Lake People / Calves / Walkers Update

(Please see crowdsourcing UPDATE below.) Following an item on Game Three of the Lake People - Calves showdown in the NBA West:

1) 湖人队非常不好! The Lake People really stunk up the joint in Game Four yesterday. In every possible way. I am chagrined to have had them as my childhood team.

2) A reader with a Chinese name writes in defense of 小牛, "calves" or "little cows," as the Chinese rendering of the Dallas Mavericks.

>>I checked Oxford English Dictionary which says the word Maverick comes from the name of mid-ninteen century Texan rancher Samuel Maverick who did not brand his cattle. Also there is a Chinese saying "初生牛犊不畏虎" meaning that a new born calf does not fear tigers. So I don't think the translation of Maverick as 小牛 is that far off.<<

On the etymology point: yes, indeed. The Maverick family of Texas, known through much of the 20th century for producing strong progressive/civil-libertarian politicians and writers, was of course in the 19th century the historical source of the term. But the "calves don't fear tigers" slogan is new to me, so with that I'll happily say: 小牛 加油 ("little cows, add oil!" "Go, Mavs") for this next round.

And, I have just heard a sad story from another expatriated hoops fan.

 >>This also reminds me of often trying to explain to Chinese friends why my hometown team is named the Pacers, after the Indy 500 pace car. In Chinese it's rendered "步行者," literally "The Walkers". Doesn't inspire a whole lot of confidence.<<

People of America, your countrymen are stoicly absorbing, in distant corners of the world, hardships that may not be obvious, as they keep on rooting for their little cows, their walkers.

UPDATE: I don't feel like rounding them all up at the moments, but a number of people have written to ask for a complete list of the Chinese name of NBA teams. From watching TV in China I know of some that are straightforward and literal, like 国王, "king," for the Kings, and 雷霆, "thunder," for the Thunder. If someone has a master list including drolleries, please send it in and I will post.  UPDATE-UPDATE: I've got 'em now, and will post in a day or two.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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