One of the hottest topics surrounding Kevin Durant lately doesn’t have to do with what he does on the court. It’s what his nickname should be.
Earlier this season, the idea of nicknaming Durant “The Slim Reaper” was introduced and it took off pretty well over the Internet.
But Durant doesn’t like the nickname.
In the interview above that Durant did with Grantland’s Bill Simmons over All-Star Weekend, Durant said he didn’t like “The Slim Reaper” and that he came up with a new nickname: The Servant.
Durant is as modest as it gets in the NBA. Throughout the course of this season, and pretty much his entire career, he takes very little credit for his personal accomplishments. He’s always saying things like, “My teammates are helping me…” or “I’m just doing whatever I can to help the team…”
That’s how he came up with the idea for the nickname “The Servant.” But I can guarantee Durant and the world one thing, no one is going to run with this new nickname Durant came up with. It’s just not good.
I personally have not been a fan of “The Slim Reaper” either. I think it’s creative and I love the art that came with it, but I just don’t like to say it out loud, I’d never want to hear an announcer seamlessly use the nickname during a broadcast, and those are two big factors in determining the quality of a nickname.
What should Durant’s nickname be? Does he even need one? Is “KD” good enough?
Nicknames have been a big part of sports basically forever. In the NBA in particular, we’ve had The Big O, The Big Dipper, Dr. J, Iceman, Magic, Larry Legend, Air Jordan, Dream, Black Mamba, King James, etc.
It feels like the nicknames have not been as creative in recent years. Nowadays, we get a lot of “KG” or “A-Rod” which really aren’t creative by any means. They’re just initials.
Being really great a lot of times means we just call you by your first name. That’s easier when you have a unique first name like LeBron or Kobe. Referring to Durant as simply “Kevin” does not feel right either, maybe just because no one does that.
There have been some other attempts at nicknaming Durant. We’ve still got “Durantula” and Jalen Rose has really been pushing “Iceberg Slim.” Durant doesn’t seem to like either and no one else seems to like those enough for them to stick either.
Thunder color announcer Grant Long has been using “The Gift” here and there. I remember Brian Davis when Durant was in his first few seasons would go with “Junkyard Dog” which really didn’t seem to fit.
There are plenty of greats who don’t have nicknames that jump out immediately. Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett come to mind but even they at one point at least had decent ones in “The Big Fundamental” and “The Big Ticket.”
It feels like Durant is in need of a nickname. Most players who have gotten as good as he has in the past have had a decent nickname. That just hasn’t happened for Durant yet.
It’s possible that we’re running out of nicknames to use. It was certainly easier back in the day. At this point with Durant, I think everyone is kind of overthinking it. One day, a nickname may come that we all know immediately has to stick. That day hasn’t come yet and for now, “KD” is the best we’ve got.