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Polling guru Nate Silver wants fans to face ‘uncomfortable reality’ about Indiana Fever’s nickname

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Nate Silver, the founder of FiveThirtyEight, drew ire on social media when he criticized the Indiana Fever’s nickname amid the WNBA’s opening week.

The Fever played their third game of the season against the New York Liberty on Saturday night. Silver fired off a post on X about the team.

“As the WNBA gains more attention, it’s time to confront an uncomfortable reality: It’s kind of weird to name a sports team (or anything really) the Fever?” Silver wrote.

One fan made a good point.

“Brother, there are three different baseball teams named after socks,” the person wrote in response.

Sports journalist Lindsay Gibbs added: “the biggest team in the nba is named after lakes.”

Sports journalist Matt Ellentuck wrote facetiously that he agreed with Silver.

“they should be called the paceHers,” he added.

Nate Silver in 2018


Silver’s comment came more than a week after NBA reporter Ethan Strauss floated the idea of changing WNBA names to be more cohesive with NBA teams.

“The one thing they should’ve done – and maybe there’s still time to do it – that they didn’t do from the outset is just use the same team names,” Strauss said on “The Bill Simmons Podcast.” “Like, why force people to learn about the Fever? Why not just have the ‘W Pacers’? I think that makes it so much easier to just resonate and cut across.”

“Like how in college, how it will be ‘the Lady Gamecocks,'” Simmons replied.

Fever banner at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse

Strauss’ argument centered on the idea that since the WNBA essentially operates as a “subsidiary of the NBA,” the league needs to find ways to differentiate itself from the men’s league.

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