'Juice' is pure for Wildcats

February, 17, 2010
2/17/10
10:01
AM CT
Michael Thompson
Dennis Wierzbicki/US PresswireMichael Thompson is averaging 13.4 points a game for the Wildcats.

EVANSTON, Ill. – Self-given nicknames rarely stick.

Believe me, I know. No matter how adamant I am or how long I won’t answer to any other name, my rec-league teammates just won’t call me after my self-appointed basketball nickname, Mo’ Powers. I always thought that had a splendid ring to it?

It’s just the same as if “Magic” had been Earvin Johnson’s idea or Michael Jordan was the first to start referring to himself as “Air.” In both cases, it was someone else who originated the clever nicknames. Otherwise, they probably would have vanished as quickly as they were conceived.

Northwestern junior point guard Michael Thompson is a different story. He gave himself the nickname “Juice” as a kid, and few people know him by anything else now.

“When I shoot threes, I’d always say, ‘My jump shot was 100 percent,’ so I would call myself Juice, and it happened to stick with me,” Thompson said.

Northwestern coach Bill Carmody isn’t much for nicknames, though. The origin of Juice certainly didn’t interest him as he prepared for Penn State before Tuesday’s practice.

“Just make shots, kid,” Carmody joked. “Juice? I don’t care what it is. Cranberry juice? I don’t care.”

Because it is unfair that Thompson created “Juice,” Carmody is allowed to take over ownership of Thompson’s nickname. Just as someone once spoke the words, “Magic” Johnson and “Air” Jordan, we now have Michael “Cranberry Juice” Thompson.

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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