April 26, 2010
Nicknames are a tricky mistress. They are earned, for one thing. For instance, you can't give yourself a nickname unless you weigh more than 330 lbs., in which case, go crazy. Then again, sometimes you get a nickname you don't want. All it takes is one slip-up and you're getting called "Italian steakface" throughout high school. Like I said, tricky.
Even more tricky are NBA nicknames. Take a guy like Kevin Garnett. He's been called everything from "The Big Ticket" to "Da Kid," and the only thing that's stuck is "KG," which is the most boring style of nickname ever.
But sometimes events transpire that lead to a perfect convergence of player and circumstances which births a quite suitable nickname. As he told the Associated Press, that's how Dwight Howard got his new moniker.
You can call him "Foul on You."
"That's my new nickname. They've been killing me all day calling me ‘Foul on You,'" Howard said of his teammates after shootaround Monday before their playoff game against Charlotte. "So I've accepted my new role."
On the bright side, at least Shaquille O'Neal can't accuse him of stealing this act. On the not-so-bright side, it's not very catchy. But with 16 fouls in 82 playoff minutes, it's pretty fitting. And really, that's the way we should determine all nicknames — with cold, hard facts.
With that in mind, let's give out some nicknames based on inarguable truths to players that don't already have a good one.
• Pau Gasol: "Patchy Beard"
• Juwan Howard: "Old Legs"
• J.J. Barea: "Snooki"
• Stephen Jackson: "Ready to Punch"
• Jeff Foster: "Bananas"
• Kendrick Perkins: "Big Shorts"
When you're doing nicknames like this, it's quite a bit easier than trying to come up with something catchy like "Hot Plate" or "The Junk Yard Dog." In fact, if you put your mind and fingers to it, I bet you can whip up some of your own in that comments section down there. Give it a shot.