Yahoo Sports-No longer will Willie Cauley-Stein merely be known as the most versatile defender in this year's NBA draft.
Now the former Kentucky 7 footer also is receiving attention for an unusual name change.
Cauley-Stein has filed an order to legally change his middle name to "Trill," his mother told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday. Marlene Stein told the newspaper that her son's full name now is Willie "Trill" Cauley-Stein because "Trill" is the "nickname his 'boys' call him."
Cauley-Stein was actually born "Willie Durmond Cauley Jr." but his father fell out of his life when he was young. He has gone by Willie Cauley-Stein since enrolling at Kentucky in order to honor his mother, but he hadn't filled out the paperwork to legally change his name until now.
Professional sports are all about perception. Sure, you need to the talented to be successful, but a little intimidation factor doesn't hurt when are entering the league. Especially when coming from Kentucky, or as I like to call it, The NBA Player Factory Store. When seven players, from your University alone, declare early for the NBA draft you have to make sure you stand out. Hey, if you gave me a list of all seven guys, I can promise you that "Willie Cauley-Stein" would be the last person on my draft board based on his name alone. That guy plays college basketball? Why is the team manager declaring early? Sounds like he should be running numbers at a top 4 accounting firm. Sounds like a 5'8 guy with an oversized nose and a jew fro, not a fully tatted seven foot, versatile center.
Willie Trill, however? That guy is going off the board top 5 no questions asked. You can't legally have 'Trill' in your name and not be successful. It's what I like to call a self fulfilling prophecy. You think LeBron would be as successful as he has been if he didn't come into the league calling himself 'The King'? CP3, 'The Big Ticket' and 'Vinsanity' can't possibly become career journeymen backups. Yeah, it makes you look like a little cocky, but there is a thin line between cockiness and confidence. When your name is Willie Trill there's no way you don't do everything it possibly takes to live up to that nickname. It's very likely that name either ends up in the Hall of Fame or goes down as one of the biggest jokes in NBA history. Sometimes you just have to bet on yourself.
Plus, all else being equal, guys with absurd nicknames generally last longer in the NBA than guys with non-desript white names. Chris Anderson would be getting tatted in a crackhouse somewhere if he wasn't 'The Birdman'.
P.S.- If the originator of 'trill' respects the move than everyone else has no choice but to do so as well. Long live Bun B.