There was a time when regardless of your occupation or milieu—basketball player, football player, frat pledger, taxi driver, adult film star—one had to earn a nickname over time.
Now everybody has one from day one.
Especially in the NBA, where some cagers have been called something other than their given name before they could walk. Most of the time, though, it has to do with their play as they move through high school, college and pro ball. Almost invariably, the nicknames are flattering.
Today, many rookies enter the league already carrying nicknames before proving themselves. Some will stick. Some won't.
They'll get the opportunity to prove themselves this year. What was oft-criticized as a weak draft may wind up yielding the most total rookie minutes in NBA history (corrected for 66 games). You can thank the lockout and demanding shortened schedule for that.
Here are my rankings for the NBA's top 25 rookie nicknames.