Flair is an under appreciated metric in the NBA. What do I mean by “flair?” I mean that certain something that sets a player apart as singular. Think Anthony Davis’ unibrow, or Kareem’s sky-hook. Think of how Russell Westbrook dunks like the rim insulted his entire family, or how Larry Johnson dressed up like a grandma to sell sneakers. Think Beno Udrih, and the bleach blonde ponytail he has this season. Would I be talking about Beno Udrih right now if he didn’t inexplicably have that bleach blonde ponytail? Probably not. Beno Udrih gets it. Don’t sleep on flair.
Anyway, the NBA season is about 1/8th done. Hard to believe seeing as it’s only mid-November, but hey, that’s math. Some of the players mentioned below are off to good starts, others… maybe not so much. All however, need to add some flair, if they hope to take their game to the next level, and set themselves apart from the rest of the NBA.
Andrew Wiggins Needs a Nickname
Andrew Wiggins is, thus far, having a great year. He’s averaging 26.6 points per game for a Minnesota team that, while off to a slow start, has a lot of potential. Slowly but surely, Wiggins is establishing himself as one of the league’s best young players. What he’s lacking though, is a snappy nickname. Okay, yes, a check of Basketball Reference (the pseudo-authority on NBA player nicknames) does indicate that he already has a pretty great nickname, “Maple Jordan.” But, all the great athletes, even American Maple Jordan himself, have multiple nicknames. That is why it is vital that Andrew Wiggins henceforth be (additionally) known as “Ender.”
You see, much like Ender Wiggin, the protagonist of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, Andrew Wiggins was recruited at a young age to help lead a ragtag group of misfits to prominence. And you see, much like Andrew Wiggins, Ender Wiggin’s real first name is Andrew. It’s almost (one “s” off, to be exact) too perfect. Imagine the potential calls when Andrew Wiggins hits a big shot: “YES! Wiggins puts Minnesota up by four with 2.8 to go. Ender puts an end to it! This is ENDER’S GAME.” There is no conceivable reason why this nickname should not happen. Andrew Wiggins is and forever shall be Ender Wiggins.
Brandon Jennings Needs an Eyepatch
Historically speaking, Brandon Jennings is not a good shooter. His career averages from the field, and from three, are below 40 percent. Presently speaking, Brandon Jennings is still not a good shooter. Through 11 games this season, he’s shooting 32 percent from the field and 28 percent from three. Something is obviously off, and those flashy behind-the-back fakes certainly aren’t making people forget the shooting woes. So, why not intentionally throw off his depth perception, and see if that helps adjust his aim.
Brandon Jennings should put on an eyepatch when he plays basketball. Maybe he’ll start shooting 50 percent from the field, maybe he’ll start shooting 15. Either way, he’ll still be the guy that was brazen enough to wear an eyepatch in an NBA game.
John Wall Needs a New Identity
Literally. The Wizards are in complete disarray. They’re getting killed on the regular, and sit at 2-8. Marcin Gortat has publicly called out their bench as one of the worst in the league. As I type this, I am watching a highlight of Marcus Thornton turning the ball over by just, straight up, falling down. John Wall deserves better than this.
The only real solution here is for John Wall to retire, walk away from the Wizards franchise completely. Then, one new hair-do, a thick mustache, and one slightly convincing accent later, he comes back as Jan Vall, John Wall’s German cousin. A completely different person, but with the same great talents as John Wall, Jan Vall is free to sign with any team that he chooses. Maybe he becomes the veteran star the Timberwolves need to dominate the league for years to come. Or maybe he joins up with a team like the Hawks, and becomes that star player they need to knock off LeBron in the East, and win a title. People will sometimes wonder what ever became of John Wall, after he retired and immediately vanished from the face of the Earth. Jan Vall though? Why, he will be remembered forever.
Paul George Needs a 10-Gallon Hat
Paul George is underrated as a superstar in this league. He is putting up great numbers to start the year, dominating both ends of the floor, yet his status remains that of the best player on a team that is simply okay. George’s superstar reputation is also probably not helped by the fact that he is most well-known for the time he broke his leg in an horrific fashion. What Paul George needs, is something that will serve to augment his fantastic play.
I’m talking to you directly now, Paul George: Start wearing a 10-gallon hat. Own it as you stroll into the arena pre-game. Rock it while you field questions from reporters post-game. During game time though, leave that thing in the locker room; let your play speak for itself on the court. People will be befuddled by the 10-gallon hat at first, but they’ll also be transfixed by it. Then, they’ll be transfixed by you, unable to understand how a player who chooses to wear a 10-gallon hat can be that good, physically unable to look away. From there, who knows? All-Star starter? Most Valuable Player? Hall of Fame? President? Grab their attention with something ridiculous, and there is no limit to how far you can take your career… Mister President.