It is typically considered bad form for an athlete (or really any person) to give himself his own nickname. Typically, a nickname arises from what others see in an individual, not his conception of himself. Nevertheless, Kobe Bryant successfully affixed the "Black Mamba" name to himself years ago, and it's become enough of a trademark that he's made a habit of hissing on the court.
So, in 2013, there is some precedent for players coming up with new nicknames simply because they want to. Apparently Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade has decided to turn this isolated incident into a trend. Unfortunately, his MVP teammate LeBron James thinks he is being ridiculous. From Ethan Skolnick of The Palm Beach Post (via EOB):
LeBron James was so amused by Dwyane Wade’s new self-proclaimed nickname that he dared Wade to reveal it to the media before doing so himself.
“It’s ‘WOW,’ Way of Wade,” James said, referring to the slogan for Wade’s Li-Ning shoes. “I think it’s corny.”
Wade, who discarded the “Flash” nickname two years ago, did not concur. [...]
“I’m taking it global!” he shouted.
Wade jumped to Li-Ning from Jordan Brand in September, so it's possible that he's just trying to draw attention to the fledgling shoe company. At the same time, "WOW" has an obvious double entendre without the speed-based connotations of "Flash." At 31 years old, Wade is no longer the athletic dynamo he once was, but he's still a great player who regularly makes amazing plays. Fans can still be shocked by the amazing things he does.
That said, I'm on LeBron's side. Nicknames require some art are cleverness, and "WOW" is roughly akin to a nickname like Kevin "Awesome" Durant or JaVale "Yikes" McGee. "Flash" worked because it referenced a superhero, "King James" works for LeBron because he comes across as a history-altering ruler, etc. No one wants to use a nickname that bluntly describes a reaction to watching someone play.
Back to the drawing board, Dwyane. Might I suggest something to do with fatherhood? It could be clever and send a good message.
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