Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News reports that former Portland Trail Blazers forward/center Jeff Pendergraph has legally changed his last name to "Ayres."
The man many called "Pendy" has decided to take his biological father's last name after using his stepfather's last name throughout high school, college and during his first three seasons in the NBA. He explained that the birth of his daughter helped him decide to make the change.
It wasn't until Ayres' daughter was born in June that he began to contemplate that old, Shakespearian question. What's in a name? Ayres saw no need for Naomi to carry a name he felt no connection to himself. He didn't want her to grow up with questions about the Pendergraphs.
Not wanting to switch back to Orcutt [his mother's maiden name], the soon-to-be-former Jeff Pendergraph and his wife contemplated starting from scratch with a completely new moniker.
They joked about legally dubbing themselves "Mr. and Mrs. Awesome."
"Then I thought, I bet my dad would love it if I took his name," Ayres said. "As a son, that's kind of the idea. You're supposed to take your dad's name."
The Blazers acquired Ayres in the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft. He spent one year with the team but was released in 2010 after he suffered a season-ending knee injury during the preseason. Ayres spent the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons with the Indiana Pacers before signing a two-year deal worth $3.6 million with the San Antonio Spurs this summer.
Ayres, 26, holds career averages of 2.9 points and 2.4 rebounds and is widely-regarded as one of the greatest Talkin' Ball panelists of all time.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter