A couple of years ago for a now-defunct blog, I wrote about the art of deciding when an NBA player’s name should be written in all-caps on Twitter. There were a lot of silly rules and over the last two years I’ve probably rethought a lot of those ideas, so here’s the basic rundown of my current rules for when you should refer to a player exclusively with the Caps Lock key on:
- The player must do exciting things often, but maybe not too often. LeBron James isn’t LEBRON JAMES because he does too many fun things. It’s why I always referred to Josh Smith as JOSH SMITH, as he was extremely fun just enough to justify that.
- The player should do exciting things often, but it’s better if he excels at doing one main exciting thing often.
- The player needs to have a name that you can easily write out in all-caps. JOSH SMITH works because it’s short. SHAI GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER is way too long of a name to be effective as an all-caps guy.
- The player should be thought of as a mostly good player, unless the player is a rookie, but rookies also have a tough time getting to all-caps status.
- The above rules can definitely be broken at any point and for any reason.
With all of that in mind, I decided to look at the Nets players who are candidates to be all-caps guys.
Guys who aren’t being considered, for various reasons: Wilson Chandler (nah), Nic Claxton (hasn’t played), Kevin Durant (too good), Kyrie Irving (too good), DeAndre Jordan (his dunks are good, but 11th year guys who’ve bounced around as much as Jordan has lately aren’t going to make my list), Rodions Kurucs (inconsistency is too much), Dzanan Musa (hasn’t played enough), David Nwaba (love him, but has no role at this point), Theo Pinson (meh), and Garrett Temple (he’s in his ninth year??? how???).
That leaves us with the following players who are under consideration: Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, Caris LeVert, and Taurean Prince. Let’s look at the case for and against these players as all-caps guys.
I think you can tweet Jarrett Allen’s name in all-caps, but it’s situational, and the situation where you can get away with a JARRETT ALLEN tweet is only when he does one of his patented “blocks someone who is way better than him” moments.
Allen will sometimes do other things, but you should not tweet JARRETT ALLEN when he does those other things. It just doesn’t feel right. There are too many issues with his game — like, maybe he finishes a nice play inside, but it probably didn’t look pretty and he also probably turned a possible lob dunk into a contested lay up, and I’m not all-capsing that.
But those blocks? Yeah, feel free to tweet it when he has one of those blocks.
I try not to let recent performance factor too much into the question of how I stylize a player’s name in a tweet, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that Dinwiddie’s tough start to the year is factoring into things some here.
Ultimately, I don’t think I’m going to tweet SPENCER DINWIDDIE much, and the reason has less to go with Dinwiddie’s play than it does with the construction of laptop keyboards.
I’m going to type Spencer’s full name in all-caps three times without hitting backspace after I mess up:
It is very hard to quickly and correctly type Dinwiddie. Moving from the “i” to the “d” and then back that fast is a recipe for getting your fingers confused. Sorry, Spencer!
Of all five of these options, Harris was the one who I instantly thought “yeah, he’s going to be an all-caps guy.”
The thing about Joe Harris is that he does one thing so incredibly well — shooting three-pointers — and while he isn’t bad at other things, his best skill is just so good and so far ahead of his other skills that it sometimes can feel like he’s only good at that one thing.
That’s good news if you want to tweet JOE HARRIS after he makes a three. Because he’s a good basketball player whose best skill stands out so much which means you can tweet JOE HARRIS after that three, but he’s also going to do other cool things — like score as a cutter — that will also make you tweet JOE HARRIS.
The only issue I have here is that I really like calling him “Beef Jerky Joe,” a nickname that Richard Jefferson gave him last year. Does it make sense? Not really! The argument was Harris’s beard reminded Jefferson of the Sasquatch from the Jack Links commercials, which is a fine argument if you ask me, a person who likes that nickname.
But having a nickname doesn’t prevent you from being an all-caps guy, so my verdict on this one is that yes, you can tweet JOE HARRIS after he does something.
It just rolls off the tongue (or, rather, off the fingertips). CARIS LEVERT.
Joe Harris fits the “wow, the thing he does is very good” style of all-caps guys, while LeVert fits the “this is very exciting to watch” style of all-caps guy.
I’m actually not sure I can vocalize an argument for or against LeVert as a all-caps player. He is…he just is, you know? He’s so much fun to watch and writing his name like it’s supposed to be stylized — Caris LeVert — feels wrong and boring.
See? Write it like that 24/7.
While the other players on this list have been Nets for at least two seasons, Taurean Prince is new this year.
Being able to be an all-caps guy for a fanbase requires a lot of time, usually. You don’t just play your first game and instantly become TAUREAN PRINCE, because there’s got to be some trust and some emotional energy built up first.
Prince is basically a partial caps guy. When he makes a big play at a key moment, you can definitely tweet TAUREAN PRINCE because he is exciting and he’s gaining that emotional connection since he came in and immediately shored up last year’s biggest hole.
But CARIS LEVERT and JOE HARRIS can do something in the first quarter of a game against the Hornets and get an all-caps tweet. Prince isn’t at that level yet. I’m saving my energy for when he does something in the fourth quarter of a game that matters, not just screaming TAUREAN PRINCE at any moment. No offense to Prince, of course. He’s quickly gaining steam as a favorite in Brooklyn.
So, the conclusion here? LeVert and Harris should always be referred to exclusively as CARIS LEVERT and JOE HARRIS. Don’t you dare write their names in the format of standard English grammar. I — an instructor of college writing, so I’ve got some authority here — hereby decree that you have to say no to capitalization rules and refer to these two guys with that Caps Lock key toggled on.