December 29, 2015

What's With The Juniors?

Five and a half years ago, the Washington Wizards drafted Johnathan Hildred Wall with the number one overall selection in the 2010 NBA Draft. John is named after his dad, Johnathan Carroll Wall which, according to Wikipedia, makes John a junior, although we wouldn't necessarily know it unless we looked it up. John doesn't advertise being his dad's namesake, preferring to keep his relationship with his deceased father private, and that's OK with me. That's also the way things used to work with people's names in professional sports until very very recently.

About six months ago, the Wizards drafted Kelly Oubre, Jr. with the Atlanta Hawks' 15th overall pick (which they acquired via trade) in the 2015 NBA Draft. Based on reading the previous sentence, Kelly's dad is quite obviously also named Kelly Oubre. But you don't have to read this blog post or look anything up; it's obvious looking at Kelly's uniform when he's on the court because it reads not just "Oubre" but "Oubre Jr." This seems to be all the rage in professional team sports lately and I guess it's fine to be proud of your lineage and advertise just exactly where you sit in your family tree of exact same or close-enough-for-Wikipedia names. But it's very non-traditional. 

Now before you start accusing me of being old and stuck in my ways, I'm fine with it; I really am. I just have a request, which I'll make in a paragraph or two. Here locally in the Washington, D.C. area, our most famous sports junior is likely Robert Griffin III, the former (and likely always former) Washington professional football team starting quarterback. In fact, RG3 may have been the player who really elevated this practice of identifying yourself as the son of someone bearing the same name to my attention. Good for him, I guess. He paved the way for the Wizards current crop of juniors.

Yep, you guessed it, John Wall and Kelly Oubre are not the only juniors on the current Wizards' roster. Otto Porter shares a name with his father, Otto Porter, Sr. And Drew Gooden not only is named after his father but also after his grandfather which makes him, just like RG3, a third, although calling Drew "DG3" has not caught on the way RG3 has swept the national capital area. Or at least I believe it has swept the D.C. area based on the number of license plates I see in town paying homage to a 25 year old professional athlete who by the team's choice has not played at all this season.

So here's my question or request or whatever you want to call it: why can't Verizon Center get it right? When Kelly Oubre steps on the wood for the Wizards, he's wearing an "Oubre Jr." jersey and that's what shows up on the scoreboard. However, Drew Gooden gets no such love for his "Gooden III" uni; he just gets "Gooden" on the display above center court. I guess I can understand this a little bit; I mean Drew did play his first season as a Wizard as just "Gooden", although admittedly that was two seasons ago but maybe VC is just slow to catch up.

But the thing that really confuses me is Otto's name on the scoreboard because despite never wearing a jersey with "Porter Jr." on it, Otto shows up just that way when he enters (or these days starts) a game. What gives? Can't we just match the names on the jerseys? That seems like the smartest thing to do. That's all I have to say on this subject. Get it right and keep it right.

As an aside, or postscript, I'm not sure I agree with Wikipedia on John Wall being a junior; I think the whole name has to be the same for one to truly be a junior but whatever.  I'm certainly no genealogy expert, if that's even the right word to use in this case. Eventually they may just agree with me and the link contained in this blog post may make no sense. That's fine with me.  Go Wizards! is my only response to that.

Matches the scoreboard but not the actual player jersey.

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