The Lakers’ chemistry this season has been at an all-time high. Throughout games this year, you’ll see the players smiling and joking around with each other on the bench and Dwight Howard (aka Superman) and LeBron James (King James) have even dished out a few nicknames to their Lakers teammates this season.
I’m going to start off by saying, I think these nicknames could use a little work. Some of them are a bit cringe-y. Some of them are just bad. Still, there are a few that fit the player pretty well.
Let’s start off by listing out the eight nicknames, so you can see them yourself, and decide what you think are the best before you see my ranking.
First, on a recent episode of “Backstage Lakers” on Spectrum SportsNet, Dwight listed off these nicknames:
- Danny Green: “Deadshot”
- Kyle Kuzma: “Kriss Kross”
- JaVale McGee: “Kareem Abdul-McGee”
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: “Smoke Dog” (this better not be on the top of your list, unless you are KCP, in which case I guess it’s fine to have confidence)
Here are a few other nicknames that Dwight and LeBron gave out in various places this season:
- Troy Daniels: “Layup”
- Jared Dudley: “Dudz”
- Frank Vogel: “Frank the Tank”
- Anthony Davis: “The Angry Bird” (stop it)
Now that you have seen all the names and have decided for yourself
that “The Angry Bird” is the worst one, here’s my list from worst to best.
8. Anthony Davis: “The Angry Bird”
Dwight gave Davis this nickname on Instagram (and quickly edited the post, so maybe even he realized it’s too bad for the light of day), but didn’t give a reason for the moniker. He changed it to “The Angry Davis.” Either way, both aren’t great. We all know “Angry Birds” as the game we played on our phones a few years ago, so maybe he got it from there? I mean, AD does kind of look like the red one, unibrow-wise.
Regardless, I can’t call him that nickname. Maybe that would’ve worked better when he was a Pelican. That would make some sense at least.
7. Kyle Kuzma: “Kris Kross”
Dwight called Kuzma “Kris Kross,” explaining it by saying “Kuz wears dreads like Travis Scott. He looks like he’s a part of the group Kris Kross.” Here’s a picture so you can see if you agree.
Now, I had to put this seventh on the list based of the fact that it’s not something you can call Kuzma all season, as he changes his hairstyle periodically. However, I will give Dwight credit that Kriss Kross and Kyle Kuzma have the same initials. I’m not sure if he did that on purpose, but if he did, then well done.
6. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: “Smoke Dog”
Dwight said that the reason he gave Caldwell-Pope that nickname is “because where there’s fire, there’s smoke... On the offensive end he’s on fire, and on the defensive end he’s smokin!”
Now look, I’m all for how Caldwell-Pope has been playing on both ends of the court this season, including shooting 46.4% from three in his last fourteen games, but I can’t see myself calling KCP, “Smoke Dog.” I just can’t.
5. Jared Dudley: “Dudz”
There wasn’t a reason offered for this nickname, but it’s pretty self-explanatory as to why it was given. Fans on social media have already picked up on this nickname and call him that at times when tweeting at him. It’s a pretty fun nickname, it just wasn’t creative enough to be higher on the list.
4. JaVale McGee: “Kareem Abdul-McGee”
Dwight yelled this out on the bench to McGee when he hit a hook shot in the paint. Now, is it a bit cringe? Sure, but it worked. JaVale has hit a few hooks this season, and every time he hits one, I immediately think of that nickname. So it’s definitely left its mark.
"KAREEM ABDUL MCGEE" - Dwight Howard pic.twitter.com/LDOU4EPIcf— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) November 9, 2019
3. Frank Vogel: “Frank the Tank”
LeBron gave Vogel this nickname after he won Coach of the Month for the Western Conference. Very rarely do coaches get a nickname, but with a player like LeBron, nobody is safe from a nickname.
Frank the Tank just fits Vogel so perfectly. It’s hard to explain how, but it just does. The Lakers are dominating so far this season, and Frank the Tank just seems like a great name for a coach of that team. The last Laker coach to have a nickname was Byron Scott, who also had tank in the name the fans gave him: “The Tank Commander.” I’m just glad tank is being used in a positive way now.
And who knows? Maybe Vogel is just a big fan of Will Farrell’s character in “Old School” and LeBron factored that into this.
2. Troy Daniels: “Layup”
LeBron gave Daniels this nickname because “every time he shoots a three, it’s a layup.” Now, Daniels hasn’t exactly lived up to his nickname, with a three-point percentage of 34.8%, although his last five games he’s shot 50.0% from three. I personally haven’t heard someone having that nickname before, so points for originality. Daniels has to start owning that nickname more though. After he hits a three, he should imitate himself scoring a layup like his teammates have done at times from the bench. That’s just a good free branding tip for you, Troy.
1. Danny Green: “Deadshot”
Dwight said that Green’s nickname is “Deadshot” because, “He’s a great shooter. I don’t see too many shots that he misses. So I think his shots are dead on.”
Now, like Daniels, Green hasn’t exactly lived up to the nickname so far. This season, Green has shot 37.9% from three which by any means isn’t bad. Deadshot was Will Smith’s character in the movie “Suicide Squad.” On Wikipedia, Deadshot is said to be “often considered as one of the deadliest assassins in the DC Universe”, and is a guy who basically never misses.
Regardless of Green’s percentage this season, though, Green has proven to be one of the deadliest three-point shooters in the league. Deadshot, to me, was easily the coolest and most fitting nickname on the list. It’s so good that Green even got it tattooed on himself. If you’re nickname is good enough that you’d permanently tattoo it on your body, you have to get bonus points for that. I don’t see Anthony Davis getting an Angry Birds tattoo.