Sports broadcasters may have to start studying players’ numbers a bit more closely in the upcoming NBA season as reports claim the basketball association is considering showcasing nicknames on jerseys.
The unexpected pitch would see NBA champion LeBron James going by “King James” during a match-up against fellow Eastern Conference rival Brooklyn Nets.
So long, James, Allen, Pierce and Garnett. At least for one game, “King James,” “Jesus Shuttlesworth,” “The Truth” and “KG” may be headed to the backs of NBA jerseys. Some members of the Miami Heat have been told the NBA is considering having them and the Brooklyn Nets wear “nickname jerseys” in at least one of their four matchups this season. The NBA has not announced the plan, but teams apparently have been aware of the likelihood of it happening for at least several weeks. (USA Today)
James’ Miami Heat teammate Ray Allen has already offered an opinion on the debate.
“It shows growth in our league and it shows we do adapt to what’s going on around us,” said Allen, the Heat guard who plans to wear Shuttlesworth on his jersey, a nod to his character from the He Got Game film. “And we’re still kids, playing a kids’ game. Even though we’re now men playing a kids’ game, we still remember where we come from. Everybody had a nickname and it’s a way to let the fans in a little bit more.” (USA Today)
Speculation on what some Nets and Heat players might go for as nicknames has surfaced.
Four-time NBA MVP LeBron James is expected to wear “King James.” Heat guard Dwyane Wade would have any number of nicknames to choose from, with “Three” – both his jersey number and championship-ring total – being his current favorite. He could also go with his more commonly known name, “D-Wade.” Brooklyn forward Paul Pierce has been called “The Truth” for many years, and fellow new Nets forward Kevin Garnett has long been known by his initials, or “The Big Ticket.” The Heat and Nets are among the preseason favorites in the Eastern Conference, which Miami has won in each of the past three seasons. (NBA)
The potential league-changing decision could spark mixed reactions from fans.
Marketing gimmicks don’t get much more shameless than this, and the nickname jersey is pretty much the perfect wedge issue to differentiate NBA fans into “purist” and “new-school” groups. Traditionalists will react in horror, much as they did when the Warriors unveiled their sleeved jerseys last season; more open-minded observers will assert that the move is all in good fun, and it will appear to the league’s younger fans. Count me among the simplicity-seeking, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” crowd, but it’s worth taking a gander at what these “nickname jerseys” would look like if they do indeed come to fruition. Below, find a gallery of The Point Forward’s Top 10 players of 2014, with possible “nickname jerseys” options for each player. The jerseys were created using the NBA.com Store’s custom jersey tool. (Sports Illustrated)