|Norris Cole's nickname on display|
Both Brooklyn Nets games this past weekend had a gimmick attached.
They took part in the nickname game on Friday night versus the Miami Heat, which saw all the players sport nicknames on their jerseys instead of surnames.
Designating games where all wear nicknames is forced fun. If teams want variation with their uniforms, that’s what alternates are for, and that’s why they should be worn sparingly. The enjoyment of nicknames disappears quickly if there is no uniqueness nor tradition sustaining them. And then there’s the fact this sort of nickname display isn’t even fun initially.
Players either have to shirk the spirit of the gimmick and go with something tame as their nickname, such as their initials, or risk looking silly with something like “Big Ticket” or “King James” on their back.
The next night the Nets played in Toronto, which was hosting “Drake Night”. The Nets were merely the opposition and didn’t have any uniform changes, but it was a second-consecutive night for them where the basketball game itself wasn’t diversion enough.
Fans at the arena received black t-shirts with a gold Raptors’ primary logo on the front and Drake-related designs, also in gold, on the back and sleeve. Drake revealed at a press conference that the lining of his suit jacket was an old Raptors jersey.
The Nets are well-suited to such frivolity because they’ve been in close proximity to the gimmick since moving to Brooklyn. They may on first impression seem like a sensible franchise in terms of appearance, but that’s not really the case.
Their black and white colour scheme, adopted when they became the Brooklyn Nets for the start of last season, was an unnecessary departure from the blue and red of their past. It drew attention to them, not just because it was different for them and the league, but because it was so simple. Not a pure gimmick, but a move that was part of adopting a cool persona at the expense of their history.