The Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets matched up on Friday night at the Barclays Center. The game featured two of the highest-profile teams in the league, but that isn't the reason people got excited about the matchup.
Nickname uniforms are here!
Both Brooklyn and Miami sported uniforms with the traditional surname replaced with a catchy nickname.
The rosters, if you please.
Ray Allen: "J. Shuttlesworth"
Chris Andersen: "Birdman"
Joel Anthony: "Doc"
Shane Battier: "Battle"
Michael Beasley: "B Easy"
Chris Bosh: "CB"
Mario Chalmers: "Rio"
Norris Cole: "Cole Train"
Udonis Haslem: "UD"
LeBron James: "King James"
James Jones: "JJ"
Rashard Lewis: "Sweet Lew"
Roger Mason Jr.: "MoneyMase"
Greg Oden: "G.O."
Dwyane Wade: "D.Wade"
Alan Anderson: "Double"
Andray Blatche: "Dray Live"
Reggie Evans: "Joker"
Kevin Garnett: "The Big Ticket"
Joe Johnson: "JJ"
Andrei Kirilenko: "Кириленко"
Shaun Livingston: "S Dot"
Brook Lopez: "Brooklyn"
Paul Pierce: "Truth"
Mason Plumlee: "Plums"
Tornike Shengelia: "Tokomotiv"
Tyshawn Taylor: "Tee_Y"
Mirza Teletovic: "MT3"
Jason Terry: "Jet"
Deron Williams: "D-Will"
D-Will? D.Wade? JJ? The other JJ? Some of these nicknames are pretty weak, and Twitter took notice.
Many fans and writers were looking for better nicknames.
The biggest news was the return of film star Jesus Shuttlesworth, whose spirit once again inhabited the body of Miami's Ray Allen. Allen's director in the 1998 film He Got Game, Spike Lee, has reportedly been in talks to make a sequel. Whatever the case, Lee certainly looked excited to see his old pal take the court again.
Per ESPN and Sports Illustrated's Brian Mahoney:
Does Spike Lee understand that Jesus Shuttlesworth isn't a real person?
Per Mahoney, Allen was more interested using Shuttlesworth's first name on his jersey, but the NBA intervened:
Nickname Night could have included more than just movies. Not one, but two members of the Heat lost their battle to wear superhero nicknames. According to Deadspin, Shane Battier wanted to wear a "Batman" jersey, but that would have been a trademark violation. Battier's teammate, Dwyane Wade, would have also had trouble if he chose to use the nickname he is most closely associated with.
Per Turner Sports' Ethan J. Skolnick:
Neither Wade nor Battier played in the game, but at least Battier tried to have a little bit of fun on this rare occasion.
Brooklyn big Mason Plumlee also ran into trademark trouble—this time, courtesy of a rapper.
Per Andrew Keh of The New York Times:
And so a nation of disappointed basketball fans lament the fact that they missed their chance to see an NBA player with a dollar sign on his jersey. "Plums" is still a pretty cool nickname; perhaps Plumlee should start using it more often.
And then there are the nickname problems that are completely inexplicable. Joe Johnson has no idea why his nickname was turned down in favor of the bland, generic "JJ."
There are two JJ's facing off tonight, with Brooklyn's Johnson facing Miami's James Jones. Perhaps it should be "Tippy Toe Joe" vs. "Tippy Toe James" instead.
Heat forward Michael Beasley went with "B Easy," much to the chagrin of fans who wanted him to use his Internet nickname.
Of all these players, perhaps none have a stronger association with his own nickname than Chris "Birdman" Andersen. He might be the one player in the NBA whose nickname is more well-known than his actual name.
Even ESPN announcers Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy got into the act, holding up their own personalized nickname jerseys.
Per SB Nation:
Jeff Van Gundy in a Heat jersey? Millions of Knicks fans just threw up in their mouths.
Other NBA teams, not content to cede the spotlight, are also tried to get into the act. Here is the Portland Trail Blazers' best attempt.
The Nets won the game in double-overtime, 104-95.