Lakers' Tarik Black has heard it all when it comes to saying his name

Lakers' Tarik Black has heard it all when it comes to saying his name
Lakers center Tarik Black works the ball inside against Heat center Chris Bosh during a game on Jan. 13. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

What's in a name? Please don't ask Tarik Black.

The Lakers' backup big man has heard every possible pronunciation of his first name, including the most popular, yet incorrect, one as recently as Wednesday night.

Unfortunately for him, it was in front of thousands of people in Milwaukee. The Bucks' public-address announcer called him "Terr-EEK" after he burst through Milwaukee's defense for a first-quarter dunk.

He's also heard "TERR-ick" and "Tar-EEK," but the correct way to say it, as outlined on his player page in NBA media guides, is "TAR-ick."

Not that Black is complaining. Not that kind of guy.

"Even when I went to the University of Memphis, my own hometown, everybody called me something different. It's something I've gotten used to," he said. "Think of how many people I'd have to correct from Memphis to Kansas [University] to Houston to L.A. There's so many people. Honestly, too many people."

His grandmother once made an official correction, though.

"She called in to a radio station when I was playing for Memphis," Black said. "On the radio, they were like, 'Well, Tarik's grandmother just called and corrected us and we want to get it right.' "


The undrafted 23-year-old rookie is trying to make a name for himself in other ways. Wednesday marked the first game he started since the Lakers acquired him via waivers from Houston.

The Lakers like his activity level down low, especially on defense, but he had only five points against Milwaukee as fellow big men Ed Davis (20 rebounds) and Carlos Boozer (28 points) had better nights.

Afterward, Black had one more revelation in the name game.

"I understand the circumstances," he said. "You don't meet that many Tariks. My name is Arabic and it can be pronounced 'Tar-EEK' in Arabic. More so my parents decided to pronounce it 'TAR-ick.' It's only wrong because my parents wanted it that way for me."

Then he laughed. What else could he do?

Clarkson slowed

A fairly important person wasn't concerned about Jordan Clarkson's stat line against Milwaukee: 23 minutes, two points, 0-for-4 shooting and three assists canceled out by three turnovers.

"It was one of the first games in a little while that he hasn't played well but I'm not really worried about that," Lakers Coach Byron Scott said.

Clarkson is averaging 12.7 points and 2.8 assists in six games as a starter.

Big boarder

Davis had been more dormant than dominant since losing his starting job two weeks ago. He re-emerged against Milwaukee with nine offensive rebounds and 11 on the defensive side.

He was the first Lakers player with 20 or more rebounds since Pau Gasol in April 2013.

"That might be the best game I've ever seen him play," Boozer said. "He played like an animal out there."


When: 4 p.m. PST Friday.

Where: Amway Arena.

On the air: TV: TWC SportsNet, TWC Deportes; Radio: 710, 1330.

Records: Lakers 13-36; Magic 15-37.

Record vs. Magic: 1-0.

Update: Six Lakers scored in double figures in a breezy 101-84 victory over Orlando last month at Staples Center. Surprisingly, the Lakers haven't swept a season series against the Magic since 2006-07.

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan