The Name Of The Game: NBA Debuts Nickname Jerseys For Heat-Nets Contest
The Heat and Nets on Friday debuted the teams' customized jerseys featuring "popular nicknames, initials (and) name abbreviations,” according to ESPN's Mike Breen. Most of the nicknames are "pretty self-evident, we can guess what each player is.” ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy said, “The nicknames they should’ve used and only could use are the ones their mothers called them when they were little like 'Little Boo Boo.' Because no one calls Norris Cole ‘Cole Train.’” ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported Heat G Ray Allen "requested the name 'Jesus' when they asked him what his nickname was," a reference to the character he played in the '98 film "He Got Game." Broussard: "They just gave him the uniform J. Shuttlesworth. We assume that was for religious reasons.” After a commercial break, Breen and Van Gundy displayed specially made jerseys, with Van Gundy holding up a Heat jersey with "Notorious JVG" and Breen with a Nets jersey with "The Grey Mamba" on the nameplate (“Heat-Nets,” ESPN, 1/10). ESPN’s Sage Steele noted the nickname jerseys were selling for up to $110. ESPN’s Bill Simmons said, “The big winner of tonight -- it is ‘King James’ because that’s a jersey I think actually people would buy.” He added Nets F Joe Johnson’s nickname "should say ‘2016 Expiring Contract’ on the back.” Simmons later brought up Nets F Mason Plumlee's jersey and asked co-host Jalen Rose, "Are you okay with calling a grown man ‘Plums?’" Rose: “Don’t get fired” (“NBA Countdown,” ESPN, 1/10).
A LAME GIMMICK? ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said the idea of putting nicknames on jerseys is "annoying to me personally, because we now have to look at all these stupid nicknames." Kornheiser: "This is a bad gimmick. This is minor league baseball. ... Do I care what (Heat C) Joel Anthony's nickname is?" ESPN's Michael Wilbon called the jerseys "lame" and added nicknames are interesting "on players that matter, on big stars, not on every single guy" ("PTI," ESPN, 1/10).