Heading into the playoffs, Brooklyn Nets fans and casuals will be glued to the tv meticulously watching every possession to see if the renowned squad can live up to the hype. For a team that lives under the media’s microscope, when you speak of the Brooklyn Nets, most fans and pundits still only acknowledge the “Big 3.”
As captivating and dynamic as the “Big 3” are, the Nets have one of the most exciting and talented rosters in the game from top to bottom. Kevin Durant dubbed the Brooklyn Nets the “Big 15″ recently, taking a cue from Julius Randle. Names of players that are embedded in the psyche of Nets enthusiasts are still foreign entities to some casual fans.
Playoffs enhance the emotion, intensity, and animation for the viewing audience. Every significant play made calls for a proper response and reaction.
There is no better acknowledgment of a great play than by shouting out a player’s well-earned nickname.
Nicknames are nothing new in the NBA. Being sanctioned with a nickname is somewhat of a rite of passage and an indication of you displaying something worth being acknowledged.
More than likely if you’re in the NBA, you have already been tagged with a few monikers throughout your basketball career. Nevertheless, it never hurts to add to your alias catalog or upgrade your current nickname to something more suitable.
As casually and thoughtlessly as a nickname can be initially given, a fitting nickname can evolve into something much more magnified than just a flattering shorthand. Brands, logos, marketing campaigns and so on can all be built on the back of a great nickname.
So, let the upgrading begin. Let’s give the Brooklyn Nets some better nicknames.
It’s always clear who you’re referencing when the initials “KD” are mentioned. That’s what happens when your success transcends beyond the game to international notoriety like Kevin Durant’s. Sometimes self-appointed nicknames can be iffy, but Durant dubbing himself “Easy Money Sniper” is spot on and accurately depicts his effortless scoring ability.
Nevertheless, if there was ever an addition to Durant’s monikers, it would have to be “Smooth Operator.” Simply stated, Durant’s game is as smooth and suave as the hit song performed by Sade.
When you have a physical characteristic as visible as James Harden, it’s an easy conclusion to see why he has been labeled “The Beard.” As fitting a nickname as that may be, it doesn’t highlight his greatness and it becomes invalid if he ever chops the beard off.
Given the fact that Harden is one of the few players in today’s game that can do everything for your team, something more suitable would be “Hotel Harden.” Like an all-inclusive hotel resort, everything comes with James Harden’s game.
For someone as gifted as Kyrie Irving, it’s a little surprising that he doesn’t really have a concrete nickname. “Uncle Drew” is a fun alias when paying homage to the movie he starred in, and “Kai” feels more like a friend and family byname.
Being that Kyrie’s game is truly poetry in motion, brilliant artistry with eloquent creativity, the alias “Kai-Angelo” is befitting — “Angelo,” of course, taken from one of the most brilliant creators of all time, Michelangelo. Irving is definitely an artist in his own right.
Jeff Green brings so much more to the Nets than just being a deadeye 3-point shooter and a phenomenal highlight reel when finishing in the paint. He is a true leader and someone whose presence cuts through in the locker room, and it makes sense that people would refer to him as “Uncle Jeff.” On par with the aforementioned, given the obstacles he has overcome off the court, his secondary moniker of “Ironman” is also precisely accurate.
To add to his monikers and to pay respect and appreciation to his leadership, he is worthy of the nickname “The Voice.” The nickname comes from head coach Steve Nash referring to Green as a vocal leader and the “voice of reason” during a rough patch early in the season.
When you hear the name Joe Harris in an NBA setting, you automatically think shooter. But Harris isn’t just a shooter. He is an expert sharpshooter.
When Joe Harris connects on a three, it is common to hear the commentator call out, “Joey Buckets!” which is an accurate moniker. The only dilemma is, they call Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat “Jimmy Buckets.”
Being that Harris is worthy of his own nickname that encapsulates his exceptional shooting skillset, “Joe Swagger” is appropriate — “Swagger” deriving from the Movie “Shooter,” starring Mark Wahlberg as a top Marine sniper whose name was Bob Lee Swagger.
Blake Griffin might be on the backside of his career according to critics, but he is still a vital piece attached to Brooklyn’s playoff success. After being in the league for a decade dealing with a myriad of injuries, Griffin may have lost a step, but he can still finish above the rim at a prominent level.
What hasn’t changed is Griffin’s muscular, brawny stature. Blake is still one of the more physically imposing power forwards in the league. It’s a trait that doesn’t go unnoticed and generates the nickname “B Grizzly,” a play off his first and last initial (BG) and a tribute to his physical play. It’s also a slight ode to the Detroit, MI rapper Tee Grizzley.
