NBA Nicknames


constraints Fuel Creativity

In case you didn't know, I'm a huge basketball fan. As a kid growing up in the 90's, this guy named Michael Jordan captured my attention and I've been hooked ever since. The NBA on NBC theme song brings back soo many good memories. 

With the NBA Nicknames project, I wanted to letter some of the best nicknames of both past and present NBA stars. I realize that there are many players I didn't get to (Pistol Pete, Magic, Grandmama, etc.), but maybe one day I will...


One of the problems with doing a project like this, is finding and using images of these players. In my time spent as a designer, I know that you can't just go Google, type in a players name and use the coolest picture that pops up as I don't own the rights to any of those photos.

Since that wasn't an option, I tried the next best thing and looked for images that were royalty-free, but the quality of those pictures weren't any good. 

So what do I do? I come up with the rezziest idea that might just work.


The NBA is pretty good about allowing users to take footage of their games and use them in ways that would encourage people to tune in to live games. For instance, there are tons of YouTube channels dedicated to breaking down footage of NBA games. That's why those channels never get taken down--the NBA sees it as a form of advertising.

The reason why the YouTube channels that just show highlights of last night's games get taken down, is because a lot of people might not tune into a game, if they can just catch the highlights tomorrow morning. 

So the NBA is somewhat lenient when it comes to using their footage. If you're not giving people a reason not to tune into a game, then you're good. 


And that's where I got my idea: I'll just take screenshots of these players from YouTube videos. I wasn't sure if they would turn out. I mean would you be able to tell that that these were just screenshots from YouTube?

A few of the videos I used were 1080p, but most were 720p, so the quality wasn't the greatest. But I decided to run with it.

"Screw it, I might as well distort them even more."

And that's what I did. I went for that VCR aesthetic. I did a little RGB splitting, distorted the image even more with the liquify tool in Photoshop, and added some grain as well. 


Did you notice I even left the timeline "bar" at the bottom on a few of the pieces?