Last season news broke the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets would debut a new idea from the NBA where they would replace the last names on the back of their uniform with a nickname of their own choosing. The NBA went ahead with the plan as various monikers were spotted on the back of the uniforms for both teams, but we wanted to know what nicknames this year’s crop of rookies would choose if given the chance.
Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins, who both selected the same superhero, didn’t come up with the most creative nicknames. For Jabari, it was simply “JB,” and Wiggins went with the shortening of his last name his teammates used at Kansas, “Wigs” — though the homophone “Whigs” might be too politically charged. Similar to Parker, Bucks teammate Damien Inglis goes by “Dami,” just a shortening of his first name.
Utah’s selection at No. 23, Rodney Hood, had a pair of nicknames he liked: the obvious, “Robin Hood,” and we assured him the NBA could fit “It’s All Good In The Hood” on the back of his uniform.
Johnny O’Bryant got a little more creative than his two Bucks teammates, using his initials to spell “J.O.B” as his nickname. T.J. Warren did something similar, playing around with his name, and going with “KAJE.”
New Grizzlies guard, the 6-5 Jordan Adams, already has a nickname. He told us his teammates and coaches at UCLA called him “Spider-man, because I led the conference in steals two years in a row.” Ironically, he chose Batman in our superhero pick ’em and isn’t that big a fan of the web crawler, though he does like the nickname (John Salley thinks he should find another one).
Same with Nik Stauskas, who told us he’d go with “White Chocolate,” which, um, isn’t exactly original. It will also probably put a little pressure on Stauskas to dazzle as a rookie sharpshooter out of Michigan.
Spencer Dinwiddie, a guard out of Colorado, said he’s already got a nickname, “The Mayor.” He’s also aware it’s already been taken as a nickname by former Timberwolves guard Fred Hoiberg; he doesn’t care. We tried to sell him on Tony Stark, since he’s a big Iron Man fan, but he’s sticking with The Mayor regardless of its association with Hoiberg.
The bunny-hopping guard out of UCLA, Zach LaVine told us he would use the nickname “No way” (for no way you can guard me), or “Bounce Avenue,” which his play at the Seattle Pro-Am and summer league helps explain.
Shabazz Napier, who we think should just go by champ, didn’t really have a favorite. He did explain that most of his teammates and friends go with “Bazzy” or “Bazz,” but some also call him “She’Business,” when he’s giving an opponent just that. We think “She’Business” is just about perfect.
Unlike Napier, Julius Randle had already coined his nickname: “Lucky Lefty,” and at first we thought it was an homage to a certain 1930s bootlegger, last name Luchiano. The left-handed Randle certainly played like a gangster while leading his Wildcats to the NCAA Title game during his only year at Kentucky.
James Young — perhaps forgetting fellow 2014 rookie, Doug McDermott, will almost certainly go with “McBuckets” — told us his nickname would be “Jimmy Buckets.” And former Wolverine, Mitch McGary, says he likes what his teammates called him back when he played at Michigan: “The Monster.”
The Clippers’ C.J. Wilcox likes the nickname “Smooth,” and Aaron Gordon, one of the last players we asked for a nickname, wouldn’t tell us, admitting he’d been thinking about it, but “I can’t say it…other people might use it.”
Who has the best nickname among the 2014 rookie class?
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