The NBA is always looking for new ways to make a buck (i.e. new jersey sales) while livening things up. So, it should not have been a surprise when word came out that the league was taking a page from the Entertainer’s Basketball Classic and referring to their stars by their aliases.
“It shows growth in our league and it shows we do adapt to what’s going on around us,” said Ray Allen, (via ESPN.com), who plans to wear “Shuttlesworth” on his jersey, as a nod to his character from the film “He Got Game.”
Question is, what happens to players who don’t have nicknames? Or at least don’t own recognizable ones.
The Heat has a ton of them. From LeBron James to Mario Chalmers (Mr. Clutch) to Joel Anthony (the Warden). The Nets have a few of them too. But what on earth would they call Brook Lopez and Greg Oden? Maybe they could share something injury-related with an ode to Frank Thomas, sort of like the Big Hurt.
If you let Kobe Bryant tell it, the occasional name change would be beneficial to everybody.
“I think it gives players a great opportunity to frame their brand by picking a name that tells their story or further communicates what they represent,” Bryant told ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell.
This could be big branding to the highest power — another way to market the league and play off of the WNBA’s moneymaking scheme of placing sponsors on women’s jerseys.
It’s hard not to look at this as a smart move for the NBA, especially when they’re using two of the league’s top four selling team jerseys for guinea pigs.
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