Player Nicknames: Detroit Pistons Edition
Player Nicknames: Detroit Pistons Edition
The world of professional sports is a world of nicknames. Whether nicknames are born out of admiration, disdain, marketing purposes or anything else, it seems just about every professional athlete has a nickname. NBA players especially seem to have generated quite a few nicknames.
We seem to finally (thankfully) be coming back out of the “player initials + jersey number = nickname” era and returning to a world where creativity abounds in the monikers we give to our favorite and most-hated players. It is just in time, too, as a rumor recently broke recently that the NBA is considering allowing nicknames on the backs of jerseys for one game between the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets.
Personally, I absolutely love this idea. Who wouldn’t love seeing “Jesus Shuttlesworth” on the back of Ray Allen’s jersey for one game? If it were a permanent move, I would have a much different opinion, but for one game, this seems like a fun idea. After all, we’re always preaching the “it’s just a game” idiom (even though the hundreds of millions of dollars we spend on the sport each year would suggest we think otherwise), so why not have fun with it, right? One game with nicknames on the backs of jerseys isn’t going to crumble the integrity of the game. You can find and read plenty of league news stories about gambling scandals, off-court legal issues, failed drug tests, drug addiction, advertisements on jerseys, and a plethora of (probably false) conspiracy theories for that. But I digress – this is a fun post.
The Pistons probably won’t be involved in any games where nicknames are allowed on the backs of jerseys any time soon. They just aren’t that popular of a brand right now, but if they were, what nicknames might we see on the backs of our favorite Pistons players? A few players have long-standing nicknames, such as Chauncey Billups’ “Mr. Big Shot,” but what about the rest of the guys? I have compiled a list of nicknames that have been attached to current players, whether they’ve caught on or not, and thrown in a few of my own just for fun.
Billups has one of the most obvious choices. He’s been hailed as “Mr. Big Shot” after hitting several clutch shots during his tenure in Detroit. It has stuck with him ever since. Pistons fans have many fond memories of Billups pulling up for game winning three-pointers, clutch shots at just the right time, and, of course, his half-court miracle as time expired to send Game 5 of the 2004 Eastern Conference Semifinals into overtime.
Josh Smith already has a nickname, J-Smoove, and I’m not entirely sure where it comes from. It apparently originated when Smith was still in high school, and it has stuck with him ever since. He’s built quite a brand out of it over his years of successful NBA basketball. However, with “Mr. Big Shot” back in Detroit, we might have to start calling Smith “Mr. Bad Shot” if he continues to take and miss a bunch of long two-pointers.
Greg Monroe already has the nickname “Moose” so there isn’t a whole lot to imagine here. If he can develop a jumper and learn how to play defense, he could follow Tim Duncan’s footsteps and become “The Big Fundamental 2.0.” This is a bit far-fetched, though. I think “Moose” is here to stay. Why mess with what works?
Andre Drummond, perhaps more than any other current Pistons player, deserves a good nickname. Dre has taken the nation by storm these past few months, and it’s been easy for Detroit fans to fall in love with the guy for several reasons. We could simply stick with “Dre,” or go with the moniker Corey Maggette chose for him last season – “Pimp Juice.”
He has a well-documented love of penguins so some have taken to calling him “The Penguin.” He’s also been called “Brahma Bull,” which is respectable. After respectably switching his jersey number to zero this offseason, he has also gained the nicknames “AD Zero” and “Agent Zero” (my personal favorite), but nothing seems to be sticking decisively.
The man, the myth, the legend: "Jorts." Josh Harrellson arguably has one of the best nicknames in the NBA despite having played few minutes in his career thus far. Harrellson's wardrobe regularly included jean shorts during his four years on the University of Kentucky’s campus and was labeled with this sterling pseudonym. This one isn’t going anywhere, and he seems to have embraced it.
How does the “Swedish Jonas Brother” not have an agreed upon nickname yet? I guess we already call him “JJ,” but the man is deserving of a more clever nickname. Jonas Jerebko is nothing but hustle. He’s Swedish. He has remarkably good looks and perfectly manicured hair. He looks like he belongs in a suave suit and skinny tie, not a basketball uniform. He is the perfect storm for fan favoritism. It boggles my mind that Jerebko doesn’t have a clever moniker by now. Let’s get to work on this immediately!
