A specter is haunting the NBA—the specter of stars adopting new nicknames.
Now that he's getting on in years, Dwyane Wade is not satisfied with "Flash." He wants to be known as "WOW," which is both what you repeatedly say when you watch him play and an acronym signifying "Way of Wade."
The new name also serves as a blatant marketing ploy.
"Way of Wade" is the slogan for the new campaign from Li-Ning shoes. The Player Formerly Known as Flash is the only prominent NBA endorser for the Chinese athletic company, with Jose Calderon and Evan Turner as its next biggest names.
Li-Ning has also pushed "WAYOFWADE" as a Twitter hashtag, much like Nike pushed "COUNTONKOBE" for Kobe Bryant's new System 8 shoes, though the latter has had considerably more success.
Speaking of Kobe, he's one of the very few cases of a good self-created nickname. The Black Mamba is a great moniker, but Bryant is not satisfied with that. He tweeted in mid-March:
Omg . My man just gave me a new nickname and I love it! Ha #vino— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) March 1, 2013
OK. Vino means wine, and most wines get better with age. That handle stands to reason, as the 17-year veteran is averaging more than 27 points and nearly six assists per game. He's shooting 46.8 percent from the field, up from 43 percent last season. That is certainly better.
He subsequently tweeted, "E=mc2 = #Vino," perhaps to shed some light on "Vino," but I have no idea what that formula means. It's all relative?
I'll allow Kobe "Vino," as he's aging better than a '97 Napa Valley red, but Wade has to come up with something better than his own shoe company's slogan for his new campaign. Or just stick to Flash!
It's time to give updated nicknames to some of the NBA's stars before someone else comes along and ruins it.