The news of Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant's new nickname for teammate Steve Nash has been bandied about the Internet for a few days, but you'll have to excuse us for the fact that (besides its inclusion in a link round-up) we didn't touch on it. There was turkey to eat, dishes to clean, sandwiches to make out of that turkey, then football to watch, then soup to make because we were sick of the turkey sandwiches. I still haven't gotten to the soup dishes.
It's still a marvelous turn of phrase, though. Probably because Nash's new haircut prominently featuring a side-part, Kobe has taken to calling Steve "Gatsby." We've taken to thinking that this is the best NBA nickname in years, as he references F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic "The Great Gatsby" -- a book that predates the NBA by a good 20 years.
From the Los Angeles Times, as Kobe discusses the work he has to put in with Nash, currently injured, on the sideline:
"I'm not working too hard, to be honest with you. The shots that I made were all jumpers. It doesn't take much energy to knock those jumpers down," he said. "Bringing the ball up and having me kind of initiate the offense and score and stuff like that, it's making me work a little more than I will when Gatsby gets back.
"When Gatsby gets back, I don't have to do that. The game's going to become even more easy for me."
When Gatsby does return from his fractured fibula, the Lakers are going to be something else entirely. Maybe not the league's best team, but a must-watch as the best shooting and point guard of their generation team together to try and bring Los Angeles another championship.
Of course, it's not especially surprising that Bryant is quick to make a comparison to Nash and — again, we're guessing — Jay Gatsby's 1920's-styled side-part.
The book continues to be required reading for thousands of high school students working their way up the 20th century in American Literature class. Kevin Garnett once ranked the book as his favorite piece of literature, though that may have changed since his move to Massachusetts. And Kobe Bryant, not unlike Gatsby's Nick Carraway, is no stranger to green lights.
And, 1,272 combined regular and postseason games into his career, it's about dang time for Steve Nash to earn a proper nickname. Even if it took a $200 haircut to buy his way in.
As The Basketball Jones' Trey Kerby pointed out last week ("last week," again … but there was turkey), Nash hasn't ever really been credited with a transcendent nickname. For a lot of the greats, something like that can demean their brilliance, and there's no point to shoehorn one in (nobody ever strained to call Bill Russell "Beatnik Bill") just for the sake of having one. No commentator or writer will be pulling up this "Gatsby" nick once the playoffs roll around, but it's a nice diversion as we wait out Nash's return to the court.
In all, this almost makes up for Kobe Bryant giving himself his own nickname in "Black Mamba," and ending all his Facebook posts with "Mamba out." Nearly. Almost. Not quite.
Steely Dwyer out.
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