Hofstra point guard Juan’ya Green long has been noted for his handle. That is to say, not just his brilliant ballhandling but his “handle,’’ meaning a name as distinctive as his game.
Green’s mother, Jennell, says she was a “huge Boyz II Men fan,” in part because the group was based in her hometown of Philadelphia. The lead singer was Wanya Morris.
“I loved the name,” she said. “It was different. I was like, ‘Wow, this guy can really sing.’ It just stuck with me. Juan’ya says he doesn’t like it because people always mess his name up. I say that’s fine. My first name is Octavia. I’ve been called Olivia, anything but Octavia. You have to kindly correct them. He said, ‘Why couldn’t you name me Lamar?’ ”
Green laughed when asked about the origin of his name. “I knew it was coming,” he said. “At first, I kind of hated it. I would tell her when I came home from school, ‘I don’t know why you named me that.’
“But as the years went on, I kind of liked it. Everybody said it was unique. There’s a thousand Lamars in the world. So I went with it and thought of it as a positive.”