Athletes Who Let Their Geek Flag Fly
Unfurl the capes and let slip the twelve-sided die!
Nerding out is an essential part of life. It separates us from the animals, and we all do it in one way or another.
No matter how cool you think you are, you have at least one hobby or passion you don't lead with when meeting new people. That's your nerd thing. Cherish it.
The following are athletes who embrace and celebrate their inner geek. Instead of tucking it in a corner, they trot their weird eccentricities right up to the camera and say, "Yes, I drink Mountain Dew. And I find Daedric armor both protective and slimming."
These are the athletes who let their geek flag fly, and we can only hope to reach their level of cool.
Chis Conley: Georgia Jedi
If loving Star Wars too much is cool, Chris Conley is Miles Davis.
Georgia's number one wideout has a deep, abiding love for the Force—a love which culminated in him making a tribute movie for the film series on campus in Athens.
His obsession has become common knowledge among UGA beat writers, some of whom can't help but nerd out with Conley whenever they get the chance.
Dez Bryant: COD Lover
Being a gamer is the least kind of nerdy, but let's not kid ourselves. No one is picking up girls at the bar by dropping their gamer tag score.
Jeremy Lin: The Nerdiest Handshaker
He doesn't care who sees it, Jeremy Lin throws up to the nerd glasses on national television.
He's a Harvard grad in the NBA. He has no cares to give.
Soloman Thomas: A Stanford Man
A 4-star recruit from Texas, Solomon Thomas let the world know his plans for full geek immersion when he announced he would be attending Stanford.
He pulled out a miniature Christmas tree, threw on taped-up glasses and removed all doubt concerning whether or not he cared what anyone thought.
Joe Nelson: Trekkie Pitcher
Former MLB reliever Joe Nelson became known across the MLB for the strange finger placement on his change up.
Aptly named the "Vulcan," the grip on Nelson's signature pitch is just what it sounds like—the Vulcan grip from Star Trek. He claimed he wouldn't consider himself a "Trekkie" in a 2009 interview, but said he'd jump at the chance to hang out with cast members from the show or movie.
"I keep waiting for the guest appearance," Nelson said. "If they want me to do an endorsement, or invite me to a premiere or something, I'd definitely go."
Sure. Totally not a Trekkie.
Dwyane Wade: Fashion Nerd
You know what screams "geek" more than wearing nerd glasses? Wearing lensless nerd glasses.
Dwyane Wade has perfected the art of looking like someone who spent an unhealthy amount of time staring into owl pellets during high school.
He isn't a traditional nerd, but would be the first person in the room to correct you about the shade of his outfit.
Shaquille O'Neal: Smartphone Hunter
Fact: Shaq spends around $1,000 on apps. Not appetizers. Phone apps.
The Big Aristotle (he gave himself that nerd-boy nickname) recently admitted that he's a tech geek and spends most of his time on his phone, playing deer hunting games and downloading whatever looks fun.
Again, a grand a week. Think about that the next time you're deciding whether you can afford to eat out. It's fun.
R.A. Dickey: Uncomfortably Close with the Force
R.A. Dickey's Star Wars infatuation is no secret.
The Mets pitcher owns a Star Wars onesie and wears Vader helmets. The Blue Jays pitcher probably makes green punch for parties and calls it "Dagobah Brew."
Clinton Portis: Just a Weird Guy
They don't come much stranger than Clinton Portis, folks.
I'm not even entirely sure if he belongs on this list, but I know this: the former Redskins running back is a screwball. Totally unpredictable. He would do things just to send reporters home feeling weird and less informed.
His Dolemite Jenkins impression (a stunt he pulled after an awful loss) was about as geeky as they come. I'm going to go with "Yes" to nerd on Portis. I feel like he's earned it.
Tim Duncan: Part Time Wizard
When he isn't doing Duncan-y things like killing teams softly with his boring and awesome post play, Tim Duncan likes to break out the Mountain Dew and get into some deep D&D.
Indeed, Dungeons and Dragons is one of Duncan's hobbies, and an unsurprising one at that. For further evidence regarding his nerdish tendencies, let us note that the Spurs center collects swords and has a tattoo of Merlin on his chest.
Screenshot via blogs.sacurrent.com
Brent Burns: Harry Potter Fan
"Quidditch is a lot like hockey. There's a keeper, people are being bludgeoned and you have to-"
"Brent, just stop. We get it."
Brent Burns looks like a man who wouldn't stop pummeling you until there were nothing but crimson rinds on the ice. The San Jose Sharks defenseman is one of the most inked up players in hockey, and despite every visual cue he gives off, he is a big Harry Potter fan.
Proof of his preference for butter beer and Bertie Botts lies in one of his tattoos, which shows a dragon and Harry himself flying around a stormy sky.
Russell Westbrook: Wannabe Nerd King
There's "dapper" and there's Russell Westbrook, who takes "nerd chic" and drives it over a cliff in a Smart Car.
And he stole Milton's stapler!
Paul George: Geeky Anarchist
If the NBA fashion war were a nuclear arms race, Paul George would be North Korea.
He's a wildcard, and he dresses like he's out to prove something to the world. If Wade wears a jean jacket, George will show up in a pleather button down and clown shoes.
He doesn't present a real threat to the leading NBA fashionistas, but he's not about to let them forget his presence.
Armand Fernandez-Pierre: Choir Singer, Theater Nerd and Cheerleader
He loves theater, sings in choir and can pull off a flawless herkie.
Based on these facts alone, Dallas high schooler Armand Fernandez-Pierre could be a considered a whimsical theater nerd with some acrobatic skills. The reality, however, is that he's a 330 pound defensive tackle drawing interest from UCLA and Miami.
Fernandez-Pierre played the 2013 season for the Episcopal School of Dallas, splitting time between cheer and football. He would play the first half, cheer at halftime and put the pads back on to finish out the game. He is a beast, a Renaissance man and probably the coolest high schooler alive.
Caroline Wozniacki: All-Purpose Dork
These are things the Woz chooses to do. She has a choice between cool and lame, and she chooses pocket protector every time.