching band and their long-running football rivalry with Southern University. I have no idea why DiCaprio has this hat.

    2010: University of California, Irvine

    Jun Sato / WireImage

    Weird Level: 3/10

    Possible Explanation: (see: California State University, Fullerton)

    2010: University of South Carolina

    Michael Buckner / Getty Images

    Weird Level: 8/10

    Possible Explanation: He thinks the nickname "Gamecocks" is hilarious and chuckles anytime someone says "Go Cocks!"

    2010: West Virginia Mountaineers

    Noel Vasquez / Getty Images

    Weird Level: 4/10

    Possible Explanation: I don't know why, but the West Virginia suits Leo. I could see him trying it on and saying, "Yep, this speaks to me."

    2011: Oregon State University

    Ds / DS/Rocstar / Ruano /

    Weird Level: 8/10

    Possible Explanation: (see: Washington State University, but replace "Ibiza" with Coachella)

    2011: Auburn University

    @brianhorne8 / / Via

    Weird Level: 4/10

    Possibly Explanation: This picture was taken after Auburn won the BCS National Championship. So it's not that crazy at all to see him wearing this hat. However, the first time he was spotted wearing the hat was the summer of 2010 in South Africa β€” BEFORE Cam Newton took the Tigers on their improbable run toward the National Championship. The Auburn hat has remained in Leo's rotation β€” popping up again in 2013 riding a CitiBike in NYC, and 2015 at Coachella

    2011: Rice University

    Harry How / Getty Images

    Weird Level: 9/10

    Possible Explanation: Rice is an excellent academic school located in Houston. They also traditionally have a very good baseball team. The "R" on the hat is really cool too.

    2011: Xavier University

    Oceanic Media Group / Oceanic Media Group /

    Weird Level: 9/10

    Possible Explanation: Xavier is a Jesuit school located in Cincinnati, Ohio. They typically have a solid basketball team, and they advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2011. Today, they count Bill Murray among their famous fans, but he has a reason β€” his son is an assistant coach. To make matters even stranger, Leo was wearing this in Australia while filming The Great Gatsby.

    2011: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

    Andreas Rentz / Getty Images

    Weird Level: 4/10

    Possible Explanation: There's nothing remotely surprising about DiCaprio wearing a Notre Dame hat. He doesn't need an explanation. Notre Dame merchandise is everywhere.

    2012: University of Miami

    Fameflynet Pictures / FAMEFLYNET PICTURES

    Weird Level: 6/10

    Possible Explanation: South Beach is in Miami. Models are in South Beach. Leo enjoys going to Miami.

    2013: Texas Tech University


    Weird Level: 9/10

    Possible Explanation: Of all the large universities in the Lone Star State, Texas Tech is probably the strangest for Leo to pick. I'm starting to believe he simply likes black hats.

    2015: University of Michigan

    Terma / Terma Bruce / FAMEFLYNET PICTURES

    Weird Level: 7/10

    Possibly Explanation: OK, this is a game changer. Throughout all my research only Michigan and Cal had two different hats. It makes sense for Cal, but Michigan? Is there something here? Is Leo possibly a Wolverines fan? I mean, this IS the only alternate logo hat I've seen from any school.

    2016: University of Iowa


    Weird Level: 9/10

    Possibly Explanation: He's applying to the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He likes the color black.

    What I learned after digging through thousands of Leonardo DiCaprio photos searching for pictures of him wearing college hats:

    1. He likes to wear hats.

    2. He prefers the brim of his fitted hats pre-curved.

    3. He like to represent the California public college education system.

    4. He could possibly like the Michigan Wolverines.

    5. He might have supernatural powers to predict successful teams (e.g., VCU, Wichita State, and Auburn)

    6. He likes black hats.

    7. He likes blue hats.

    8. Sometimes he likes green hats.

    9. I wasted a fuck-ton of time searching for a reason that probably doesn't exist.


    In light of Facebook user Bobby Tomlinson pointing out that former University of Rhode Island star Lamar Odom was a member of the 2009 Los Angeles Lakers, I changed the entry and adjusted the "Weird Level" for DiCaprio's URI hat.


    Zephyr Hats reached out on Twitter to set the record straight and answer all of my questions regarding DiCaprio's mysterious hat collection.


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