‘Pistol’ Pete Maravich wore this jersey during a 1971 game as a member of the New Orleans Jazz.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — News broke last night that the NBA was considering allowing some players to wear nicknames on their jerseys. Now, before the Fun Police show up and try to ruin this for everyone, let’s make clear that according to the story, this is just a one-time thing — one game, two teams (Miami and Brooklyn), for only one night. But it’s clearly indicative of an idea that the NBA is at the very least open to considering, even if only on a limited basis.
Nicknames on jerseys has happened in other sports — soccer players around the world do it now, and closer to home, former Braves owner Ted Turner once tried to give pitcher Andy Messersmith the nickname “Channel” so that his jersey would read “Channel 17,” a free ad for Turner’s nascent broadcasting business.
This has also taken place in the NBA and ABA, back in the day, as seen in the photo of “Pistol” Pete Maravich up top on this post. But as the NBA has grown in popularity and become more corporate, the wiggle room for fun stuff like nicknames on jerseys has been squeezed out.
As a person who is an avowed opponent of the Fun Police, I am one-thousand-million percent in favor of this idea, if only because I’m sure fans of different players would love to rock jerseys with nicknames on the back. Above and beyond the jerseys we night see in a Miami/Brooklyn game — KING JAMES, for instance — off the top of my head, here are some nicknames that would be neat to see on the back of official NBA jerseys…
BIRDMAN BIRDMAN — Chris Andersen
BIG SHOT — Chauncey Billups
BONES — Brent Barry throwback edition
MAMBA — Kobe Bryant, or…
VINO — Kobe Bryant
BIG BABY — Glen Davis
FUNDAMENTAL — Tim Duncan
MANIMAL — Kenneth Faried
BOOBIE — Daniel Gibson
AK-47 — Andrei Kirilenko
LINSANITY — Jeremy Lin
KRYPTO-NATE — Nate Robinson
Now you tell us, which nickname jerseys would you like to see?