What's in a name?

The only thing more resilient, fierce and workman-like than longtime Lakers’ center Vlade Divac was his facial hair.

So what team name exemplifies the grit and determination required to win a Gus Macker title better than “The Beard of Vlade Divac.”

I’ve never seen Beard of Vlade play, but I know I wouldn’t step on the court to face them. I don’t even know who these guys are or where they’re from. If they’re half as nasty as the Serbian’s scruff, I don’t want to know.



It’s too bad most people won’t get the reference; Divac isn’t a household name. That’s what makes this so funny. And that’s why Beard of Vlade, an homage to a semi-obscure player’s player, is my favorite team name in this year’s tournament.

In a close second was “Victorious Secret.” Once again, no clue who these people are. But their simple wordplay is clever and priceless. God love a heady group of basketball players with a sense of humor.

There were plenty of those in this year’s field. Many got points just for making me laugh. Others got a nod for calling their squad something other than “The Ballerz.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but in an event that’s of the people, by the people and for the people, why not personalize it? A few got my approval solely because they shouldn’t be printed in this family newspaper (you know who you are, Joe Marciano). Most of all, teams earned a spot on my list if their names let us know a little bit more about themselves besides that they’re basketball players on court Red X or Yellow C.


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