Bruce Brown has been a breakout star and an essential piece for the Brooklyn Nets this year. There is a not a role or position that Brown has not occupied for the team.
Brown’s role as the ultimate utility player cannot be understated and is not under-appreciated. Nothing is more indicative of being multi-purpose then a Swiss army knife, which produces the alias “Swiss Brown,” a derivate of the multi-purpose Swiss Army knife and a slight nod to the multi-talented artist Chris Brown.
The Brooklyn Nets’ young crown jewel is without a doubt Nicolas Claxton. The young 22-year-old center is full of energy, instinctive intangibles, and potential.
Defensively, Claxton is already on his way to being one of the league’s top defenders, and offensively he gives you glimpses that he has not even scratched the surface of his capabilities.
So, how do you encapsulate a young talented player, who has a bag full of skill and potential? Easy. You fuse together the man most known for having a bag of gifts with an abbreviation of Claxton’s first name Nicolas and you have “St. Nic.”
Just like Father Christmas (Santa Claus) himself, Claxton has a bag full of gifts and the Brooklyn Nets couldn’t be happier with his continued growth.
Landry Shamet may have not started the season playing his best ball, but once he found his rhythm, he has been one of the Nets’ most dynamic players.
Shamet can get as hot as any Net from behind the arc, and if you’re not careful, he may use those quick hops to put you on a poster. Couple that with Shamet’s constant energy and his relentless defense, and you get the action-packed nickname, “Lan Van Sham,” a clear reference to the action movie star Jean-Claude Van Damme.
One of the Brooklyn Nets’ most underrated shooters is sixth-year guard Tyler Johnson. Given the amount of talent Brooklyn possesses, Johnson’s minutes are limited, but he makes every second count. His effortless, smooth left-handed stroke warrants the nickname, “Lucky Lefty.”
Alize Johnson is a part of the Nets’ young nucleus of talented players who aids in creating depth and bolstering the “stay ready” group. Johnson is a unique talent who has plenty of offensive potential, but has a willingness to also do the dirty work.
His workhorse, blue collar style of play probably has a lot to do with his unconventional, tough path to the NBA. Although Johnson’s style of play could lend itself to many nicknames, I don’t think any of it would have been possible without his humble beginnings.
Being that Johnson is a true hometown kid, who is still deeply connected to his roots, an ideal nickname is “Mr. 570″ — 570 being the area code of Williamsport, PA where Johnson was born, raised and continues to give back to the community.
Mike James’ time with the Nets has been short, but the recognition of his skillset has been immediate. James is a super crafty guard that has no offensive weaknesses and plays tough defense.
If the league wasn’t aware of how exciting and electrifying he can be, they got a small dose with his off-the-backboard lob to Kevin Durant in the Nets’ final regular season game. That makes the nickname “Thriller” tailor-made for James, the type of player who, at any time, can put on an exhilarating show.
The moniker “Thriller” is a simple play off James’ first and last initials (MJ), which he shares with Michael Jackson, the “King of Pop” and the creator of the iconic song.
Sometimes, the best nickname is the less glamorous but obvious one. DeAndre Jordan’s alias “DJ,” Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (better known as “TLC”) and Chris Chiozza’s moniker “Cheese” fall into that category.
With that being said, when Jordan has a nasty dunk or block, simply say, “Go DJ, that’s my DJ,” echoing the upbeat song by New Orleans rapper Lil Wayne.
Rookie Reggie Perry is still in the process of earning his stripes and nickname, but he is a versatile big with plenty of potential.
As exciting as the Nets have the potential to be, the casual fan has no idea how magnified the excitement could be if Spencer Dinwiddie were in the lineup, too. Dinwiddie, who has been sidelined since December with an ACL tear, is a part of the core group that initially drew Kyrie and Durant to the Nets.
Although Dinwiddie’s resilience and ability to overcome adversity through his NBA career could lend itself to a nickname, sometimes nicknames sell themselves. If you know anything about Dinwiddie, his family educational background and his off-court entrepreneurial endeavors, you will understand why “Witty” is the perfect moniker for Dinwiddie.
Being that head coach Steve Nash is the ringleader of this unconventional yet talented group, “Professor S” is a befitting moniker. This label is a precise comparison to Professor X, the founder and leader of the Marvel Comics “X-Men.”
All eyes will be glued to the Brooklyn Nets first round playoff match-up against the Boston Celtics. The mystery of how the Nets will gel creates an interesting storyline, but no one can deny the intrigue and fascination involved in the Nets’ postseason journey.