NBA fans, and those who make a living covering the NBA, have been trying to make a nickname stick on Kevin Durant since his rookie season. Attempts have ran the gamut from just his initials ‘K.D.’ to the horrible ‘Durantula’ moniker.
This is Durant’s seventh season in the NBA. I cannot remember a time when an athlete in any major sport got a nickname to stick this late into their professional career. A nickname is usually something a player receives at a young age and sticks throughout the rest of his career. If the nickname doesn’t stick, it’s not a good nickname.
Well, basketball fans (especially ESPN‘s Bill Simmons), are still obsessed with a Durant nickname. On The B.S. Report podcast, Simmons even asked Durant what he wanted to be called. His answer was worse than expected…
“I want to be called ‘The Servant’…because I like to serve everybody. My teammates. The ushers at the game. The fans.”
Really, Kevin? That is one of the lamest attempts at a nickname I’ve heard. Also, you can’t give yourself a nickname. If someone asked me what my nickname is, I’d pick something either very cocky or a term that shows I’m humble…Durant chose that route.
I know yesterday was a slow basketball news day with no games, but the madness needs to stop. Bill Simmons is making a habit of spending too much time trying to predetermine what people will agree to call something. He spent nearly an entire podcast with Grantland‘s Zach Lowe trying to decide if the New Orleans Pelicans will be referred to as ‘The Cans’ or ‘The Pels’ by their fans. This was all before they even played their first regular season game. I actually think ‘The P-Cans’ is what I’ve heard the most since (like the Minnesota T-Wolves)…so they were both wrong.
What we all need to realize is we don’t live in a ‘creative nickname’ society anymore. We just suffered through an entire decade of nicknames like ‘A-Rod’ and ‘C-Webb’. Individual names are different enough now that nicknames aren’t really needed. Guys aren’t all named Jim, Peter, George and Bill anymore.
Nicknames need to be organic. Just because a player is elite, it doesn’t mean we now need to force a nickname on them. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are two of the best quarterbacks ever and neither have a nickname.
Now that we all agree that every Durant nickname is horrible, let’s just stop trying. ‘Slim Reaper’ is a nice try, but it’s still not fully-accepted by the public (or by Durant himself).
Don’t get me wrong, I love a solid nickname, but if it’s not there, it’s not there. Let’s just enjoy Durant on the court and stop with the noise.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.