As the Peach Basket’s self-declared nickname expert/unemployed person, I’ve taken it upon myself to look into Paul George’s startling dearth of nicknames. As Jay Kang pointed out on Grantland earlier today, George is now officially one of the NBA’s best players, and he’s still without a proper nome de guerre. It’s not his fault he was born with two first names! Let’s fix this troubling situation.
Below are a couple of names I came up with today instead of applying for jobs.
“PG”: So boring. We can do better, America.
Boy George: No one would ever call someone this, unless that someone was actually Boy George.
The Duke of Lanky-Caster: This one didn’t get out of R&D, but I’m willing to reconsider it.
Here’s are a few that I think have a fighting chance.
The Apostle: Almost have to disqualify this b/c of my distaste for religious-themed nicknames. But also: can you imagine George going bananas in the playoffs and having Charles Barkley just yell “Apoooooosssssssss-ulllllllllllllllllllll” over his highlights? I can.
The Professional: George gets everything done, all the time. He’s an absurd, versatile defender, he can score like crazy (especially this season), and he spent the offseason learning how to crouch lower while he dribbles. He took a contract that gives the Pacers more flexibility going forward. These are the things a professional does. Let’s just hope he doesn’t have to kill Gary Oldman or anything.
This has the added bonus of calling George “The Young Professional” as we enjoy the early stages of his career.
Prince: Something just seems sort of regal about him. In interviews and elsewhere, he seems reserved, “mild-mannered” (see also: “The Professional”). That’s what I’d ask for in a royal figure. Plus ‘Prince George’ has some legs, because there is an important baby in England with the same name. Also the opportunities for Chappelle’s Show Basketball Prince references would increase dramatically, which isn’t a bad thing, but could probably get played out pretty quickly.
“King George” doesn’t work, because “King” is still LBJ’s nickname. Although LeBron’s pretty much already at that sort of Brazilian soccer star-thing, where he just goes by one name. In fact, I think his “King” nickname exists solely for headline puns. Regardless, We can’t have two Kings. If anything, I think ‘Prince’ fits into the narrative of the NBA’s most intriguing rivalry: Paul George vs. LeBron*. It’s got some royal intrigue—the Prince wants to usurp the King! Coronations! Cotillions! The dap of the century holds new weight.
Plus, if George is the Prince, when Indy and Miami inevitably square off in the Eastern Conference Finals I can walk around the sports bar shouting, “BEHOLD THE MEATY BED OF ROYALTY.” Anything to get more Joe Wenderoth in my life.
The final nickname I’d like to propose is an admitted dark horse. It’s one that bucks a lot of nickname history. Traditionally, nicknames can be A) consolidations (CP3, T-Mac, ‘Melo); B) interpolations (Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon, Glen “Big Baby” Davis); or C) replacements (Paul Pierce is “The Truth,” Darryl Dawkins is “Chocolate Thunder”, my man Marcin Gortat is “THE POLISH HAMMER”**). (Also I’m still hammering out the nickname taxonomy, so that’s subject to change).
It’s a nickname that acts as suffix, which, in the complicated physics of arbitrary/alliterative cognomen, is almost unheard of. Like, you would never say: Kevin Garnett The Big Ticket.
Nevertheless, what I’m proposing is this:
Paul George Costanza.
I have no reasoning behind this. At least none as strong as the reasoning I have for Paul “Prince” George. I just think it’d be nice to give the guy a real last name, and I think it’d be hilarious to think that, during some crucial free throws in a playoff game, he’s worried about how someone called him “very careful with his money.”
Join me, won’t you? Make this world a Paul George Costanza world.
- The Dream Shake
*OK, look, the Durant-James rivalry is great, but they don’t see each other very often; they’ve only played one playoff series (which was really only up for grabs for a handful of games); and they’re different players. Paul George and LeBron see each other a bunch during the regular season, they pretty much HAVE to beat each other to get to the Finals, and they’re the same sort of Swiss Army Knife/hybrid wing that no one thought could exist as little as a decade ago. LeBron is a world-destroying basketball hurricane—he’s the consummation/exaggeration of everything we think we know about the game. Durant is an extraterrestrial. His size and skill set don’t compute. You can say he’s a Gervin-like scoring Savant, but the Iceman wasn’t 6’11 with a 7-foot-plus wingspan. It’s like in Star Trek: First Contact, when the Vulcans come down to earth and give a bunch of Earth-people in fleece jackets the power of intergalactic flight. What I mean to say is, remember when Lavarr Burton had those robot eyes instead of his visor? I didn’t like those at all.
** Emphasis added, though it shouldn’t be necessary.