There’s an article in the New York Times today about professional athletes copywriting their nicknames or sayings. Darrelle Revis has a trademark on Revis Island and both TO and Ochocinco have various products with their various sayings.
The story got me thinking. None of these guys have great nicknames. In fact, no one has a great nickname anymore. Where have all the great nicknames gone?
Through the history of sports we have had some great nicknames; The Iron Horse, The Galloping Ghost, The Big Dipper, Doctor K, The Mailman, The Great One, “Air” Jordan, Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
Consider the NBA of the early 90’s. Aside from Air Jordan, and Karl “Mailman” Malone, you had Hakeem “the Dream,” “The Admiral,” “The Round Mound of Rebound,” “The Glove,” and on and on and on.
Now? There’s nothing. Why doesn’t Dwayne Wade have an amazing nickname that plays into his affinity for throwing himself towards the basket? Instead, we just call him D-Wade.
A lot of the blame falls on Alex Rodriguez. He was the first initial/shortened last name nickname guy. Once he became Arod, it wasn’t long until Ivan Rodriguez traded in his awesome nickame (Pudge) for the far less creative Irod. Next was FRod and Krod (admittedly Krod is half cool, since it’s based on Francisco Rodriguez’s high strike out numbers. Still, pretty lazy.) Then it got even worse. Derek Jeter became DJ. Vince Carter became VC. Allen Iverson is AI (and don’t bring up Iverson’s nickname “The Answer”. It was made up by Reebok and doesn’t actually mean anything.”
We have a great generation of young NBA stars. They need great nicknames. John Wall needs to be Great Wall. Derrick Rose can’t settle for D-Rose. It’s the same for Blake Griffin, Kevin Love and Monta Ellis.
But, most importantly, we need a nickname for Kevin Durant. He’s a dynamic scorer with a great personality on an up and coming team. He needs a name that will last through the generations. When we tell our Grandkids about watching Kevin Durant, we need to use a great moniker.
But times are changing. Social Mores have changed since Joe Dimaggio became the “Yankee Clipper” or Willie Mays became the “Say Hey Kid.” We can get away with a little more these days and that line’s only going to move further. It’s the internet age. Pretty soon, there won’t be newspapers and there won’t be rules against saying the “7 dirty words” on TV.
And so, I throw this out there. It perfectly sums up a guy who’s hard to summarize. It expresses the disbelief fans sometimes feel while they’re watching someone transcend the sport in a way that few players can. It’s a little dangerous, which will appeal to bloggers and internet columnists and fellow NBA players. It’s a great nickname for the NBA’s great star of the next decade.
Kevin Durant is “The Shit.”
Tell your friends.