Samaki Walker: it’s not just a name, it’s a lifestyle…and an ivory pimp clothing line
With the NBA Draft going down tonight, I wanted to write something. I love basketball. Sadly, I don’t follow any college sports whatsoever. Nor do I particularly care for any mock drafts that are usually full of meaningless poop. So my options were to praise players other people have told me are amazing or clown players other people told me are garbagio.
Then it occurred to me: I was going to make a list of my favorite player names from drafts past. Just like writing for ESPN.com, this idea required no real analytical tools! Eat shit, Chad Ford!
I mistakingly called Mr. Dooling “Kenyon” for a while, sorta like Kanye was “Kayne” or “Kane” West when he first came out. The name “Keyon” rhymes with “Deion” and “Freon” that’s already an amazing name for a black athlete. “Dooling” sounds just like “Dooley,” the last name of the character the great Ed O’Neill played to perfection in the 90s classic Dutch. Sure, he got shot in the nuts with a BB gun from his unruly stepson, but Dutch also was a certified badass who loved fireworks and fisticuffs.
Keyon Dooling sounds like a smooth operator, a flashy cornerback, and a klutz all at once. In his NBA career, he’s been a fairly average outside shooter that was drafted by the Clippers when they were trying to resurrect themselves as the “cool, young hip” squad in LA that still smoked weed, partied, and ultimately sucked at playing basketball just the same as another LA basketball team not named the Lakers.
See also: Donnie Boyce, James Cotton, Maceo Baston, Laron Profit, Korleone Young
I’ve been infatuated with McDyess’ name for almost a decade. He’s always appeared to be a really nice guy on the court, but any man with the word “dice” is his name is gonna be one tough prick. Bonus points for his name ditching the correct phoenetic spelling and throwing a “yess” in there.
“Antonio” by itself is a romantic name, associated with cheap cologne and Pathmark flowers. But combined with an Irish prefix in “Mc” and a strong, simple “Dyess” unlocks a door that few have ever explored: a gigolo who brings his hard hat to work every day. Injuries have shrunken Antonio from the next great power forward Denver, Phoenix and the Knicks hoped for, to a damn good spot starter/reserve on a veteran Pistons squad.
See also: Priest Lauderdale, Vonteego Cummings, Dontonio Wingfield
The prediction on the back of Gary Trent’s ’97 Fleer basketball card was way off–he average 8ppg and 4 board over 8 years in the league with 4 different teams. Gary Trent not only soundedlike a big bruising low-post player, but he also could’ve been a punishing middle linebacker or a government agent. Drafted by the Bucks and immediately traded for my favorite Michigan State album Shawn Respert, Trent was even killing it at Ohio where he was nicknamed “The Shaq of the MAC,” a nickname much better than the quasi-homosexual “Baby Shaq” that is stuck to Tyrus Thomas.
Gary Trent was one of the few players whose name perfectly fit his game. No flash, no celebratory dunks, no god awful tattoos that incorporated a basketball, a crucifix, and his own name in cursive–just a body who went to work.
See also: Lou Roe, Malik Rose, DeJaun Wheat, Joe Forte, Acie Law
Seriously, how can you not root for a guy named “Moochie?” “Norris” is associated with Chuck as well as one of the worst blocks to live on in Philly, so street cred isn’t a problem when your first name rhymes with a lady’s parts. Moochie can also be the name of s second basemen playing for the 1970s Montreal Expos, the neighborhood crackhead trying to get his life together, and a pitbull from one of DMX’s videos.
See also: Scoonie Penn, Tito Maddox, Luther Head, Lawrence Funderburke
I’ve absolutely hated Tyronn Lue. He didn’t even exist in my life until the Allen Iverson hit that bucket and stepped over him during the ’01 Finals. And his name flat out sucks, just like his game.
But man, does his name suck magnificently! Instead of “Tyrone” or “Tyron” his first name has an extra “n” for no discernible reason. It’s like when people add an extra “g” to Greg–hate that!!! With his last name, the only acceptable way to spell the sound “Loo” is L-O-U or L-E-W. “Lue” almost looks Asian and reminds me of Liu Kang from “Mortal Kombat” but Tyronn Lue has no memorable fatality. And I still hate his WNBA braids.
See also: Cal Bowdler, Bryan Bracey, Von Wafer, Matt Fish
With a name this offputting, he might as well be European because anyone without a media guide is going to whisper it to themselves three times, with different pronounciations on each attempt, until finally they settle on something like “Aaron Aflo.” Arron Afflalo’s name is the opposite of economic–it’s like paying for premium gas when you drive a Beretta.
See also: Geert Hammink, Torraye Braggs, Jake Tsakalidis
I love the idea of a guard who could also be a gay poet.
See also: Voshon Leonard, Gaylon Nickerson, Terry Dehere, Marlon Maxey