Upgrading the Nicknames of NBA All-Stars
The NBA is full of nicknames, and for better or worse once a player gets saddled with a new monicker, it always seems to stick. It's hard to shake it even if it's just a lame initials-jersey number combination that's so prevalent today.
That being said, I'm not in the boat of people who say that nicknames in the NBA are dead.
With nicknames like Corey "Bad Porn" Maggette, Joel "Ghostface" Przybila, Shawn "The Matrix" Marion, Air Congo, AK-47 (the only acceptable name-number combo) and The Polish Hammer rolling around the league, it's an argument that just doesn't hold water.
What becomes the problem is that whenever a player comes into the league, he's immediately in need of a nickname these days. If he's anywhere near an All-Star level, we can't sleep until the guy has a nickname, making it seem forced and unnatural.
We need to start letting players sit again. Let their careers open up and then breathe a bit, at which point we can examine what we know about them and give them a nickname.
If it comes naturally, chances are it's going to be a good one.
So, in an attempt to put forth a few new nicknames, I've figured that I would share with you some new identifiers for the NBA All-Stars. Some of these have been my favorite thing to call these players for years, others are newer to me.
Rajon Rondo: Sweaters
It's something that's not talked about enough in today's NBA, but Rajon Rondo totally looks like a young version of Bill Cosby.
Don't believe me, just check out this photo of Cosby from way back in the day.
Take Rondo's face, stretch out the cheeks and nose a bit, give him a slightly taller forehead and you've got yourself a young Cosby.
In an attempt to not go too straightforward with it, I want to call Rondo "Sweaters" based on Cosby's love of sweaters. If you're not a fan of Sweaters, just go ahead and take to calling him Little Bill, and I'll be completely fine with that.
Dwyane Wade: The Disciplinarian
He was always a bit of a moody basketball player, but over the course of the past few years, he's become moodier, and turned into a but of a sullen guy on the court.
Beyond that, he's taken to not letting anybody give him any kind of crap, whether it be other players or fans. All that was exemplified when Wade seemed to have a fan tossed out of a game in Utah for his incessant heckling.
He's turning into a sourpuss, and any kind of nickname should reflect that.
Carmelo Anthony: Stay Puft
Who's looking a little bit chunky in white and is wreaking havoc all over New York City? Well, if we're talking about 1984, that would be the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. If it's 2013 you have in mind, that's gotta be Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony has always been a bit of a doughy dude, but it's always overlooked because of the fact that he's such an incredible basketball player.
Even still, it's strange to see such an athletic player coming in the form of a slightly doughy dude.
LeBron James: Video Game James
We've taken to calling LeBron James "King James" for years now, so getting his name to change now seems like the longest of long-shots.
However, I've been a fan of calling him "Video Game James" ever since his final few years with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Some of the things he's able to do on the court always seemed so unfair to the rest of the league, almost like he was a real life video game character.
Kevin Garnett: Zulu Warrior
The Boston Celtics were once run under the southern African philosophy of Ubuntu, which touches on community, brotherhood, and an "all for one, one for all" feeling of being.
It's a philosophy that is teased out of the Zulu proverb that goes, "Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngamantu" or, "I am a person through other people. My humanity is tied to yours."
Boston may not constantly pump out the Ubuntu word as much as they used to, but it's a philosophy that seems to have stuck on Kevin Garnett, as he's constantly sticking up for his teammates, doing whatever it takes to have their back, because he knows they have his back.
Kyrie Irving: Kyrie, Eleison
Few nicknames have punctuation, but this is one I heard a few months back and it's one that I can't stop saying ever since.
The phrase, "Kyrie, eleison" is an old Greek saying that translates, quite literally, to "Lord, have mercy."
I can't think of a phrase that's uttered more when watching Irving play. Every time he splits defenders, crosses over a sound-footed opponent, or just hits a cold-blooded three-pointer, I find myself shouting, "Lord have mercy!"
Jrue Holiday: The Jruth
It's cheesy, a cheap ripoff of Paul Pierce, but sue me if I can't keep myself from giggling every time I go to call Jrue Holiday "The Jruth."
To be honest, I'm sure there's something that better describes his game that could be a play on the odd spelling of his name, but the way he plays is a very true form of basketball, and he's always one to hit an important shot.
I may not be as important as Shaq is in the nickname-giving world, but I've got a special spot in my heart that shines for "The Jruth."
