If you’re not hip to the story of the Mavericks’ 27-year-old rookie, Bernard James, then you absolutely must read Jonathan Abrams’ Grantland profile of the military veteran turned professional basketball player. From high school dropout to Iraq and Afghanistan to junior college national champion to Florida State University to the NBA draft, it’s an incredible story and it’s impossible to pick the good parts since the whole thing is the good parts.

That being said, there is one important anecdote that we all need to be aware of heading in to the NBA season. It regards a nickname that might change the power structure of nicknames in the NBA.

One day, Staff Sergeant Rob Grey, a regular running mate of James’s, witnessed the best basketball play he has ever seen. James lost the ball and a scrum ensued. Out of nowhere, he emerged from the crowd with the ball and delivered a two-handed, rim-rattling dunk. “He was literally the equivalent of Shaq in the military,” Grey said. “There was nothing anybody could do.”

Even though he’s only listed at 6-foot-10, 240 pounds, wouldn’t “Shaq of the Military” or “Military Shaq” or something that combines the fact that he’s both a war veteran and a huge, fierce human instantly be one of the best nicknames in the league? It makes your D-Wills and your LMAs and your Flashes look so sissy in comparison. Like who cares about comic books when there is a guy who came from the Air Force and just likes dunking all over the place? It would be awesome. There aren’t many better combinations than paying respect for military service while giving a favorable comparison to an NBA legend.

Sure, there’s a worry that this nickname ends up being a curse, like when Gary Trent was “The Shaq of the MAC,” but it’s still worth it for the time being. If the guy can go from serving three tours overseas to dunking in the NBA, the least we could do is hook him up with a wonderful moniker right when he enters the league. (It is literally the least we could do. There is nothing less than a blog nickname.) And hey, it’s certainly better than “Lomax” or whatever this idiot came up with.

So yeah, “The Shaq of the Military” — I can work with that. Considering the real Shaq comes from a military family, I think he’d be fine with it too. Now go read about Bernard James. You’ll be happy you did.

Comments (9)

  1. Hey wait, I thought that his obvious all-world nickname would be “BJ”

    “BJ blows by the competition!”

    “BJ penetrates the defense!”

    “BJ starts soft, but he goes hard he gets going.”

    Ok, I’ll stop now.

  2. I figured since every good nickname has a little alliteration then Sergeant Shaq would be the obvious choice?

  3. “Shaq-o-war”

    “LeBern James”

    “Big” Barney James

    “The Nard Dog”

    “Private Bernie”

    “Return of the Admiral”

  4. some Mavs fans have already dubbed him ‘Captain America’. i can dig it.

  5. Captain BJ

    Captain Mav

    James the great

  6. Really? US military love from up north? That is our problem, we don’t need Canadians falling for that BS too. Either way, hope he does great. Go Mavs!

  7. BJ Armystrong is a good TBJ pseudonym.

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