Who doesn't want to see more of Jesus Shuttlesworth?
Tonight's game between the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets will look a little different. Where you usually see the last name of each player on the back of the jersey, you'll instead see a nickname.
The Heat posted some Instagram photos of what each player will be wearing.
Jason Terry discussed how he likes the idea and how his nickname "JET" evolved.
|Heat Player||Nickname||Nets Player||Nickname|
|Ray Allen||Jesus Shuttlesworth||Andray Blatche||Dray Live|
|Chris Andersen||Birdman||Andrei Kirilenko||Кириленко|
|Joel Anthony||Doc||Alan Anderson||Double|
|Shane Battier||Battle||Brook Lopez||Brooklyn|
|Michael Beasley||B Easy||Deron Williams||D-Will|
|Chris Bosh||CB||Jason Terry||JET|
|Mario Chalmers||Rio||Joe Johnson||JJ|
|Norris Cole||Cole Train||Kevin Garnett||The Big Ticket|
|Udonis Haslem||UD||Mason Plumlee||Plums|
|LeBron James||King James||Mirza Teletovic||MT3|
|James Jones||JJ||Paul Pierce||Truth|
|Rashard Lewis||Sweet Lew||Reggie Evans||Joker|
|Roger Mason Jr.||Moneymase||Shaun Livingston||S Dot|
|Greg Oden||G.O.||Tornike Shengelia||Tokomotiv|
|Dwyane Wade||D-Wade||Tyshawn Taylor||Tee_Y|
There will likely be a fairly significant segment of fans who will be turned off by seeing something other than a player's last name on the back of his jersey. It's just another example of the "Me-First" athlete in today's sports.
Los Angeles Lakers point guard Kendall Marshall voiced his displeasure back in September.
Many will also disregard nickname jerseys as nothing more than a publicity stunt from the league in order to sell more jerseys, and to a certain extent, that's not incorrect. The NBA and the teams involved will move plenty more merchandise than they otherwise would've had this idea not been created.
But why can't this both be a marketing grab for the league and a way for players to have some fun on the court and display some personality?
Basketball is a team game, but it's also one that lends itself to elevating individual players. Unlike football, the players' faces aren't obscured by a helmet, and unlike baseball, players are part of the action on a regular basis.
For better or worse, the influence of street-ball has also served to further the more flamboyant aspect of the game.
Why not embrace some of that individuality?
And think of it this way. Are nicknames that much worse than sleeved jerseys?
It's not like having them on jerseys is anything new. Uni Watch's Paul Lukas (via ESPN) did a great job of recounting the history of jersey nicknames. While not a common occurrence, it's happened before in multiple sports. Perhaps the most famous example was Pete Maravich having "Pistol" on the back of his Atlanta Hawks and Utah Jazz jerseys.
This is an idea, much like throwback jerseys, that should be used occasionally during the season. Each team can have a "Nickname Night" that happens no more than five times a year. You wouldn't want it happening too often, or it loses the novelty, much like the McRib.