NBA Blurb: Nicknames on jerseys are unprofessional

When I see a nickname on the back of a jersey, I think, “Man, is this kid is still wearing his rec jersey from high school?” Or, “Oh, that must be an inside joke from your sorority sisters.”

Yes, basketball is a game. But the NBA is a profession, which means it should be professional.

We expect players to be classy on and off the court and if we take the professionalism on the court away, then what will become of off-court behavior?

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Honestly, I think allowing nicknames to be printed on the back of jerseys is unacceptable.

Nicknames should not be represented on the uniforms of any professional sports teams. When a player is in his uniform, he is working, and a jersey with a nickname is like wearing something inappropriate to work. When a player is on the court and on the job, he or she should be respecting that jersey and the team by wearing a garment that isn’t supposed to represent some sort of joke.

Having a nickname on a name tag at work or a place card on a desk would be quite juvenile, wouldn’t it? Even many colleges have taken away players’ last names from the backs of jerseys because they want players to play for the name on the front of their jersey, not the one on the back.

Now, don’t get me wrong, nicknames are fun and memorable. They keep people grounded, especially when those nicknames come from old friends or new friends that help deepen the chemistry on a team. They are, however, not professional. Allowing NBA players and players from other professional sports teams to put their nicknames on the back of their jersey takes away from the respect they should receive as professionals.

Nicknames should not replace the real names of the players who signed up for the job. Nicknames do not define you. “King James” is a great PR resource, and has even become a household name, but he is still LeBron James, a real person, with a real name that should be recognized.


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