The Kentucky basketball program is no stranger to bringing in players with hyphenated names, and now, they’ve been rewarded for doing so.
While signing high-profile prospects that just so happened to boast hyphenated names resulted in wins and Final Four runs during their time at Kentucky, four former Wildcats have now been selected to CBS Sports’ NBA All-Hyphen Team.
Two of the former Kentucky stars were named starters to the All-Hyphen Team: Karl-Anthony Towns and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
The former is only one of two players on the list to hyphenate his first name, while the latter has the longest last name in NBA history.
Here is what CBS Sports had to say about both former Wildcats:
Forward – Karl-Anthony Towns: Known simply as Karl for the majority of his prep career, Towns started going by his given first name, Karl-Anthony when he enrolled at Kentucky. One of only two players in this exercise with a hyphenated first name, Towns is one of the most promising young big men in the NBA given his size and unique skill set. He’s got a long way to go to catch Kareem, but he could be the second-best hyphenated player of all time by the end of his career.
Guard – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: At just 21 years old, Gilgeous-Alexander has already taken his place among the NBA hyphen elite with a breakout season with the Oklahoma City Thunder. His full name of Shaivonte Aician Gilgeous-Alexander is 32 characters long, which makes it easier to understand why people generally go with the succinct, “SGA.” In case you’re wondering whether that’s the longest name in NBA history, well, Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo might have something to say about that. Gilgeous-Alexander, however, has the longest last name in NBA history at 18 characters (always count the hyphen!), according to some cursory internet research. His cousin, Pelicans guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker, is a reserve on the All-Hyphen Team (spoiler alert) — what a family.
Two other former Wildcats made the roster as reserves: Willie Cauley-Stein and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
Here is the entire list of starters and reserves:
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
- Karl-Anthony Towns
- Shareef Abdur-Rahim
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
- Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf
- Al-Farouq Aminu, Orlando Magic
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Los Angeles Lakers
- Dorian Finney-Smith, Dallas Mavericks
- Michael Carter-Williams, Orlando Magic
- Willie Cauley-Stein, Dallas Mavericks
- Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Toronto Raptors
- Micheal Kidd-Gilchrist, Dallas Mavericks
- Nickeil Alexander-Walker, New Orleans Pelicans