March 20, 2014

For a second season, New Orleans forward Ryan Anderson is providing periodic blog updates on Pelicans.com, delving into many of his experiences as a resident of New Orleans and other topics. In his latest update, Anderson – who has been sidelined since Jan. 3 by injury – provides some unique insights and observations on several of his Pelicans teammates. This is the first of multiple blogs from Anderson on the subject.

Anyone who knows Jeff Withey knows that he’s just a nice guy. He’s a rookie, but he’s so nice, you almost don’t want to make him do any rookie duties, because he’s just a good guy and will do whatever you ask of him. The background on us giving him the nickname “Sweet Pea” was that I had gone to this barbecue restaurant called “The Shed” in Mississippi, and there was a very Southern woman helping us out that day with our food. She kept calling my dad “Sweet Pea,” and we absolutely loved that, since no one calls anyone “Sweet Pea” anymore. It’s so old school.Sweat Pea Sign

A few days later I was sitting on the bench with Jrue Holiday and we were trying to figure out different nicknames for guys. In one of the games, for some reason it just flowed and “Sweet Pea” became Jeff’s nickname. Jrue liked it, so we kind of just rolled with it.

A few days later, we were on the road somewhere and Jrue couldn’t travel with the team because of his injury. Jrue was randomly walking through a Target in New Orleans and found a “Sweet Pea” sign. He thought it was just perfect. He sent me a picture and said “You’re not going to believe what I found!” It was the Sweet Pea sign. He bought it from Target and then asked if it was OK to put it up in the locker room.

So that’s the story of how there’s now a Sweet Pea sign up in Jeff’s locker.

Most of the other guys on the team have pretty basic nicknames based on their real names, such as that we always call Anthony Davis “AD” and we call Anthony Morrow “AMo.” I only know Al-Farouq Aminu as “Chief,” not “Al-Farouq.”

But there are a few other ones that people might not know, such as for Austin Rivers, he can be called “Kid Riv.” Sometimes I call Jason Smith “J-Bone,” but Jason doesn’t really like it, so that makes me call him that even more – plus I think it’s funny. The important thing is you have to say it in kind of a frat voice, like “Hey J-Boooone! What’s going on, bro?” You have to make sure you say it a very specific way.

Also, Greg Stiemsma is known to all of us as “Steamer.” But we really don’t have anything as distinctive as “Sweet Pea” right now. That has to be the best nickname on the team.

One thing we talk about from time to time is the players on the team who have celebrity look-alikes. For example, in my opinion, Jeff Withey looks a lot like Jim Caviezel, the actor who played Jesus Christ in “The Passion of the Christ” movie. That seems to be a consensus across the team.

I also think Anthony Morrow has a big T.I. vibe to him. It’s his swag. Maybe he doesn’t look a ton like T.I., but when I see Anthony, it makes me think of T.I.

Another great one is that Greg Stiemsma completely looks like Ron Perlman from the TV show “Sons of Anarchy.” If you don’t know who Ron Perlman is, type in his name on Google. Right away you’re going to say “Oh wow, he looks exactly like Greg Stiemsma!”

Also, whenever Austin Rivers gets a new haircut, I like to call him Pit Bull, because he looks just like Pit Bull, the rapper.


Editor’s note: Do you have a New Orleans restaurant recommendation for Ryan? Perhaps a movie you think he should see… or avoid? Want to ask him a question? Send in your thoughts on Twitter to @Jim_Eichenhofer using the hashtag of #rynoblog and we’ll help Ryan become even more acclimated to the Crescent City.