Leave it to the NBA to continue to find ways to draw interest in its product, even if the interest being brought is mixed with negative and positive reactions.
It was brought down from the NBA offices Monday night that the league will be giving the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets jerseys with the player’s nickname — instead of the last name — on the back. It’s not a permanent dealing, as it will only be used in certain games. It’s likely the NBA is simply testing out the product at the moment in order to grasp how well the jerseys, which the league loves to tamper with, play to the public.
Reactions are mixed. Traditionalists want the jerseys to remain as they have throughout history with the simple team name, numbers and last names, but those with more ambitious outlooks see the jersey as an interesting change that could be a fun experiment depending on how well the players respond to adding their nicknames to the back of their jersey (they’ll be choosing their own nicknames).
Either way, it’s just another way the NBA is attempting to keep the public’s interest in the league between the fervor of the opening weeks and the postseason.
With the Miami Heat employing a number of players with excellent nicknames already, it’s only right to predict just what each player will be adorning come the night where these jerseys are introduced for the first time.
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LeBRON JAMES – “King James”
This title certainly doesn’t draw as much criticism as it did before LeBron was a champion-winning, legacy-creating, world-destroying, galaxy-eating superstar. Now it’s only appropriate to christen LeBron the King of basketball following consecutive seasons of unequivocally unmatched play in the form of two championships, two Finals MVPs, two league MVPs, and two of the most statistically-jarring seasons in the history of the NBA.
The King moniker has stuck with LeBron since his high school playing days, which featured James leading his school to three state championships in his freshman, sophomore and senior years.
With “Chosen One” already adorned across his back, adding “King James” seems like overkill. However, I’m not going to be the one to tell a four-time MVP what he should and shouldn’t do. LeBron’s going to be met with criticism no matter what name he puts on his back, so why not go all out?
DWYANE WADE – “Flash”
Call me old fashioned, but Dwyane Wade will always be recognized as “Flash” to myself, as well as any of the other Heat faithful who were around for the years of Shaquille O’Neal. The originator of many great nicknames, including quite a few for himself, O’Neal came up with the Flash moniker for Wade, who was instilled with a large deal of confidence and flash when teamed up with Shaq in the early portion of his career.
Wade has recently procured the masses to call him “WOW” over the past year, but it’s a name that has mostly been met with criticism in the form of snickers and groaning.
CHRIS BOSH – “VaBoshiRaptor”
Chris Bosh has been compared to a dinosaur his entire playing career, mainly due to being a Toronto Raptor and some considering him to bear a likeness to the team’s mascot, so why not own up to it and take on the dinosaur moniker?
If he’s attempted to shake off the raptor comparison, he’s done a poor job at it. In fact, he only enables it when he bellows out roars to crowds when he finishes off a big play and runs with a stride that resembles the gargantuan reptiles of the past.