I started thinking about a nickname for Rajon Rondo this summer, when I -- a general fan of wordplay -- noticed that the letters in his last name could be arranged to spell "donor," a particularly apt anagram for a man who plays his position. But that lacks pop, and I couldn't do anything interesting with it.
In the preseason, I toyed with the idea of taking the last three letters in his first name and calling him "Jonny Rondo." I still like this one; if you were choosing up sides in a pickup basketball game and had no other information other than a list of names, you'd pick Jonny Rondo well before you took Rajon Rondo. Urban youths hear tale of Jonny Rondo, the playground legend; meanwhile, we can't seem to come to a consensus on how to even pronounce "Rajon." I'm the commissioner of a fantasy basketball league with some friends at law school, and I even named the league "Jonny Rondo's Roundball Revue" (taking the league's namesake near the top of the third round).
But I ultimately decided that this wasn't quite suitable, at least not for me and for this blog. For one, I didn't want to make it appear that I was "whitening" his given name. For two, there's already a Jonny I write quite a bit about on here (Flynn, Minnesota's rookie point guard).
But I've got it. It's a nickname I've had stored up for a while now, and in light of Rondo's recent performances (38 assists in the last three games), he's earned it.
I've run this nickname by three people, two of whom didn't understand it, and all of whom said that I was putting too much faith in the average NBA fan, so some explanation may be in order. An apothecary is what they used to call pharmacists (I think they still might in places like the UK). And what do Rajon Rondo and an apothecary have in common?
They both distribute the pill.
(For sake of completeness, perhaps I should explain that "pill" is my favorite slang term for the basketball.)
Why "The Apothecary" instead of "The Pharmacist?"
Again, there are a couple of reasons. (There are always a couple of reasons.) First, "The Pharmacist" is a nickname you might expect to hear in connection with baseball's steroids scandal. That's not an association we're going for here. Second, to my mind at least, an apothecary isn't your typical druggist. An apothecary wears a white coat, has wild hair, and works late into the night. An apothecary has a mad scientist feel. Rondo's quirky personality and assortment of moves and options to choose from make the name a perfect it.
Tell your friends.