You might think the greatest honor an NBA player can receive is either a Most Valuable Player award (single season) or enshrinement in the Hall of Fame (career). And yeah, those are great, but the fact of the matter is that 29 different players have won an MVP and there are 152 players in the Hall of Fame. Both of those are hallmark achievements, no doubt, but when push comes to shove the club isn’t quite as exclusive as you think.

No, my friends, there are greater accolades a player can receive, but the circumstances have to be just right. Read this and you’ll know what I mean. From News9.com:

When the Thunder won the Western Conference Championship, it was a big deal here in Oklahoma City. That night was also a big deal out at the zoo: a new red panda was born.

Since the red panda was born on such a big night they gave her a big name. You can call her KayDee.

Although she may not be the most popular K.D. in the city, one look at this little face and she will may very well become a close second.

“She was born the night the Thunder won the Western Conference Championship so as a team we thought it was an appropriate name to have something Thunder related and KayDee just seemed to work,” said Chrislyn Newton, the zookeeper who works closest with the Red Pandas.

I am not exactly sure where on the list of career triumphs having one of the cutest animals in all of nature named after you falls, but I’d imagine it’s pretty high. Just guessing, I’d put it behind a statue but significantly ahead of some family naming their child after a player and the player never knowing about it. How many NBA players do you know with zoo animals named after them? Probably not very many. And how many of those very few are animals that everyone sees and goes “Holy smokes, that thing is cute whatever it is?” Even less, I am guessing.

Of course, you have to wonder if there are other animals at this zoo named for other players on the Thunder. Is there an ornery turtle there named Russell? A bearded dragon named James? A very wise but very slow elephant with a particularly angry disposition called Perk? The possibilities are endless.

(via Royce Young)