Rumors surfaced earlier this week that the NBA would consider allowing the Heat and Nets to wear nicknames on the back of their jerseys for a matchup this season.
At Thunder Media Day on Friday, Russell Westbrook was asked about the idea and seemed intrigued.
“That's kind of interesting,” Westbrook said. “I just now saw that. It would probably be something fun, but there would probably be some limitations to what people can put on their jerseys.”
Westbrook said he'd put “Why not?” on the back of his jersey, paying homage to his self-created motto. Serge Ibaka, meanwhile, said he'd put “Avec Classe,” a French term meaning “with class” that Ibaka uses to promote himself on a consistent basis.
There has been no official announcement from the NBA, but the idea seems to be gaining steam.
“I like the idea of bringing nicknames,” Kevin Durant told ESPN earlier this week. “I think that would be pretty cool to see what other players come up with. But I wouldn't put Durantula on the back of mine, that's not my nickname. I'd put KD before I'd put Durantula on the back of mine.”
DURANT PRAISES WADE, BUT STANDS BY TOP-10 COMMENT
During an interview on Tuesday, Kevin Durant used a combined eight words to effectively set the NBA digital world aflame. Talk about efficiency.
Replying to a question regarding Sports Illustrated's top-10 list of NBA players, he said “I think you're missing James Harden,” and he should replace “Dwyane Wade.”
The reaction was quick and explosive: Wade responded via Instagram, clearly taking it as a slight and vowing to prove him wrong. Durant followed with a brief and effective rebuttal (“show me don't tweet me”).
Some have suggested that the whole thing was a marketing ploy.
On Thursday, Wade shot that down, maintaining that his reaction was authentic.
“He had an opinion, I had a response and there you have it,” Wade told reporters at a fashion event in Miami.
On Friday, Durant didn't backtrack. But he did seem intent on making it clear that his advocacy for Harden shouldn't be viewed as an insult to Wade.
“Dwyane Wade is a great, great player, man,” Durant said. “I'm not discrediting anything he's done or nothing like that. I just voiced my opinion. He's a great, great player. Finals MVP and champion. I didn't mean to disrespect that or take that away from him or anything. I just voiced my opinion as of today. I love you D-Wade. It's just competition.”
GARRETT, MCGRUDER ADDED TO ROSTER
The Thunder has added Diante Garrett and Rodney McGruder to its preseason roster.
Garrett is a second-year guard who played 19 games for the Suns last season, and McGruder is a rookie from Kansas State who earned All-Big 12 honors last year.
Both face steep odds when it comes to making the team. But in their brief workouts and pickup games since arriving in OKC, the duo has made an impression.
“Rodney McGruder's looking real good for us,” Durant said. “Diante Garrett has been playing well in pickup. Guys that I didn't know too much about coming in have really been playing well and surprising me. And I'm excited for those guys.”
SEFOLOSHA CHANGES HIS NUMBER TO 25
Thabo Sefolosha has a message for fans who have purchased his jersey in the past.
“Sorry to the 19 people who had No. 2 (jerseys),” Sefolosha joked, as he sauntered into media day rocking his new No. 25, a jersey number that became open when DeAndre Liggins was released.
The reason for the change? “Because I like it,” Sefolosha said. “It's just a number that I like. No special meaning. It's time for a change.”
*Kendrick Perkins, when asked about what the team missed when Westbrook went out in the playoffs: “Russell gives our team swag. He gives our team swag. I feed off of him. I been noticing at all times, if I'm on the court and I have a frown on my face, I know one other person on the court has a frown on his face and that's Russell. In the playoffs, I couldn't find it.”
*Durant when asked about his charitable efforts after the tornado: “I think with the tornado, I wanted to do my job to help. Maybe that was giving money, or maybe that was just giving hope and I think our team does that just by stepping on the court every day and just representing. On the road, we have Oklahoma City across our chests and that means a lot. Kind of like we're the little dogs fighting against the bigger cities and I think we're holding our own no matter who we play against. I think when you're talking about the best organizations in sports, you have to put Oklahoma City in there.”
*Hasheem Thabeet on his work in South Africa with Ibaka and Sefolosha for Basketball Without Borders: “It's great, man. It's great for us to go out and actually give back. When I was growing up, we didn't have camps like that. So for me to get a chance to go over there and, you know, those kids look up to guys like myself, Thabo and Serge. So it's just great. It's always a fun experience. Even though we are teaching the kids as coaches, we are getting something out of it as well. It was a great experience.”