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)
Greetings from San Fransisco. After the Trail Blazers lost 118-106 to the Warriors in Game One of their Western Conference semifinal series, Joe Freeman, he of The Oregonian/OregonLive.com, and I, Casey Holdahl of ForwardCenter.net/TrailBlazers.com, grabbed a couple mics to record the first second round edition of the Rip City Report podcast, which is now available for your afternoon listening…
On this edition, we discuss Sunday afternoon’s loss, Portland’s tough start and whether there’s anything positive to be taken from the last three quarters, dealing with Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, the eventual return of Stephen Curry and if there any similarities between Sunday’s game and Game One versus the Clippers. We also answer a host of questions about Allen Crabbe, the enthusiasm at Oracle Arena, the quick turnaround from Game Six to the second Game One and give some tips on packing for regular business travel. And we also start the show off with some bad Mike Meyers impersonations. Sorry about that.
Even at full strength, the Trail Blazers were having a hard time keeping up with the Golden State Warriors in the first game of their second round, best-of-seven playoff series. But that task got significantly harder after reserve guard Gerald Henderson, who is averaging 7.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists in the 2016 postseason, was ejected after a series of altercations with Warriors center Anderson Varejao that occurred late in the third quarter of Portland’s 118-106 loss Sunday night at Oracle Arena.
The first incident took place at the 3:29 mark of the third. Henderson and Varejao collided during the run of play, sending Varejao tumbling to the floor. As he was falling, he seemed to extend his leg out in an effort to trip Henderson, which ultimately proved successful. Henderson immediately got off the floor and into Varejao’s face, prompting the officials to call assess technicals to both players.
“I bumped him — not on purpose — he tripped me on purpose,” said Henderson. “I fell hard, I didn’t like it, so came together, that’s what happens.”
But that wouldn’t be the end of the tete-a-tete between Henderson and Varejao. Though Varejao was on the bench, that didn’t stop him and Henderson from continuing their less than cordial discussion, which the officials apparently noticed, as both players were once again awarded technicals, resulting in double ejections.
“The ref threw me out from across the way. I guess he could hear what I was saying from across the court,” said Henderson. “We were talking since the first technicals happened, but there’s a lot of talking going on out there. For both of us to get kicked out of the game, it was surprising.”
Despite the tense moments, Henderson said postgame that there was no lingering animosity while noting that he was more mad at himself than at Varejao.
“I been put it behind me,” said Henderson, who finished with five points and three assists in just under 17 minutes. “We lost the game, that’s the only thing that matters. I was pissed I got thrown out, we still had a chance to win the game. I got ejected, I’ve got to be smarter, regardless of if I thought I should have got kicked out or not.”
OAKLAND — The Portland Trail Blazers had roughly 36 hours to prepare for Game One of their Western Conference Semifinals matchup versus the Golden State Warriors after eliminating the Clippers in Game Six at the Moda Center on Friday night. There was only so much film they could watch, only so many Warriors-specific plays they could learn before a 12:30 pm tipoff Sunday afternoon in Oakland.
That was a reality reflected in Portland’s performance to start the game, as they made just five field goals and trailed by as many as 20 in the first quarter before going on to lose 118-106 to the top-seeded Warriors in front of a sellout crowd of 19,596 at Oracle Arena.
“Certainly wasn’t the start we wanted,” said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. “It was disappointing to get off to such a poor start. Our offense, we had trouble scoring. Their defense got into us. It was just — we struggled at both ends, and probably more so on the offensive end, which fed into their defense. They had second chance point, they had fast-break points. It was a little bit of everything.”
The Warriors now lead the series 1-0 with Game Two scheduled for Tuesday.
“To start the game, we played like a team playing it’s second game in 30 hours,” said CJ McCollum. “We can’t start like that, especially here.”
The good news is the Trail Blazers improved as the game went on. Portland shot 52 percent from the field an 67 percent from three in the second quarter, utilizing small lineups that featured Maurice Harkless at “center” to eventually outscore Golden State 34-28 in the quarter. The Trail Blazers managed to cut the Warriors’ lead to single digits on numerous occasions before the half but were never able to keep the deficit in check for more than a possession or two, allowing the home team to take a 14-point lead into the intermission.
The Warriors, playing without reigning MVP Stephen Curry, who is sidelined with a sprained right MCL, would reestablish their dominance in the third quarter, holding Portland to 9-of-27 shooting from the field and a particularly stingy 1-of-8 from three. Between their defense and shooting 50 percent from both the field and three in the quarter, Golden State took a 26-point lead, their largest of the night, before heading into the fourth up 93-73.
Portland was able to give the final score an air of respectability by outscoring Golden State 33-25 in the fourth, but never realistically threatened the defending champs before the final buzzer. And while there was little to like about their Game One performance, the Trail Blazers can take some comfort in knowing they were able to bounce back from a rough start in the first round to win their series versus the Clippers.
“We got beat pretty soundly in Game One against the Clippers and we made some adjustments, we played a little bit better and got better as the series went along, and we need to do the same thing,” said Stotts. “So we’ll watch the video, see what we can come up with for Game Two. But there’s no question that we have to play better and learn from Game One like we did with the Clippers.”
The Trail Blazers were led by Lillard, who finished with 30 points, five assists and four steals in 41 minutes. CJ McCollum added 12 points, three rebounds and three assists in 40 minutes. Portland’s starting backcourt combined to shoot 13-of-43 from the field, with many of those makes coming when the game was already out of reach.
“We’ve just got to be better,” said Lillard, who said he’s been battling a chest cold the last few days (and sounded like it when answer questions postgame). “I got some looks that I need to make, CJ did as well. We just got to be better offensively if we want to have a chance against this team.”
Al-Farouq Aminu shot 6-of-13 from the field and 3-of-8 from three for 15 points in 25 minutes. Harkless added 10 points and three rebounds, with Mason Plumlee grabbing a game-high 13 boards.
Allen Crabbe continued his strong play as of late, going 6-of-9 from the field for 15 points and five rebounds in 33 minutes. Ed Davis went 5-of-6 from the field to finish with 11 points and seven rebounds before fouling out in 18 minutes.
Gerald Henderson finished with five points and three rebounds in 16 minutes before being ejected after getting receiving two technicals for arguing with Warriors center Anderson Varejao, who was also ejected.
The Warriors were led by Klay Thompson, who shot 50 percent from both the field and three to finish with a game-high 37 points to go along with five rebounds in 37 minutes.
“We’ve got to do a better job, starting with me if I’m guarding (Thompson),” said McCollum. “Got to make sure I’m pacing better and making him curl. Hard hedges got to be there, especially if it’s Bogut or somebody setting setting that screen where he’s not really a good shooter. We’ve got to make sure we make them pay for that.”
Draymond Green put up a triple-double of 23 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in 37 minutes. Shaun Livingston added 12 points and with both Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut finishing with 10 points.
Next up, the Trail Blazers will try to regroup before heading back to Oracle for Game Two on Tuesday.
“I got some looks that I usually would have made that I didn’t knock down,” said Lillard. “So next game, I look forward to the challenge again. At this point in the season, all that matters is winning. You either win or you lose; you advance or you go home. At this point, we’re just trying to fix things and make sure that our season keeps going.”
Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 pm.