Austin Rivers, the top-rated recruit in the class of 2011, took to Twitter last night to make a few announcements regarding his freshman season at Duke.
Rivers, who wore the No. 25 jersey throughout high school stated that he would be donning the No. 0 uniform when he arrives in Durham, NC. He will become the first Blue Devil in school history to wear that number. He decided to change numbers because his high school number has been retired at Duke in honor of Art Heyman. So he chose the No. 0 to signal a fresh start at the next level.
That's all well and good. Zero isn't a bad number, and clearly he thought it out, so good for him.
Now, the announcement of his new number isn't new, but the second part is. And it's that part which really grinds my gears.
You cannot give yourself a nickname. It's practically an unwritten rule of the schoolyard.
Dwayne Wade didn't tell people to call him "Flash". Earvin Johnson didn't legally change his name to "Magic". Harrison Barnes didn't ask people to refer to him as "The Black Falcon". And as much as we probably want to assume that LeBron James anointed himself "The King", some dorky high school kid probably did.
That is what makes nicknames so cool. A great one is never thought about, it just happens.
Again, Rivers is the top recruit in the country (well either No. 1 or No.2 depending on who you ask), but he's still a freshman. In fact, he's not even a freshman yet. Just imagine the scene if first-year Rivers walked into the locker room and asked junior Andre Dawkins to refer to him as Sub-Zero.
I'm certain Rivers would spend the rest of his freshman season being refered to as "Sonya Blade".