Remember the XFL? No? The failed football league was famous for players having nicknames on the back of their jerseys. The NBA apparently likes the idea and might bring nickname jerseys back.
The NBA’s nickname jersey plan isn’t quite as ridiculous as the XFL’s was. According to a report, the league is interested in testing out the jersey idea during one of four Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets matches.
The matchup makes sense to choose. The NBA wants to use a highly publicized match to see if the new jerseys would be popular the fans. Unlike the XFL, which went all in on nickname jerseys, the NBA wants to test a sample size first.
The most famous XFL nickname jersey was “HE HATE ME,” worn by running back Rod Smart. He was third in rushing in 2001 with 555 yards and averaged 3.8 yards per carry. The XFL folded after its first season and “HE HATE ME” never found success in the NFL.
The problem with the XFL, and its jerseys, was that it was seen as a novelty. The NBA could have the same problem with nickname jerseys. Would fans really buy a LeBron James jersey with the name “King James” on the back? What about a Kobe Bryant Lakers jersey with the name “#VINO” instead of his real name?
If the NBA goes through with the idea, it will be interesting to see how fans react. Most moves like this are designed to drive up merchandise sales. Maybe today’s hashtag culture is ready for a new kind of jersey.
Would you by an NBA nickname jersey? What are some good nickname choices for popular players?
[image via Wikimedia Commons]