According to various reports, the NBA is going to allow some teams to wear jerseys with nicknames, rather than their last names, in a few contests this season. Ira Winderman at the South Florida Sun Sentinel has reported that the Heat will wearing what they’re the “Name Collection Uniform” in games against the Boston Celtics on January 21 and in two games against the Brooklyn Nets on March 12 and April 6. Members of those teams, including Lebron James, Ray Allen and Shane Battier, have already discussed what nicknames they’re going to use.
But what about the Portland Trail Blazers? While there are no plans for the Trail Blazers to wear “Name Collection Uniforms” in games this season (or any season, as far as I know), it’s still worth finding out what nicknames the players would put on their jerseys if given the opportunity. Here’s what they said …
LaMarcus Aldridge: “Probably what’s on my shoes, L-Smooth. It’s just my nickname. Back home, everybody call me “Smooth” so we just said L-Smooth.”
Damian Lillard: “I’d go with Cecilia. That’s my grandmother’s name. She’s important. She’s a big part of my life, always been a big part of my life. That would just be me showing her that love that she deserves to be shown for all she’s done for me.”
Robin Lopez: “I’ve heard RoLo a lot and Sideshow Rob. Boy Wonder here and there, but only because I pushed it so much.”
Nicolas Batum: “My nickname, especially in France, for seven years is Batman. That’s the only nickname I have but that’s a good ID. That started when I was young and stayed with me. In France that’s almost my first name now when I play for the national team. And with Robin on the team, we’ve got a Batman and Robin.”
Thomas Robinson: “Probably just T-Rob. Or Truck. Most of the coaches call me Truck. They say I’m built like one, like a Ford. So it would be Truck or T-Rob.”
Dorell Wright: “It would be DWrightWay cause that’s what I’m known for, that’s my brand, that’s who I am. I think I have a dope last name and a first initial so it goes with a lot of things. I could play with it. So DWrightWay would definitely be mine. But then with me being No. 1, DWrightWay 1. That’s just what I’ve been going by for the past, like, 10 years.”
Mo Williams: “It would be Gotti. That’s my nickname, Mo Gotti. That was a nickname they gave me a long time ago in Milwaukee. They said I was a boss, so …”
CJ McCollum: “I’ve heard joking nicknames like Fat Boy, Potato Man, Potato Head … Do I look fat? I think I’m well put together, personally. They just jokingly say that because I eat a lot. I’d probably just use my name C.J. I’m not into that stuff. I could do 3-J, just the No. 3 is already on the back. That would be repetitive.”
Joel Freeland: “I wouldn’t even know. I’m just not big on that kind of stuff. I wouldn’t have a nickname on the back of my jersey, personally, because to me, I think it’s more professional having your own name on the back. I wouldn’t even know what nickname to put on the back of my jersey. Never had a nickname. Every just calls me “Free” or … that’s pretty much it, but I would never put that on the back of my jersey. I’d just keep it professional and keep it as it is.”
Will Barton: “The Thill. Been my nickname my whole life. It’s stuck with me this far and I’ve got it tatted on me. That would be my nickname on my jersey. My coach Leslie Dennis first gave me that nickname when I was six years old when I first started playing basket. He said I would do stuff at a young age that a lot of kids couldn’t do and it would just be thrilling. See somebody that young doing some of the things I would be doing, throw it behind my head, behind my back, crazy layups and stuff like that. He just started calling me ‘Will the Thrill’ or Thrill. He died when I was in high school. The name just stuck with me ever since and everyone just kept calling me that.”
Victor Claver: “I don’t have any. They called me The Bat From Valencia cause that’s the animal from the city but that was only when I started playing because I won the Slam Dunk Content in Spain. I never have like a real nickname. Everybody calls me Vic. But that’s no nickname, that’s a surname.”
Earl Watson: “I don’t know, but I think as far as the NBA doing it I think it’s great for marketing, I think it’s great for fun. It engages the fans, makes it more personal. It’s creative. The NBA has always been ahead of the curve as far as professional sports and creativity. But I don’t know what I would put. Who knows?”
Allen Crabbe: I’ll go with Cool Breeze. That’s what the guys on the team call me because I’m real chill, laid back, don’t speak too much, only speak when needed to. I stay in my lane, don’t do too much, not out of control. Nothing like that.
Which of these nicknames do you like best? Would you buy a jersey with “Truck” for “Cool Breeze” on the back? Are you a fan of nickname jerseys? Let’s hear it.
(Thanks to Dustin and Mario for the help with the graphics on this post)