What's in a Name, Gani Lawal?


"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

So says Shakespeare’s Juliet when suggesting that the names we ascribe to objects entail an element of arbitrariness (mmm...meaty words). So, as an object, Gani Lawal might as of now be viewed as a good or bad idea, a new or scary prospect, a possible lynchpin, a natural...or a dud (a "Dudley" would be a different, pleasant story). But we have yet to really objectify this man, once named “Mr. Basketball 2007”, so until then I want to know where a name like his originated.

Gani – It’s Hebrew, Kurdish, African or Indian in origin - although Gani’s family is from Nigeria, and it basically translates into “My Garden.” It is also his father’s first name.  According to some crazy baby name website which I refuse to hyperlink, the name is pronounced wrong over 60% of the time, but almost never spelled wrong. This same website also suggests that you name your child "Carrot", so um...

Lawal – Strongly linked to Nigeria, Lawal pretty much translates into “God has brought this.” Interesting little statistic: people with the last name ‘Lawal’ tend to have a much shorter life expectancy than the general public. Interesting because basketball players tend to retire much, much younger than the general public. They don’t need to hang around as long afterward, I suppose.

Obviously you can’t judge a guy by his name. I didn’t hear about Shaq and say, “Whoa, his name rhymes so he must be cool.” Steve Nash is a pretty standard name as well…in fact, a few weeks ago I heard a speaker introduce himself as Steve Nash and nearly fainted before I realized it was just some dude (executive director of the Pima County Medical Society) with a name I only recently,say, 6 years or so ago, acknowledged as awesome. And Kobe? Well, Kobe is the name of a city in Japan and also refers to cuts of beef from the black Tajima-ushi breed of Wagyu cattle. Ooh. See where I'm going with this pointless post?

So a name’s just a name, and we have yet to smell the  sweetness of Gani as a Sun (obviously a metaphor, but you know I’d really go up and smell Grant Hill any day). Friday, here we come!

Would you like to read some Gani Lawal Career Notes? If not, kindly navigate away from this page. Maybe go read some of Alex Laugan’s good stuff. If you’re interested, read on…


> High-energy player with great athletic ability, runs the floor very well ... Skilled in all areas of the game, scoring, rebounding, passing.

> Named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference third team twice, and was a Mid-season candidate for the Naismith Award as a junior.

> Led Tech in scoring and rebounding as a sophomore and a junior.

> Became the 39th player in Tech history to reach 1,000 career points against Kentucky State during his junior year, and rose to 31st on the Tech career chart (1,167 points) ... One of 16 players in Tech history with 1,000 points and 600 rebounds.

> Recorded 27 double-doubles for his career ... Scored in double digits 60 times in his career.

> Climbed to 12th place on Tech's career rebound list (712), and finished his junior season in sixth place on Tech's career chart (127) for blocked shots.

> Twice entered his name in the NBA Draft, pulling out after his sophomore year but remaining in after his junior year ... Was selected in the second round, 46th pick overall, by Phoenix in the 2010 draft.

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