Fat Pigs and Demon Blades: China’s nicknames for NBA stars are high art
The colors names for NBA players in basketball-mad China are a refreshing departure in an age when competitors brand themselves within an inch of their lives
Earlier this week I started a Twitter yarn of Chinese nicknames for NBA players that ran massively viral. Although I personally noted these monikers hilarious and mulled a few other people might very, I never expected the response to be so large, which got me wondering what it is about these Chinese monikers that parties find so entertaining.
Part of the answer is undoubtedly that American plays nicknames have become incredibly dull in recent years. Compared to earlier eras in which sportswriters and fans drove the process of developing colorful and sometimes slandering nicknames, the modern contestant is often a affluent player-entrepreneur who seeks to build a world “brand” and therefore is more likely to foist their own “nickname” onto the media and the devotee basi, most likely one that is anodyne, short and thus social media ready, and is understandable across communication and cultural borders. In many cases, the player’s opted “nickname” is little more than their initials, or their initials and their uniform number.