Chris "Cool Dad" Bosh
Regardless of the fact that his son Jackson is not yet a year old, he's ordering a few preemptive strikes, appearing in an episode of Disney Channel's Jessie and starring in a hilarious Foot Locker commercial with his boy strapped to his chest.
In the past few months, I realized something. So long as you're younger than middle school age, you've got to imagine that Bosh would be a fun dad, based solely on how strange he is.
Tyson Chandler: The Rotisserie
Most big men in the NBA can block shots. Some big men in the NBA can block shots and help out on defense when a little dude gets past his man on the perimeter.
Then there's Tyson Chandler.
Chandler is constantly moving, constantly rotating around to help out on defense, rotating out to make a jump shooter more uncomfortable, and then instantly rotating back to keep his man from back-dooring him into a bucket.
The constantly rotating Chandler can only be out-rotated by a specifically designed chicken cooking device.
Joakim Noah: The Librarian
If Joakam Noah is going to continue to put his hair up in a bun, I'm going to continue to call him a librarian until this business ends.
Not only is it the most atrocious hair in the NBA (and that's saying something, what with Kosta Koufos being in the NBA), but it's constantly distracting.
He needs to take the persona even further. Turn to shushing players after he scores on them. Or better yet, shush Carlos Boozer every once in a while. He's got to get tired of hearing him shout, "GIT DAT, JO" on every rebound coming his way.
Paul George: Madness
Paul George fancies himself a king, which would make the second king that the NBA has after LeBron James.
I'm fine with him keeping the identity of King George, but specifically if he takes on the identity of King George III, who was famously referred to as The Mad King.
There was even a movie made back in 1994 about his deterioration into madness titled The Madness of King George.
Madness. I'd say that pretty accurately describes Paul George's game.
Luol Deng: Coach's Best Friend
Luol Deng is a housebroken old dog. He's always going to be there for his team, doing whatever they need in order to bring home a win.
He'll take 20 shots if need be, he'll take four or five if that's what the team needs from him.
Beyond that, he's always going to play defense, make the right passes, and just play brilliant basketball every second he's on the court.
Even with a disciplinarian like Tom Thibodeau coaching, Luol Deng needs almost no instruction. He's going to do what his team needs, every time.
Brook Lopez: Bropez
I'm telling you right now, two-thirds of the people out there would call Brook Lopez "Bropez" if they were hanging out with him, so we might as well just get it over with.
It's not that he necessarily looks or acts "bro-ey" it's just that the name works so well.
There will be no more argument about it. Whether it's the best possible nickname to describe who he is is beside the point, Bropez just flows far too well.
Even better, if you wanted to you could call his brother, Robin Lopez, the same thing. Or if they were hanging out together and you came in the room, you could easily look up and say, "'Sup, Bropezes."
Chris Paul: Small Cannon
Apparently Chinese nicknames for basketball players are a lot cooler and more cryptic than the nicknames we have for them.
While they do refer to him as CP3, he's also called "Baby-Faced Assassin", which is hilarious, and "Small Cannon" which is absolutely phenomenal.
Apparently, the Chinese words for "cannon" and "baby" both sound something like "Paul" which would get confusing if you ask me.
Still, I'm down with Chris Paul, the Small Cannon in any context.
Kobe Bryant: Chameleon
We've seen Kobe Bryant play many different styles of basketball this season, as he's constantly changed his attack, sometimes on the fly, in order to get the best result for his team.
Whether this leads to a win or a loss has been very much up in the air, but he's done what we've asked of him, changing his colors many times all season long.
Kobe has played games where he's just played the passing game, he's been in classic Kobe shoot, Kobe score mode, and he's played a balanced, in-between games at times.
Keivn Durant: 180
I'm a big fan of "Durantula" for Kevin Durant, so I'm not so sure how well any other nickname would work out for him.
He's got the big body with the long, skinny limbs of a spider, so it makes plenty of sense to give him a spidery monicker.
However, in an attempt to describe his game, "180" doesn't do a terrible job.
The number is, of course, a nod to the 50/40/90 club that Durant seems destined to be a part of. Add up the 50 field goal percentage, 40 percent from the three-point line, and 90 percent from the free throw line and you get 180.
Blake Griffin: The GIFer
I think it's become safe to say that Blake Griffin is the league's most controversial star player on the Internet these days.
