Thursday, February 4, 2010

A New Handle for the Point Guard

Paul Pierce is The Truth. Kevin Garnett is The Big Ticket. Ray Allen is Jesus Shuttlesworth. Time for Boston's newest All-Star to get a nickname of his own.

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.

The Apothecary.

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.


elalfano said...

Is this a contest? Are family members able to enter? If so, I would like to suggest The Rainmaker. Mom

rain·mak·er (rnmkr)
1. (Business / Commerce) chiefly an influential employee who creates a great deal of business or revenue for his or her firm
2. One who is believed to be capable of producing rain, as through magical or ritual actions.

sev said...


While I love the nickname and understood it without explanation, I think it's a little too complex for the average fan. People are generally stupid.

- Sev

Assistant Commisioner said...

As I said before, I tend to agree with Sev. But I also love the idea of giving him a moniker that involves distributing the pill. But are there other people that distribute pills besides an apothecary and a pharmacist?

I think Elaine's idea is also good, but reminds me too much of Shawn Kemp, aka The Rain Man. Or was it Reign Man?

Hayden Alfano said...

I mean, drug dealers hand out pills, too, but I'm not sure we want to go there.

Mom, I do like the Rainmaker name, although Joel's right...too reminiscent of Shawn Kemp. And was, indeed, Reign Man.