UNSUPPORTED BROWSER
Point Forward

Spurs' Jeff Pendergraph legally changes his surname to 'Ayres'

(Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images) Jeff Pendergraph (center) has legally changed his last name. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images)

"Jeff Pendergraph" has officially gone the way of Lew Alcindor, Chris Jackson, Brian Williams and Ron Artest.

The San Antonio Express-News reports that the former Mr. Pendergraph, a reserve forward/center signed by the Spurs this summer, legally changed his name to Jeff Ayres in August.

Unlike some of his name-change predecessors mentioned above, Ayres' decision was motivated by his immediate family's history rather than religious, ancestral or inspirational purposes.

Hold on, because this back story gets a little complicated: the Express-News reports that the newly-christened Jeff Ayres was born Jeff Orcutt (his mother's maiden name) and that he didn't know who his biological father was until later in life. He then switched to Jeff Pendergraph while in elementary school when his mother married his stepfather, who is apparently no longer a part of Pendergraph's life. From there, Ayres decided to go through the process of taking his biological father's name after he and his wife had a daughter in June.

“I didn't know who my dad was until I was a senior in high school,” Jeff Ayres said Wednesday, during a break from pickup games as the Spurs' practice gym.

...

Ayres saw no need for [daughter] 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, 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.”

Ayres, 26, was a second round pick in the 2009 draft out of Arizona State. He spent his rookie season with the Blazers before he was released in 2010 after suffering a season-ending knee injury during the preseason. He then spent two seasons with the Pacers before he signed a two-year, $3.6 million deal with the Spurs in July. A hustle player who specializes in hitting the glass, handing out fouls and getting his teammates hyped up before games, Ayres holds career averages of 2.9 points and 2.4 rebounds.

The change removes one of the more unusual surnames from the league and cuts the number of characters in Pendergraph's last name from 11 to five. That's a minor footnote compared to the father/son and father/daughter bonds at work here, but this decision serves a practical purpose too. His name was so long that it required a steep semicircle arcing when stitched onto the back of his jersey. No more.

(Ron Hoskins/Getty Images) Jeff Pendergraph (right) has legally changed his name to Jeff Ayres. (Ron Hoskins/Getty Images)

More Point Forward

Close

To continue enjoying content from the most trusted name is sports, please be sure to update your current bookmark.

Our updated web address is http://www.si.com.

To continue enjoying content from the most trusted name is sports, please be sure to update your current bookmark.

Just follow these 4 easy steps:

  1. Click the Chrome menu on the browser toolbar.
  2. Select Bookmarks.
  3. Select Bookmark manager.
  4. Locate your current Sports Illustrated bookmark, click the Organize menu, then select Edit. You can now easily update the web address of your Sports Illustrated bookmark.

    Our updated web address is http://www.si.com.

To continue enjoying content from the most trusted name is sports, please be sure to update your current bookmark.

Just follow these 2 easy steps:

  1. Click the Safari bookmark manager on the browser toolbar.
  2. This will open the Bookmarks Bar. In the Bookmarks Bar, select your Sports Illustrated bookmark and manually edit the Address field.

    Our updated web address is http://www.si.com.

To continue enjoying content from the most trusted name is sports, please be sure to update your current bookmark.

Just follow these 3 easy steps:

  1. Click the Firefox bookmark manager on the browser toolbar.
  2. Select Show All Bookmarks.
  3. This will open the library window. In the Library window, select your Sports Illustrated bookmark and manually edit the Location field.

    Our updated web address is http://www.si.com.
Don't Show This Again