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Naming Your Pets or Kids After NBA Players is a Great Idea

May 8, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) reacts with guard Dennis Schroder (17) after making a three point basket against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half in game four of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena. The Cavaliers defeated the Hawks 100-99. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
May 8, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) reacts with guard Dennis Schroder (17) after making a three point basket against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half in game four of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena. The Cavaliers defeated the Hawks 100-99. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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When it doubt, name your pet or child after an athlete you see on TV or in a videogame. It’s always a great conversation starter when people give you weird looks for an especially unusual name.

I have a 13 year old Siamese cat name Teemu, after the legendary hockey player Teemu Selanne. Not only was the “Finnish Flash” a terrific player, but he had a distinctive name, and I always prefer naming pets something that people who meet them will never forget.

One thing I was worried about was whether I’d always imagine Teemu Selanne walking into the room whenever I called my cat over, but you’d be amazed at how quickly an association like that dissipates.

Now I barely connect the dots as to why I named my cat “Teemu.” To me, it’s just the name I gave to my cat.

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Only the first few months did I still make Teemu Selanne references whenever I’d pet him, and that’s a testament to the power of your brain to adapt its interpretation of a stimuli you encounter frequently.

I’m still a huge hockey fan, and the fact that my cat is named after a legendary NHL player and it barely registers with me anymore is remarkable. I guess only enough so that I thought to write a post about it.

The reason I thought of it again was because I have a friend of a friend (that’s not me being facetious; I’ve never met her and only know of this story secondhand) who has a cat named Al Horford.

With the San Antonio Spurs considering signing Horford as a free agent this offseason, I couldn’t help but smile at not only the scoring and rebounding he’d provide the Spurs, but also that this cat walks around its neighborhood with “Al Horford” engraved on her collar (yes, what makes this even more unusual is that it’s a girl cat).

The way the story goes is that a girl my friend knows had just adopted a cat, but didn’t know what to name her. She asked aloud what the cat’s name should be, and a couple of her friends were playing NBA 2K15 in her living room.

Right as she asked the question, one of the guys playing threw down a thunderous dunk with Al Horford, and he sarcastically suggested that she name the cat “Al Horford.” The girl was intrigued enough to actually roll with it, so from then on the cat’s name was “Al Horford.”

Fate is an interesting thing, because had a few plays previously gone slightly different in that virtual Hawks game, that cat could be walking around with “Dennis Schroder” on its license due to a nice finish near the hoop by the Hawks’ backup point guard.

The first sports game I played religiously was NBA Live 99, and looking back on my gameplay habits, it’s likely that if I had gotten a cat around that time, I’d be typing this story with a very old “Luc Longley” sitting on the couch next to me.

Next: Kawhi Leonard Expecting Birth of First Child This Summer

Try it next time: when you bring home a pet from a pet store or your newborn child from the hospital, fire up your game console and let artificial intelligence determine the name of the new organism in your life. You won’t regret it.

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