Archive for the ‘Nicknames’ Category

Kevin Garnett is good at a lot of things. Defense, rebounding, trash talking, playing with enigmatic point guards during various stages of their career, intimidating smaller European players, screaming — you name it and Kevin Garnett has probably done in in the NBA, and done it well.

But no one can be good at literally everything when it comes to the NBA. That just wouldn’t be fair. Even Michael Jordan wasn’t a great three-point shooter. So it should come as no surprise that there is something that Kevin Garnett is bad at in this league of ours. It’s just maybe a surprise that that thing is giving nicknames to rookies.

From’s Jessica Camerato:

Fab Melo: “The Youngin. [He calls] everybody Youngin. Oh, and Melo. He calls me by my last name . . . He never calls me Fab. I don’t really care about that stuff. In Brazil, we don’t care. We call first name, last name, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t mind.”

Dionte Christmas: “He called me Temple (Christmas’ alma mater, Temple University). It was cool, it was alright. I respect it.”

Jared Sullinger: “Youngin.”

Jamar Smith: “He calls me something different every day – Young Fella, Youngin, ‘A.’ [He called me 'A' because] he thinks so fast, he’s always talking. He calls everybody all kind of names. He hasn’t called me by my first name yet. He knows my name. When we’re talking, when we’re in the locker room, he’ll be like, ‘Smith!’ But for the most part on the court, Youngin and Young Fella.”

Kris Joseph
: “Rook, Young Fella, Youngin, three names. I’m assuming he knows my name, but those are the three names he does call me.”

There are six rookies on the Celtics’ training camp roster and four of them are called “Youngin” or something like that. One is nicknamed after where he went to college and the other is “Micah Downs” who might be made-up but would still probably be called “Youngin.” That is not very good nicknaming from one of the league’s elder statesmen.

And while it might seem weird that a guy who’s been around the NBA for 17 seasons would be basically clueless about nicknames, consider what Kevin Garnett’s been called in his career — “Da Kid,” “The Big Ticket” and “KG.” Even he hasn’t had a very good nickname. It’s a vicious cycle.

In fact, it’s so vicious that the odds are that you can guess Garnett’s various nicknames for his teammates. What follows is a list of Kevin Garnett approved nicknames for his teammates, as extrapolated from his rookie monikers.

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Just the other day, Skeets and I got in to a discussion about the best nicknames of all-time. The legends were all considered (the Iceman, Cornbread, the Matrix) and the sad state of current affairs was lamented (D-Will, D-Rose, D-Wade), then finally we concluded that having a name that’s good for rhyming typically makes for some of the best nicknames (the Stilt, the Glide, the Vanilla Gorilla).

But here’s a new category we didn’t consider — players being nicknamed after 1990s sitcoms. Because apparently, that’s all the rage. From

JCF: I’ve noticed a lot of talk about Chandler Parsons nicknames of late. I saw Daryl Morey and Matt Bullard discussing that very topic via Twitter last week. What do you want to be called?

CP: Honestly, I was kind of feeling the Chandler Bang for a little bit …

JCF: I always thought that one fit the best.

CP: I like that. I hate Mad Chicken. I think that’s the corniest, most awful nickname ever. And I can’t be CP; there can only be one CP in the NBA. So I think I like Chandler Bang.

Yeah, of course. Who wouldn’t love being nicknamed after a beloved sitcom character notorious for his sarcasm? Plus, he’s got the hair for it. Could “Chandler Bang” be a more perfect nickname for Chandler Parsons?

And if he likes that nickname, then he’s going to love these.

  • Jeff “Rachel” Green, power forward for the Boston Celtics
  • David Schwingate, former journeyman shooting guard
  • Jay Tribbianio, former coach of the Toronto Raptors
  • Ramonica “Gellar” Sessions, point guard for the Charlotte Bobcats
  • Koebe Bryfayant, shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers
  • Steven Gunther, former 76ers center

I see where Chandler Parsons is coming from with this, because coming up with “Friends”-themed nicknames is pretty fun. Feel free to add yours in the comments.

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.

If you listened to our latest Olympics podcast, watched the game or read any reports, you know Kobe Bryant went bonkers in the second half of the United States’ quarterfinal win over Australia. 20 points, six threes and one awkward version of Neil Diamond’s “America” in just a half of basketball proved that when Kobe needs to turn it on against inferior competition, he still can.

It’s just a simple matter of, in Kobe’s words, “activating the Black Mamba.” Seriously, he said that. From the Los Angeles Times:

Bryant certainly needed no conscience to perform as he did in the second half after his sluggish statistics. Through the first five games, he had only 14 field goals and 15 personal fouls, and he missed his first five shots against Australia.

“I was just kind of searching for something to get me going, searching for something to kind of activate the Black Mamba,” he said.

I don’t mean to be crude, but in light of Tas’ gold medal performance last night, it has to be mentioned that “activate the Black Mamba” could be a terrible euphemism for getting a boner. It sounds like a line from Mad magazine. Now that we’ve all addressed the deadly snake in the room, let’s marvel in the fact that Kobe continues to refer to himself as “the Black Mamba,” even when it’s just in his own head.

We’ve all heard the old adage that “you can’t give yourself a nickname,” and that is still the case. However, something needs to be said for the diligence with which Kobe is pursuing this. It was four years ago that Kobe gave himself the nickname, seemingly inspired by Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” films, and he’s still trying to make it happen even though we all agree it’s silly and that you don’t really need a nickname when you’re already a one-name superstar.

