NBA Nickname Jerseys Should Become Staple of League Schedule Every Year

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NBA Nickname Jerseys Should Become Staple of League Schedule Every Year
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

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.

For example, Ray Allen is wearing "Jesus Shuttlesworth," as a tribute to his role in He Got Game. LeBron James is using "King James," Paul Pierce is "Truth" and Deron Williams is "D-Will."

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.

Here's the full list the nicknames for both teams, via the Heat's and Nets' official websites.

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?

Would you like to see more of the nickname jerseys?

Submit Vote vote to see results

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. 

Dick Raphael/Getty Images

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.

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