So we've had some debate in these parts about whether Alecko Eskandarian's nickname ought be spelled "Esky" or "Eski." Some people have even gone with "Eskie." I asked the expert.
"Great question," Esky said, as if there were any doubt about my questions being great. "My dad was known as 'Eski,' that's how the whole name started, and he spells it with an 'i.' But ever since I was in high school and college, everyone called me 'Esky,' and they spelled it with a 'y.' So I kind of adopted the 'y' thing, so that could be the little difference between me and my dad. But I don't think there's any correct way to spell it. Whatever, you know?"
Still, I'll kindly ask all posters to follow house rules and go with "Esky" from now on.
And now the next puzzle: how to pronounce Etan Thomas's first name, E-tan, or e-Tan? I thought it was e-Tan, an opinion shared by these official game notes. But Eddie Jordan called him E-tan during practice Thursday, so I got curious, and asked his teammates.
DeShawn Stevenson (verbatim transcript): E-tan. e-Tan. But I call him E-tan. It's called e-Tan.
What does Thomas prefer? I don't know, I just call him E-tan.
Caron Butler: E-tan.
What does Thomas prefer? e-Tan. But I call him E-tan. I don't know.
James Lang: E-tan, E-tan. He responds back. He don't complain about E-tan.
Roger Mason: I call him e-Tan. What is it?
Seriously, what is it? His name was derived from that of King Akhenaton (or Akhenaten), whose various pronunciations can be explored here, although they don't really offer much guidance on this issue.
E-tan/e-Tan was taking an extra-long time in the locker room Thursday, so the puzzle will be solved another day. Feel free to vote. I thought I remember him being E-tan at Syracuse, but maybe I'm imagining things.
(The more serious question is whether Thomas will start over last year's center, Brendan Haywood. All signs are pointing toward Thomas, who stayed after practice for at least 30 minutes Thursday afternoon, shooting extra free throws and jumpers and running laps in front of assistant coach Phil Hubbard and VP of player personnel Milt Newton. Eddie Jordan said he will likely announce his starter either today or tomorrow. Feel free to vote on that one, too.)