It’s not just a NBA game, it’s a name

Joe Harrington

The Mail Man, The Admiral, The Big Dog, The Worm, The Dream, Clyde the Glide, The Glove, The Rifleman, The Reign Man, The Alaskan Assassin, Dr. J, The Round Mound of Rebound, Grandmama, Magic, and my personal favorite: The Human-Highlight Film.

It’s not the Las Vegas shooting, or the Kobe Bryant and Isiah Thomas sexual tales of intrigue that have ruined the NBA and their television ratings – It’s the nicknames!

When I was a kid – meaning 10 years ago – every worthy basketball player had a cool nickname (except for John Stockton, who only needed the short-shorts, and Patrick Ewing, who Knicks fans referred to by numerous four letter words). Today’s media can’t think of anything better than “King James” or “Shaq” or the one that makes absolutely no sense: “The Answer.”

So without changing the dress code so players can wear anything they want to work, I will fix the NBA and its image problem by giving the top players nicknames they deserve.

Carmelo “Mile High” Anthony

He does play in Denver, which means it’s kind of cheesy, but it does make sense. Carmelo is a candy bar. Anthony means Tony, and Carmelo doesn’t deserve that. So Mile High Anthony makes sense. It has nothing to do with his love of marijuana and flying on charter planes.

Tracy “Guaranteed” McGrady

He will be a guaranteed 20-plus points a game. He’s a guaranteed all-star, and, heck, he’ll even guarantee a playoff win. However, at the end of the season, when McGrady is hurt and his team loses in the first round, you’ll feel like you just bought a suit from Men’s Warehouse and you didn’t like the way you looked.

Ron “8-mile” Artest

He raps and made a name for himself in Detroit.

“Captain Kirk Hinrich”

If the NBA can get the Star Trek fans on its side, they will go where no geek has gone before: A sporting event.

Ray “Jesus Shuttlesworth” Allen

This is the most non-creative name ever, but, hey, bring back the name that got Allen a sex scene with Rosario Dawson in He Got Game.

Dirk(spell check wanted me to remove the “D” in his name) ” The Germ” Nowitzki.

He’s ugly. He’s German. And he is killed easily when he gets in warm conditions, like the playoffs.

Rasheed “Baldwin” Wallace

Obviously, the Baldwin-Wallace thing, but I was thinking more Alec Baldwin and his amazingly similar temper. The only difference is that Rasheed was never married to Kim Basinger.

Lebron “LeBayless” James

Is there a more idiotic guy on Sportscenter than Skip Bayless? Did “His Airness” ever get this much crap about not being the next Oscar Roberston?

Tony “I hate you” Parker

He’s French and he has a gorgeous Latin woman for a wife. Man, I hate the French.

Here are some nicknames that just don’t work anymore:

Kevin “The Kid” Garnett

Thirty-year-old players with youthful nicknames are not honest, and I’m all for honesty – I’m a journalist, just like Dan Rather.

Shawn “The Matrix” Marion

Just like the movies, his career started out great, with lots of talent and hope. But the later movies were confusing, just like Marion wanting to leave the Suns.

Steve “Maple Leaf” Nash

The only great Canadian import that my grandparents didn’t buy from a Toronto pharmacy.

Kobe “Teammate” Bryant

Just ask Shaq, Lamar Odom and “The Mail Man” about that nickname.

On second thought, maybe it is an image thing that has ruined the NBA…

Contact sports columnist Joe Harrington

at [email protected] and tell him who those

nicknames belong and any other nickname

suggestions for today’s players.