Just like they once did on the playgrounds of famed streetball courts, the best players are rewarded with stylish nicknames reflecting their game or their personality. This regular column takes a look at some of the best monikers in the League and how they were earned.
Nickname: ‘Mr 94 Feet’
Player: Patrick Beverley (Point guard, Los Angeles Clippers)
The Story: The 6-foot-1 Patrick Beverley has taken a long and winding road to the NBA, and has accomplished this based on the one aspect of his game considered to be among the League’s elite: his intense on-ball defense. His propensity to hound the opposing point guard up and down the entire 94 feet of a hardwood floor has earned him a nickname that he takes much pride in.
This was a mentality that was ingrained in Beverley from his youth, where he took part in the MTV series Nike Battlegrounds (hosted by LeBron James) and impressed with his dogged determination as well as his killer instinct in completely shutting his man out of the game, despite being younger than most of the other participants. Given his size however, he was not heavily recruited although he averaged nearly 40 points per game for Marshall in his senior year of high school. He initially committed to Toledo before switching to Arkansas, an apt decision given the school’s ’40 Minutes of Hell’ defensive reputation under the legendary head coach Nolan Richardson.
Due to academic issues, Beverley could not complete his career at Arkansas, and ended up playing in the Ukraine. He finally earned a second-round pick in the 2009 NBA Draft but elected to play a year in Greece before trying to secure a contract in the NBA. Even then, he was not successful in his maiden NBA attempt and was waived after summer league play. Eager to prove himself, Beverley headed to Russia and earned EuroCup MVP playing with Spartak St Petersburg before he finally got another chance with the Houston Rockets in 2013.
Today, Beverley has a solid reputation as one of the premier perimeter defenders in the league. With his unrelenting style of play, he has frustrated many of the League’s star guards. When you learn about the struggles Beverley went through in achieving his dreams, it is little wonder that we witness maximum effort from ‘Mr 94 Feet’ night in and night out.