Perhaps the least loved player on the Pistons current roster. “Charlie V” was given a huge contract that he never came close to living up to, and Pistons fans cannot wait to watch this guy leave town. He is also a member of the lame "initials + jersey number = nickname" club (“CV31”) so there isn’t much to like here. Considering his colossal failure in Detroit, maybe we should call him “Money Pit” during his final days in the motor city.
Brandon Jennings broke the only rule of nicknames by giving himself one in high school. He even has it tattooed across the back of his shoulders. (C’mon, Brandon. That’s not even clever. You just stole Drake’s nickname.) In case you haven’t figured it out already, he calls himself “Young Money.” Milwaukee Bucks fans took to calling him “Young Buck” after the beginning of his rookie season, but his game soon crashed back to earth which stunted his nickname growth. He’s also been referred to as “The Pterodactyl” which makes absolutely no sense. (Maybe that’s why it makes sense?)
Like Josh Smith, Jennings has a reputation for taking bad shots, but he also has a reputation for making a good amount of those bad shots. He’s the ultimate “No! Wait, YES!” shooter. I’m inclined to start calling him “Machiavelli” because the end justifies the means. You’re going to hate when the Pistons are down by two points with only seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and watching Jennings control the ball only to throw up a contested, leaning, off-balance, turnaround three point shot at the buzzer until you see that ridiculous circus shot fall a couple of times. It’s going to happen. Prepare yourselves now, Pistons fans.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also already has a nickname – “KCP.” I have also heard somebody call him “The Alphabet” because of it. Whlie I like “The Alphabet” better than the boring player initials approach, “KCP” seems to be what sticks. With that being said, Detroit is hoping KCP will add an outside scoring threat to this year’s team. If he can become a consistently good three point shooter in Motown, perhaps “KC-3PO” might be a nice variation, or, with seven syllables in his name, I suppose we could also go with "The Mouthful."
Here is another guy who should have a nickname by now. Tony Mitchell probably doesn’t have one because he played at North Texas University. (I know. I didn’t know there was a North Texas University either, but there is. I swear I am not making this up.) The kid is an absolute freak of an athlete. We could call him “The Freak,” but honestly, that’s a little too generic.
If Mitchell plays well enough to crack the Pistons rotation, fans will love the way he plays. (Think of Jason Maxiell on a good day.) He could become a complete disaster though. (Think of Jason Maxiell on a normal day.) We don’t know enough about this guy to slap a fun name to him yet so we'll have to revisit this one, but let's hope his nickname doesn't eventually become "Jason Maxiell."
Kyle Singler has had quite a few nicknames over the years. While sporting a shaggy do at Duke University, fans called him “The Wig.” He was one of several players featured in the documentary Gunnin’ for That #1 Spot and went by “Wireless” and “Shampoo” at times during the film. Corey Maggette, last season’s unofficial team nickname creator, called him “K-Smooth” which goes nicely with Josh Smith’s “J-Smoove.” He has also earned the name “Buckets” for his Kyle Gets Buckets videos (which he is still making to this day. If you’re not familiar with these, you’re missing out. Click the link and be entertained for the rest of the evening.)
Peyton Siva has been called “PeyPey” by his mother for years. It’s also in his Twitter handle, and quite frankly, it works. Let's move on.
Will Bynum has been around Detroit long enough to garner himself a few nicknames. “Bynumite” and “Will the Thrill” have been tossed around quite a few times in reference to his explosively exciting style of play. It would be interesting to see which one Bynum would use if he had the opportunity to throw one of them on the back of his jersey.
Luigi Datome prefers his current nickname “Gigi” above his actual birth name, so I doubt anything else will be catching on. (Maybe "Super Mario Brother?")Gigi is a prime candidate to become this season’s new fan favorite and nicknames tend to come with such beloved territory. I have been calling him “The Italian Walter Herrmann” for a while now, but the more obvious choice of “Italian Stallion” might ring out among Detroit fans. We could even call him “Downtown Datome” if he keeps true to his reputation as a shooting specialist. If you have better suggestions, which shouldn’t be that hard to come up with considering my poor attempts, feel free to add them to the pile!
Rodney Stuckey already has an established nickname, but nobody ever seems to use it. He has been called “Hot Rod” since before he was playing college ball. With such a name, it's perfectly fitting that he landed in the motor city. It’s not a great name, but it’s not awful either (kind of like his game.) It makes even more sense when he is in a Pistons jersey. Perhaps it was destiny for Stuckey to be drafted by Detroit, get way over-hyped by his front office, and go on to disappoint Pistons fans by never reaching their lofty expectations of him.