The fact that it sounds like he actually calls himself “the Black Mamba” when he is just thinking about himself is even better. I imagine there’s a lot of “Oh, the Black Mamba doesn’t know where the Black Mamba left his keys” and “the Black Mamba needs to remember to brush the Black Mamba’s fangs before the Black Mamba heads to the gym” and stuff like that going on in Kobe’s head while he’s puttering around the house. And while I’m not necessarily on board with the nickname or how it came about, it’s still kind of impressive that Kobe is so devoted to it that he’ll even even call himself Black Mamba when no one is around. It’s that dedication that’s made him one of the best players ever.

Plus, and this is a total guess, I bet Kobe Bryant does snake motions all the time when he’s alone. Stuff like sitting up and wiggling side-to-side and eating ice cream by shooting his face at the cone. Don’t put it past him, he’s really in to this snake persona thing. Total Slytherin.

In 1992, the Dream Team helped set two important precedents: 1. America would be represented by its best professional, not amateur, players, and 2. Future United States men’s basketball squads would be given a moniker that rhymed with “team.” 1996 saw “The Dream Team III” win gold, 2008 brought us the “Redeem Team” and some have already dubbed this year’s web-savvy squad the “Meme Team.”

Keeping with that tradition, what follows is a list of some United States Olympic teams we’ll likely see in the coming years:

  • The Hakeem Team: A group of players who have spent the summer (between one and three hours, including lunch) working with Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon. Members will include Amar’e Stoudemire, Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and, somehow, JaVale McGee.
  • The Scalene Team: A team that runs only the triangle offense. Tensions rise when Kobe insists Phil Jackson taught the triangle as more of an isosceles.
  • The “I Have a Dream” Team: Blake Griffin, Stephen Curry, and Jason Kidd head a super team of biracial players. The back of the bus remains empty.
  • The Steam Team: In the future, Greg Stiemsma will be cloned 11 times and a team formed with his doppelgangers. This team will fail to qualify for the Olympics, but will be invoked frequently as a cautionary tale on the limits of genetic science.
  • The Upstream Team: After all other players refuse to join, a desperate U.S. sends a two-man team of John Salmons and Derek Fisher to compete in the Olympics. They fail to medal in basketball but win gold in beach volleyball.
  • The C.R.E.A.M. Team: Max players only, with a starting five of Roy Hibbert, Gilbert Arenas, Rudy Gay, Joe Johnson and Rashard Lewis.
  • The Green Team: Michael Beasley, Delonte West, and Tracy McGrady’s eyes lead this group of marijuana enthusiasts. Training camp starts April 20. Mark Blount to coach.

Feel free to add your best rhyming names in the comments.

Like we always do at this time — a list of nicknames for every 2012 draftee, most of which won’t stick.

1. Anthony “Frog Baby” Davis

2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist a.k.a. “Gillie Da Kid”

3. Bradley Beal “Cutlets”

4. Dion “I Don’t Wanna” Waiters

5. Thomas “Tom Bob” Robinson

6. Damian “Ratman” Lillard

7. “High Hattie” Harrison Barnes

8. Terrence “Discount Goods” Ross

9. Andre “Dum Dum” Drummond

10. Austin “Mooooooooooon” Rivers

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Breaking news from the extensive world of 80′s guitar player nickname litigation, a subject that I am sure is near and dear to your hearts.

From TMZ, no doy:

Durant was sued today in Federal Court by a guy named Mark Durante — a guitarist who, according to the lawsuit, was a big deal in the 80s … playing with Public Enemy, The Aliens, The Next Big Thing, and (our favorite) The Revolting Cocks.

TMZ obtained a copy of the lawsuit, in which Durante says he adopted the name “Durantula” for his “on-stage and performance persona” — and has used it to market “music, recordings, apparel, t-shirts, guitars, and related merchandise.” [...]

Durante claims he sent KD’s people a couple letters “demanding they stop using the nickname” — but says Durant’s reps claimed he wasn’t using it.

In the suit though, Durante claims Nike has used the moniker to launch a shoe campaign — and KD himself signed “Durantula” on basketballs that are for sale through his website.

The guitarist says he registered the “Durantula” trademark. He’s suing for damages and an injunction stopping KD from using the name.

Oh no. Kind of worried here, you guys. As the legend goes, the Durantula nickname was created by the internet’s Rob Mahoney many years ago, only to be popularized by the hosts of a certain internet basketball show called The Basketball Jones. One of their hosts even posted on a popular internet web log about the nickname, declaring for all the world to see that Kevin Durant shall be called Durantula from now until eternity. I am loathe to mention these facts because I don’t want us to get dragged in to this mess, but that’s the origin story and that’s why I’m kind of nervous for Skeets and Tas. Testifying in front of a federal nicknames court must be harrowing.

The problem for Durant is that there are definitely people who have sold “Durantula” stuff, including the Thunder. When there are websites readily selling this kind of stuff — and when one of those websites is allegedly your own — it’s kind of hard to argue that you’re not using the nickname. He might not have chosen it, but he’s certainly associated with it. I have no idea how nickname law works as I am mostly a bird law expert, but that can’t help.

However, the good part is that no one who hears “Durantula” in this day and age thinks, “Oh, the guitarist from the Revolting Cocks?” Good luck to this guy trying to prove that he is the one true Durantula when every Bing result for the nickname turns up pictures of Kevin Durant. Maybe he can have Lawrence Taylor testify that he is still upset that LaDainian Tomlinson stole his nickname, but otherwise, I’m not so sure how well this work out for Mark Durante. I know Tas and Skeets certainly aren’t going to be any help, so good luck with this totally non-frivolous lawsuit.

(via LBS)