About Andre Iguodala and the nickname ‘Iggy’


The Warriors finally officially introduced their shiny new toy Andre Iguodala to the media on Thursday, nearly a week after their fan base collectively began hyperventilating at first news of his acquisition. He’s no doubt an upgrade to the Warriors’ core and headlines the new crop of players Bob Myers brought on board this week.

There’s just been one problem. Lots of fans and even established members of the local media have been referring to Iguodala by the wrong name. Obviously, they’ve gotten his first and last names without issue. But then they started calling him “Iggy.”

From Monte Poole’s column earlier this week:

Iggy represents the kind of move the 49ers routinely attempted and often completed under the Eddie DeBartolo ownership before the NFL adopting a salary cap. […]

Whether Iggy embraces this status or regards it a burden is up to him. His reputation is that of a talented player who performs unevenly, fantastic one night but missing the next. At 29, the former University of Arizona star has to know the next four seasons are his last best chance to chase a championship.

Yeah. Riiiiight. Um, about all that…

All of the “Iggy” talk over the past week has been particularly cringe-tacular from my perspective (despite my best efforts to correct it) because once upon a time his Twitter bio explicitly stated that he “hated” the nickname “Iggy.” I assumed that was still the status quo, and I was right.

But I’m not criticizing the people who have been guilty of what ultimately is a good-natured mistake. Iguodala is new to area. There’s going to be some inevitable adjustments on the personal level. We’ll be learning a lot from Iguodala in the months leading up to and during the season, just like how he is probably going to have to get used to the all the “hellas” and learn to never ever, ever use “‘Frisco” or say “The BART,” or else face permanent banishment from the Bay Area.

For various reasons — brevity, sounding cool or admiration for the person — we use nicknames to refer to people in various walks of life. It’s why we call Colin Kaepernick “Kap,” Jeff Lebowski “The Dude” (or “His Dudeness” or “Duder” or “El Duderino”) and Nancy Grace “Lucifer.”

Nicknames are perhaps more widespread in sports than in any other realm of our society (although, politics is a world of untapped potential for the nickname game. Bill “Pimp B” Clinton, HELLO?). Almost every relevant figure in sports has had a nickname. Even Brian “The Custodian” Cardinal (my personal favorite) and Mark “Mad Dog” Madsen have had nicknames, even if for ironic purposes.

Sometimes these nicknames are utterly stupid and spawn even-more stupid hats (totally talking about “Kung Fu Panda,” but come to think about it, it very much also applies to Justin Bieber and “Swaggy Bro“).

Sometimes the athlete just disregards all conventions when it comes to nickname bestowing and does the honor himself with zero fucks given (Hi, Kobe). But most of the time, the athlete doesn’t have a choice. And so when people in Philly (or perhaps at UA or even before then) started calling Andre Iguodala “Iggy,” he rejected it. He totally reserves that veto power. And it’s been well-documented ever since.

From the Denver Post:

First of all, he hates Iggy. This I was told by some East Coast writers who covered Andre Iguodala during the 76ers days.

From Woody Paige’s acrimonious farewell to Iguodala:

He never liked to be called Iggy. How about Benedict Arnold Iguodala?

And, finally, from the man himself:

“I don’t like ‘Iggy,’ I don’t mind ‘The Other A.I.,'” he said. “It just shows the fans are watching basketball and know what I do. I want to be ‘Dre, that’s it.

‘Dre it is.

[photo via]

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