Goodbye Thunder Dan

As part of our "Friday Free-For-All", Cat Tracks would like to introduce Judson "Judd" Graham as a guest columnist. He's decided to poke a little fun at the NBA in his first column attempt.

With Thunder Dan Majerle calling it quits this year, a certain era in the NBA is ending. No, not the era in which Thunder Dan drops threes on opposing defenses, that was the 90s. It is the era of the worthwhile nickname that has come to a non-climactic halt. I remember growing up watching "Magic", "Air Jordan", "The Dream", and "The Human Highlight Reel." Today it seems that the media is too busy reporting all of the felonies that the players have on their resumes, and they appear to have become too lazy to put any energy into worthwhile nicknames...thus the birth of the "one-liner moniker."

I was watching the NBA All-Star Game this year when it dawned on me that if a player is worthwhile in this league, they get a name shortening nickname. "J-Kidd cuts past C-Webb, throws it off the glass and T-Mac stuffs it!" It sounds simply ridiculous to me. We are no longer in the era of "Dr. J's", "Round mounds of rebounds", and "Chocolate Thunders." We have succumbed to such mediocrity in our nicknaming skills that we officially arrived in a time and place where it is acceptable to nickname players after corporate entities such as K-Mart (Kenyon Martin) and the barely more creative Reggie Miller-Time.

The reason that the nicknaming in the league is so boring is because the naming process is conforming to the NBA's unwritten, but highly practiced, rule of boring. If it is exciting, you can guarantee that it is not welcome in the league of the back-down, post-up, and clear out.

It seems like the only exciting things that happen in the NBA that anyone ever reads about anymore are pot busts, wife beatings, and attempted coach killings. I therefore propose a new nicknaming system.

I think that we should throw out our manners and start naming players for their inabilities, on and off the court. After shooting 38% from the field this year, yet complaining about not being named MVP, Jason Kidd could be nicknamed "Ason", for his lack of a "J."

As well, after losing to the Sacramento Kings in the Western Conference Playoffs, yet scoring what seemed like 200 points a game, the Mavericks could be nicknamed the "Allas Mavericks" for their lack of any "D."

The naming problems have become so dire that the Phoenix Suns have two different players nicknamed "Big Jake" and "Little Jake." Little Jake, for the record, is seven-feet tall. It seems to me that the media is afraid to use their creativity and spew out names like "Googli-oughtaretire", or "Penny Hurt-today."

The NBA game is boring enough to watch and listen to and if we continue to abandon the nicknames that added at least a little flair to the game, the game is going to end up being about exciting to watch as a Curling event. With next year approaching I am hopeful to see the NBA be overtaken by nicknames. The opportunity is here, but I fear that even next year in a draft that is seemingly nickname heaven with "Ming Dynasty" and "The Great Wall of China", we will still end up with more J-Wills, D-Goods, and D-Wags. At least the league of thug will be presented with more Dukies and another Boozer.

I am now leaving in search of some good nicknames that I can mass-market for the players. Maybe I am wrong, but these bland nicknames are not exciting and are definitely not "The Answer."

[Editor's Note--Judd is a student at the UofA and freqent visitor to Your input and feedback on his column are encouraged. Also, if you have a column idea, we'd love to read it. Send all comments to]

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