People constantly try to label him as a flopper (some would say justifiably), but we all love getting a look at every single dunk that he puts down throughout the season.
With his Internet stardom, it makes sense to throw an Internet-related nickname his way. So why not just give him the name of what he creates.
Videos are a thing of the past, and it seems that every time something amazing happens these days, it's a GIF that brings us the experience, somehow more satisfyingly.
I present to you Blake Griffin, consummate dunker and the world's most gifted GIFer.
Dwight Howard: Daisy
If Kobe Bryant is going to go around naming Steve Nash after famous literary characters, I don't see why the trend cant continue on to Dwight Howard.
Daisy is (spoiler alert) the shallow flapper-girl from The Great Gatsby who chose to marry Tom Buchanan, even after her relationship with Gatsby, who is obsessed with Daisy.
In a way, isn't this the story of the Lakers this season? Let's call Tom Mike D'Antoni, whose marriage to Dwight Howard seemed like such a safe and solid idea beforehand, but the entire time it seems like it would be more exciting and beneficial if he (Daisy) was more romantically linked to Nash (Gatsby).
Near the end, Daisy runs Myrtle, Tom Buchanan's mistress (D'Antoni's relationship with Pau Gasol) over with a car, but Gatsby takes the blame for her in the end.
Tony Parker: Rapide Rousseau
Every time Tony Parker steps on the floor it seems like I end up making some comment about how fast the dude is.
Sure, he's on the north shore of 30, but he's still got so much zip in his step that he can outrun nearly any player in the league.
Call him a French Speedy Gonzales. Actually, scratch that and just go ahead and call him "Rapide Rousseau".
Russell Westbrook: Garfield
If ever there was an NBA player who acted like a cat, it's Russell Westbrook. Sure, he can be loving and playful sometimes, but he's also going to have his moments where he's going to claw at you if you so much as try to touch him.
He's a bit of a caricature of a cat at this point, exaggerating goofy quirks and personality traits here and there, so we might as well just call him Garfield.
Throw his ears on top of his head and he even kind of looks like Garfield, sporting that scowling smile with his mischievous eyes.
Tim Duncan: Dungeon Master
Tim Duncan is the dorkiest man in the NBA. If not him, then he's right up there in Dork Mt. Rushmore alongside Gordon Hayward, who's Starcraft addiction is now well-known throughout the NBA.
Duncan is so dorky that he wanted his nickname to be "Merlin" when he was coming into the league.
I'm not going to give him a nickname that's simultaneously dorky and lame, but I will go ahead and give homage to his dorkdom nonetheless.
Timmy is a well-known Dungeons & Dragons player, so calling him the Dungeon Master both shows that he can control the game, and that he is Tim Duncan.
Zach Randolph: Leonardo
This one is incredibly simple, and it's been floating around the Internet for a while at this point.
Zach Randolph looks like a turtle, he plays for a team whose primary colors are blue and wears a blue headband.
Leonardo is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. He's part of a unit of crime-fighting turtles and he happens to wear a blue mask.
That's all there is to it, although something tells me that Randolph would be plenty capable fighting crime with a pair of katanas in his grasp.
LaMarcus Aldridge: Survivor
LaMarcus Aldridge was drafted back in 2006, just in time to avoid playing for the Portland Jail Blazers, but also just in time to play for the Trail Blazers team that was decimated by injuries.
He played alongside Brandon Roy and Greg Oden as both showed the potential to be superstars, while each watched their knees deteriorate and eventually devolve to the point where they were no longer viable players.
The only one of their top-tier players to make it out of those seasons with his NBA career alive happened to be LaMarcus Aldridge, survivor.
James Harden: Sudafed
There are few players in the league who either look constantly tired, or like they're constantly recovering from the flu more so than James Harden.
Every time I see him running around the court his body seems to be in top-notch shape, but his eyes look drowsy and his face looks droopy.
Perhaps he's just a naturally sad-faced person, but that doesn't take away from the fact that he always looks sick.
David Lee: WCW
Admittedly, this one is from the big dome of Shaquille O'Neal, but what better way to finish this bad boy up with a little shout out to Shaq.
During an episode of inside the NBA, Shaq referred to David Lee as the "WCW" or White Chris Webber, which is just hilarious.
Double-double machine, efficient scorer, and just a fun player overall. He might not be as athletic as the real Chris Webber, but I suppose that's what comes along with the territory of being the white Chris Webber.