AIM is officially dead. On Friday, AOL pulled the plug on its once-popular instant messaging program, more than 20 years after they first introduced it to the world. It’s a sad day for anyone who ever spent time trying to craft the perfect away message.
To commemorate the occasion, Bleacher Report tracked down a handful of NBA players who grew up using AIM to get their fondest memories of the service. It includes quality commentary from Knicks forward Kyle O’Quinn, Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes, and more. But the most interesting part of the piece came when Knicks center Joakim Noah shared his thoughts on AIM.
Noah spent part of his childhood growing up in France and attending a United Nations school, which meant that AIM was essential for keeping in touch with friends. Fortunately, Noah’s living arrangements made that easy. His dad is famous tennis player Yannick Noah, which meant Noah was able to secure a phone line that was dedicated to keeping him signed into AOL at all times. If you’re under the age of 25, you might not know what a luxury that was, but it was a big thing back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and Noah took pride in it.
What Noah doesn’t necessarily take pride in, though, is the AIM screen name he chose for himself back then. BR asked all of the players they spoke with about AIM to provide their screen names, and most were happy to do it. J.J. Redick’s was "JJShoota3," Doug McDermott’s was "LuvDaCourt23," and Iman Shumpert’s was "True26Born90." But Noah went in a decidedly different direction, which is why BR says he was "reticent" to share his name before he eventually gave up the goods.
"Damn, that’s personal," he said. "It was actually 'Doggystyle.'"
Doggystyle? Doggystyle. Noah said there were also some numbers tacked on to the end of the name, but BR said he wouldn’t reveal what they were "citing privacy concerns."
That seems like a weird screen name for a teenager to choose. But as it turns out, there was actually a good reason for it. Noah told BR he chose it because of how much he loved Snoop Dogg’s debut album of the same name.
"It was because of the Snoop Dogg album," he said. "That was my favorite album. I mean, I was so young that I don’t think I or other people my age knew what doggystyle was. And anyway, I was in France at the time. There, you call it levrette."
In fairness to Noah, his story checks out. In this ESPN.com profile on the former Bulls player from back in August 2015, he talked at length about how much he loved Doggystyle, which his mom apparently bought for him when he was in just the third grade. But still, that screen name didn’t exactly age well and the fact that it requires an explanation probably means he should have stuck with some variation of the hoops-influenced screen names his fellow ballplayers went with on AIM.