The most remarkable part of how Dewayne Dedmon became “The Mechanic” might not be the way a social-media account created a nickname that went viral to the degree of formally being adopted by the Miami Heat.
The most extraordinary element is how it so aptly fits the hard-working, gritty reserve center.
“When I was a senior in high school, my senior project actually was where I worked at a garage,” Dedmon told the Sun Sentinel this week. “I can change the oil. I can change a tire. I know somewhat how to do sparkplugs. They’re a little tricky. I can do a few things.”
Certainly no one at Miami Heat Beat (Twitter: @miaheatbeat), when the social-media account embraced Dedmon’s work ethic upon his Heat arrival last April, at a time the team was starved for someone to help Bam Adebayo with the team’s dirty work in the paint.
No matter. A nickname was born.
“We do a postgame show called Hangover Time,” said Giancarlo Navas, host and editor for @miaheatbeat. “We’re basically just being goofy talking about the game. And we kind of fell in love with Dedmon. Early on, they were struggling with rebounding the year that they got him. So he started bringing energy and stuff like that.
“And I believe it was Tiffany Meeks on our postgame show that said, ‘He looks like the uncle on the block who will fix your Camaro.’ And then we started creating this character, because he had also fixed stuff on the team, right? So we created a segment called Dedmon’s Garage.”
Left there, it merely would have been an innovative nickname suggestion, one likely to dissipate into the ether.
But after being tagged on social media with the moniker, Dedmon upped the ante.
His Halloween costume earlier this season?
Well, as the caption on his Instagram read, “Happy Halloween from the Mechanic an Elmo.”
There, alongside his son in an Elmo costume stood Dedmon in mechanic’s overalls.
“My wife bought ‘em for me, because of the nickname,” he said. “It was a joke we liked a lot.”
Navas and his team were besides themselves.
“He posted it and tagged us,” Navas said. “We could not believe it. We had lost it. It was The Mechanic and Elmo. For us, it was, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe this is happening.’ And we thought it was our funny little gag, and now Dedmon is like in on it.”
And that’s the thing, from the beginning Dedmon took it as an embrace, finding something particularly appealing about Dedmon’s Garage.
“I thought it was funny,” he said.
From there . . . it took on a life of its own.
It was mentioned on the podcast that Jeremy Tache’ does for Bally Sports Florida.
Heat captain Udonis Haslem started using it.
Longtime Heat play-by-play voice Eric Reid would mention it on Heat broadcasts.
Basketball Reference was listing it on Dedmon’s biography page.
Suddenly, it was a staple of the Heat’s official social-media accounts, one, Cedric Brown, the Heat’s director of digital programs, said no longer could be overlooked.
“During that stretch when he started playing really well,” Brown said, “it’s all we could see in our mentions, ‘The Mechanic, The Mechanic, The Mechanic.’ And it was like, this is awesome.’ “
So they ran it by Dedmon.
“He said it is the ‘hardest’ nickname in the league,” Brown said of the gritty element. “And when you hear that, that’s when we knew we really had to lean in on it.
“We had his blessing and we just kind of ran with it.”
As with Navas, the Halloween post put it over the top.
“When we saw that,” Brown said, “we knew at that point we had no choice but to move on with it. That was it. We’d feel like we’d be doing ourselves and our fans an injustice by not using it.”
For Dedmon, 6 feet 11, 250 pounds, it is the latest evolution of a series of nicknames that he said began . . . at birth.
“Heavy D, that was my nickname when I was little,” he said of the moniker first carried by the late Jamaican-born rapper, producer, singer and actor.
“Apparently,” Dedmon, 32, continued with a smile, “when I came out. I was a big baby.”
Later, he said, the nickname became D-Mac.
“It started in college,” he said of that one. “Just one of my teammates gave me the nickname one day when we was chilling, and it kind of stuck.”
And, now, The Mechanic.
“I mean, it works for the team, it works for what I do. So it’s cool,” he said. “I learned early in this league, it’s about playing a role, fitting in and sticking to it to keep a job.”
And if needed, handle an oil change.
Only, he said, the stakes have changed.
“That’ll be $250,” he said.
Whoa, $250 for an oil change?
“That’s not a rip off,” he said, again smiling, “you’re paying for the experience.”