What's in a nickname?
Just about everything -- especially in the NBA. Feel your pulse quicken as we think of nicknames from the glorious past: Magic, Dr. J, Dream, The Admiral, Clyde the Glide, ladies and gentlemen, Clyde the Glide.
And, of course: Air.
So what are we to do for Rashard Lewis? He's one of ours now but Slam magazine has beaten us to the punch by holding a nickname contest about Lewis. When I checked they had 230 responses. Frankly, they lack inspiration.
"Cash" because of his contract and 3-point shot. "The Sorcerer" because of playing for the Magic. "Skip to my Lewis" because, well, I have no idea why. And "The Appetizer" because "Dwight Howard is the main course."
I'm guessing Rashard isn't wild about that last one.
Actually, I asked him last week what nickname he wanted. And he said: "Rather not give myself a nickname. That should come from the fans."
You're not helping, Rashard.
At this point, however, perhaps we should point out something to the folks at Slam. Uh, Rashard has a nickname -- Sweet Lew. He's even had it embroidered on the side of his Nike shoe in the past. "I've got no problem with Sweet Lew," he said. "My game is kind of smooth."
Well, OK, but as nicknames go, it's no Clyde the Glide.
Suggestions, gang? And despite Sweet Lew's recent ankle problems, we will not accept "Grant's Ghost" or other sarcastic ideas, so don't even try.
Embarrassing footnote: Found a "nickname generator" on the Web but it's at a site called "links2love.com." And when I entered "Rashard Lewis," the nickname produced was "Loveheart Red-Hot Sweet Cheeks." Maybe we should stick with "Sweet Lew." And lucky for me that Rashard is in China. He did go, didn't he?
NBA'S BEST BET?
How about China? Easy to understand why Orlando and Cleveland are playing ultimate road games this week. Did you know . . . ?
*About 300 million Chinese (close to 23 percent of the 1.3 billion population) play basketball. That's pretty close to how many folks live in the United States. David Stern calls it "heaven on earth."
*The NBA tells us that 87 percent of everyone in China between ages 15 and 24 say they are fans of the league "on some level." Granted, the pollsters probably counted knowing what NBA stood for as being a fan "on some level." But still . . .
*And 51 TV stations carry the NBA in China. Insert your Bright House Networks joke here.
TUESDAY MORNING QB
*Those BCS computers are from the South. Their Top 4: South Florida, LSU, South Carolina and Kentucky.
*Wouldn't it be great to watch South Florida play Steve Spurrier's South Carolina for the national title?
*My best guess? LSU against either Oklahoma or Ohio State because the BCS/TV Powers That Be will find a way.
*Desperate Housewives should be desperate. The show has lost 32 percent of its audience since it took on NBC's Sunday Night Football. Are those worry lines I see on Teri Hatcher's neck?
*Anybody got a tape of Boise State's 69-67 victory over Nevada? I don't know any details but I'm guessing it was fun.
*Kevin Riley -- throw the ball away! Throw it! Just throw . . . too late.
*You think Riley -- the quarterback who cost Cal a chance for the No. 1 ranking -- went to school Monday? Or today? Or tomorrow?
*According to Forbes, our Larry the Cable Guy earned $20 million last year. That clearly makes him the richest man who has ever kissed me. (Come on, it was when we were both on local radio and you know how crazy that can be.)
*Michelle Wie report: She was 18 Thursday. Played in eight LPGA events this season, averaging 76.7 and making three cuts. Oh, and her latest agent resigned after less than a year working with her.
*Good news. The Bigelow Tea Co. says it will not fire Joe Torre as a spokesman even if the Yankees dump him. Hey, we all know how big Bigelow Tea is, right?
*Don't really care that Justin McBride won $150,000 Saturday for an eight-second ride on a bull called Scene of the Crash. Just think that's a great name for a bull.
TONIGHT'S TOP TV
Three incredible choices at 8, starting on A&E; with a retrospective of Dog the Bounty Hunter that must be called "A Dog's Life." Or on Bravo, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, yet another "life of" show. Or on Cinemax, I Want to Look Like a High School Cheerleader. Nah, I gave up that dream years ago.
WE LIKE TO WATCH
The NFL, of course. The New England-Dallas fiasco was the most-watched game of this season and the most watched regular-season game on CBS since it reacquired the NFL in '98. It got an overnight rating of 18.5. Orlando was tied for 23rd among major markets and above the national average with 20.1, representing around 280,000 homes.
DOWN GOES CABLE CAM!
The Saints-Seahawks game was delayed eight minutes because NBC's Cable Cam hit the field during a time out. NBC made the best of a bad situation by airing eight commercials and two promos for other shows.
YOU THINK HE DID IT?
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox was at the Patriots-Cowboys game as a guest of Jerry Jones. We cannot confirm or deny that Mr. Fox made an Alamo joke in the fourth quarter.
It was Jay Leno who said: "The body of former Notre Dame legend George Gipp, who died in the 1920s, was exhumed. To give you an idea of how bad Notre Dame is this year, he's playing Saturday."