The campaign to find a nickname for Kevin Durant has gotten out of control.
Earlier this week, ESPN gave the movement a Twitter hashtag. That seemed downright absurd. But then, #NAMEDURANT actually started trending. Enough people cared about the Thunder superstar’s nickname that it was one the hottest topics on the social media site.
What in the name of Darryl “Chocolate Thunder” Dawkins is going on here?
Nicknames have long been a staple in basketball, even going back to the days of Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain and Oscar “The Big O” Robertson, but then, having a special moniker was often a sign of superstar status. These days, every player drawing an NBA paycheck seems to have a nickname. Miami and Brooklyn played earlier this season with every player wearing his nickname rather than his last name on the back of his jersey.
The whole thing has become an infatuation, and right now, the face of craze is Durant.
Is he The Slim Reaper? Iceberg Slim? Iceman Slim? Durantula? The Servant?
Durant actually nicknamed himself The Servant during All-Star Game weekend, saying that he liked to serve everyone from teammates to fans to ushers at the arena.
(Seemed like a nice counterbalance to and maybe even a slight jab at his biggest rival, LeBron James, who comes to town Thursday night. The Chosen One vs. The Servant.)
“I was definitely joking around with The Servant thing,” Durant said Wednesday after practice.
“You can call me Kevin. You can call me KD,” he said. “A lot of people are trying to make up nicknames for me, but Kevin and KD, I’ll stick with those two.”
For good reason: Kevin is his given name and KD is his nickname.
Yes, Durant already has a nickname, and it’s a pretty darn good one at that. KD is classic. Simple. Rolls off the tongue even.
There’s a line in an ESPN.com story about Durant’s nickname that says, “Despite being one of the game’s biggest stars, Durant never has truly embraced a nickname,” but that just ain’t true. Yes, he’s never truly embraced one of those made-up nicknames. And who can blame him?
I mean, they’re funny and creative, but does anyone really want to be called that by other people?
“Hey, Durantula, we’re going to Arby’s. Want anything?”
No, no, no. No one is ever going to do that.
“We love you, KD.”