Many different nicknames have emerged in the months since the Knicks signed little-known Mindaugas Kuzminskas — Kuz, Kuzia, Mindy, the Mindy Project, the Blond Bomber of Vilnius — but the Lithuanian forward already has a top-notch nickname for himself, per Marc Berman:
“It’s ‘Cheese.’ I’m smiling all the time almost. When you take a picture, you say ‘Cheese.’ That’s my nickname.’’
Cheese. That’s a strong-ass nickname. So that’s what you call him. That, or Cheeser, or El Cheeserino, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing. We have a different one for him over at P&T headquarters. Our own Jonathan Schulman has taken to calling him “Shy Guy.” Kuzminskas himself confirmed as much when asked if he deserves a spot in the regular rotation:
“I can’t talk about that. It’s better when other people talk from the side, you can see better. I’m kind of a shy guy. It’s my first year. There are a lot of opinions. The coaches want to win so they’re going to use the players most ready at the moment.” [emphasis mine]
I don’t know if “Shy Guy” will live on as a nickname the way I’m sure “Cheese” will, but I do know that I will listen to the Diana King song “Shy Guy” (from the original Bad Boys soundtrack!) every time I watch Kuzminskas highlights:
Big Cheese may be a shy guy, but he’s certainly enjoying the perks of his newfound fame. Recently he got to meet Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė:
Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek talked about possibly using Kuzminskas at the 2, which would be one way to solve their guard depth problems, I suppose. For now, he’s behind Carmelo Anthony and Lance Thomas (who could also be used at the 2) on the Knicks’ small forward depth chart.