Behind The Gamertag

“I’M A HORSE!” Seanquai “KingQuai614” Harris shouts.

Quai’s newest nickname hasn’t quite caught on yet, but like any good nickname, it tells you a little about the man himself. More telling is his gamertag, KingQuai614, which combines an earlier nickname, “King,” part of his name, “Quai,” and his 614 area code to explain a little bit more substantially about the man now calling himself a horse.

The majority of Raptors Uprising players have gamertags that express their skill, personality, or work ethic, or some combination of all three. The gamertags often overlap with their real-life names or traits, making their on-court and off-court presences more mutually recognizable.

Kenneth “Kenny Got Work” Hailey is among the leading names in the competitive NBA 2K sphere. After he added “Got Work” to his nickname, his brother and friends added the same handle to their gamertags, making it one of the most recognizable handles in the community. But while his idea has spread and his 2K success has mounted, Kenny remains humble.

“‘Got Work’ is something I came up with,” he said. “Kenny’s my nickname; that’s what everybody knows me by.”

The calm approach has translated to this year’s first-round pick. Last season, Freddie “Doza” Mendoza played for Pistons GT under the handle “ImSoFarAhead,” based on a Lil Wayne lyric. This season, his first with Raptors Uprising, Doza shortened things: “Doza” is what he was called by several childhood friends, but it also represents his more even-keeled approach this year.

Georgio “OOC Slim” Bonte, unlike Doza, hasn’t changed his gamertag since he was 10 years old. Like Doza, however, his gamertag comes from his youth. The acronym OOC comes from a Gears of War clan he played in with friends, and Slim is a nickname that—well, you understand immediately when you meet him.

“Slim is just—I’m tall!” he said with a chuckle. “It’s really that simple.”

A long-held nickname also accounts for Jerry “Sick x 973” Knapp’s gamertag. Sick played Madden (football video game) in New Jersey with his friends, hence the 973 area code for his home state—and became known for his “sick picks” (interceptions) in-game. His stellar defensive instincts have also translated to 2K, where Sick averages nearly two steals per game on the virtual hardwood in the NBA 2K League.

Joshua “TsJosh” McKenna’s gamertag is another indication of on-court skill. The “Ts” stands for True Shooter, and, while TsJosh has primarily played on a defensive build this season, the True Shooter is hitting at over a 60% clip from the field. TsJosh also has two common nicknames: Headband Josh and Basement Josh.

The first time TsJosh wore a headband on stage, he scored 13 points in a win over Kings Guard Gaming. That win, after last year’s THE TURN Tournament, was the first step in the team’s 7-1 run to the playoffs. It also marked the start of Josh’s enhanced role in the team’s balanced offense, that proved so critical to the season turnaround. Basement Josh is a little more down to earth. The basement in question is the team’s practice space at the Bell Fibe House, where TsJosh’s work ethic—namely, his hours upon hours spent in the basement—sparked the nickname.

“[Headband Josh] is a different personality, I’m more confident,” he said. “If you call me Basement Josh, you know I can play.”

The Raptors Uprising players make clear with their gamertags that they can play. More importantly, the players make clear just who they are.