Even Though You Kinda Suck, Your Name Lives On

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



  1. Holy shit! Other not so legendary draft picks include Serge Zwikker, Tim Floyd, Hanno Mottola, Lavor Postell, Omar Cook, Sherrell Ford, Loren Woods, Keon Clark, Bryce Drew, Ansu Sesay, Dion Glover, Jumaine Jones, A.J. Bramlett Jason Hart,, John Celestand, William Avery, Darius Miles, Marcus Fizer, Khalid El-Amin, Jerome Moiso, Kedrick Brown, Michael Bradley, Chris Herren, Scoonie Penn, Ousmane Cisse and Korleone Young to name a few.

    I HATED those old Gonzaga, Richmond and Valparaiso squads!

    Bryant “Big Country” Reeves SUCKED!


  2. Scoonie was one of my roommates back in college, before he bounced to Ohio State. Samaki Walker’s younger brother was up at school with us, too. He couldn’t really play ball worth a damn, but I’ll always remember him because he used to rock a pair of ski goggles on his head 24/7.

    And can I give a shout out to my high school teammate Troy Murphy?

    But anyway, my favorite NBA name would probably be Yinka Dare. I don’t know who the hell Geert Hammink is, but he would probably rank second for me.

  3. I think you forgot my two favorite NBA names:

    Muggsy Bogues and Shamgod Wells who later changed his name to God Shamgod. Too bad he didn’t play like a god. Don’t forget about Manute Bol either.


  4. Dart:

    I clearly rememer Serge Zwikker. He sounded like a villain in a James Bond movie with a eye patch.

    Loren Woods had a soft name and a soft game, he was just lucky enough to play with Tim Duncan at Wake for a short while.

    John Celestand was a Philly guy–it blows my mind how good Villanova was in the late 90s and the best NBA player to come out of that school was Tim Thomas, the defition of a 1st and 15th player (that’s when the checks are cut).

  5. No less than 3 Nuggets in there…McDyess had damn freaky hops in the day. Donnie Boyce used to wreck it in the old Big 8 up in Boulder. Cadillac Anderson…cool name, no-so-hot name.

    True story about Priest Lauderdale, so I heard. Dude was known for being very slack and lazy with his game…like practically walked through the whole thing. In pick up games teams used to take the trainers, ball boys, assistant coaches in their 60s before Priest.

  6. Yo Donnie Boyce was my shit on NBA Live. I used to bring him in off the bench and hit three’s all day! If McDyess’ knees didn’t get thrashed, I think he would’ve been one of the top 5 PF’s of the last 10 years–he was so explosive!

    I remember when Priest Lauderdale got drafted, the Hawks thought they were so lucky getting a “younger Dikembe Mutombo.” He was 7’4”, 320 lbs. and averaged 3 and 2 while playing 2 years in the NBA!!! When will GMs learn to say no to 7 footers who have no intensity/passion/work ethic? Most of them know just by being a tall drink of water they can make an easy mill just by standing in the lane and committing 4 fouls.

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