It’s still not technically official, but its been reported that the Brooklyn Nets and the Miami Heat are likely going to play in a game where the teams wear jerseys with the player’s nicknames, rather than their last names, on the back of their jerseys.
So instead of “Pierce” on the back of Paul Pierce‘s jersey it’ll be “The Truth”, Kevin Garnett‘s will likely say, “The Big Ticket”, probably, “The Joker” for Reggie Evans, “D-Will” for Deron Williams, and “King James” for Lebron James. I somehow doubt it’ll be “Iso-Joe” for Joe Johnson.
It sounds like this will be a one-off move with only the Nets and Heat participating and only once out of their four games together will they do it. Some people are up in arms about this, but so far a few of the players seem to like the idea.
“It shows growth in our league and it shows we do adapt to what’s going on around us,” Ray Allen, who will likely wear “Shuttlesworth” on his jersey, told ESPN “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.”
Kendall Marshall of the Phoenix Suns was not as supportive and tweeted, “Not of a fan of the nickname idea.Having your last name on the back of your jersey isn’t just representing yourself, but your family as well,” he said. “The nickname makes it more about the individual. It’s still a team sport. Represent your team, your family, and go out there and play.”
The funny thing about this is that players are running into copyright issues as Shane Battier requested “Batman” on his jersey, but was told Warner Bros. owns the rights to it.
I’ve always been mixed when it comes to stuff like this. On one hand, it’s just a gimmick designed to sell jerseys and it usually feels cheap. But on the other hand, Allen is right, it’s just a bunch of grown up kids playing a kids game. It’s best not to take it too seriously and have some fun with it. Nicknames on the backs of jerseys won’t be so bad. It might even be pretty cool to have a “The Truth” jersey.
My only question is, will they let Andrei Kirilenko have “AK47″ on the back of his jersey?