When you're in the spotlight, sometimes you need a little anonymity when it comes to... sensitive subjects.
At least that's what Michael Vick would say.
Other athletes, it seems, simply get sick of the monikers with which they were born. They need a little excitement in their lives, and that excitement comes in the form of completely new names (hello, Chad Johnson and Ron Artest) or, more simply, in the form of fun new nicknames.
Sometimes, for better or worse, they catch on. Other times, they don't. And in a few cases, those athletes wish they could be forgotten about completely.
Here are some of the funniest athlete aliases ever.
Thanks to an excellent tip from ESPN's Jackie MacMullan, we know that Charles Barkley used to register at hotels under the alias Satchel Paige.
And not only that, but MacMullan also dropped the bomb that he spent his afternoons watching All My Children while he ate lunch.
On an appearance on Around the Horn late last year (above), MacMullan said she had Satchel Paige's schedule down pat: She'd call him at 12:40, before the afternoon soap programming began, because she knew he'd be available to answer her most probing questions.
The secret to getting athletes on your good side is finding some common ground, right? That's where MacMullan truly had an in. She and Satchel used to chat about All My Children before they really got into the hard-hitting stuff.
It's unclear just how much people are willing to accept this nickname—it's not catching on as well as some of the others in the NFL, and it's kind of weird and doesn't really make sense.
To whom, exactly, is Frank Gore's truth inconvenient? To opponents? To his coaching staff? To himself, as he gets older?
Most likely, it's the first option. Gore has strung together seven straight seasons in which he has gained 1,300 yards or more for the San Francisco 49ers, and this season, he helped them get to the Super Bowl. The inconvenient truth, though, was that he and the Niners didn't stand a chance against the Ravens.
In the grand scheme of nicknames, it's not the best, but it's kind of funny in its desperation.
People love the Deep Throat alias. It's one of the most infamous aliases in the history of the world. Adopting it as your own moniker just makes you feel important.
Naturally, it's only a matter of time before an athlete adopts it as his own alias for road trips.
Back in 2005, when ESPN.com's Darren Rovell interviewed a plethora of baseball stars about the names they hide behind when they stay in hotels, then-Mets pitcher Steve Trachsel made a not-so-bold prediction that "you're definitely going to see Deep Throat pretty soon."
In fact, it's likely that he adopted it as his own after that.
Because college athletes don't get paid for their services to their institutions, they often have to resort to other means to support themselves.
And a few decades ago, when an athlete needed an alias in order to work while still maintaining his college eligibility, that's exactly what John McNally had to do. And he went by the sinister Johnny Blood.
The name, according to the Miami Herald Tribune, is actually taken from a Rudolph Valentino movie, and it caught on to such an extent that McNally kept it when he turned pro with the Packers in the early '60s.
There are some guys who need aliases so they can get jobs in order to put themselves through college, and there are others who need aliases because they can't seem to let go of their college days.
Meet Ron Weaver-slash-Ron McKelvey.
Weaver is that Deion Sanders Super Bowl commercial, except real. According to the Miami Herald Tribune, he used up all of his college eligibility at Sacramento State, but six years later, he changed his name and tried to snag a few more years of college ball at Texas.
Sadly, when he got close to getting found out, he fled right before the team's big bowl game, according to the Herald Tribune, and it turned out he was guilty of using the real McKelvey's Social Security number.
The Yankees are one of those teams that you really show up to see when they're on the road playing your hometown team. And sometimes that's an issue for the players when they're trying to get some privacy in the team hotel.
Whether it's reporters or fans or... other visitors, sometimes they're just not wanted. The players need their time to mellow out and veg and relax, and they can't have people incessantly calling and knocking on the door. So they book their hotels under aliases, and in the case of pitcher CC Sabathia, he used to go with George Jetson.
Now that he's a Yankee, of course, some of the fans have caught onto Sabathia's alias, so George Jetson no longer flies, according to Darren Rovell. But when it did, it was glorious. Sabathia told Rovell, "If you call down to the room service, they're like 'Hey Mr. Jetson.' On the receipt, it's got 'Jetson' on the bottom and you sign it 'George Jetson,' so it's pretty funny."
Kenny Lofton has stayed in a lot of hotels during the course of his career, and at one point, he was still relevant, so there were a lot of people out there who wanted to call his room and annoy him with ticket and autograph requests.
And because his aliases tended to catch on rather quickly, he had to change them. A lot. That's why, throughout his 17-year major league career, his aliases included pretty much every professional boxer that ever existed. Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Sugar Ray Robinson—he has, at one point or another, been all of them.
But as Lofton soon realized, people are catching on to the fact that he goes by boxers, so all they have to do is guess which one, and then he's stuck with an unwanted phone call or knock on the door.
Fortunately, he probably doesn't need aliases as often anymore.
Apparently, people aren't really into the idea of Kobe Bryant being called Black Mamba, judging from the fact that there are several blogs and message boards dedicated to the idea of helping Kobe find a different alias. It's that bad.
But if you think about it, it's a solid attempt. A black mamba is a venomous snake that, in addition to being one of the longest snakes in the world, is also one of the fastest. Kind of a fitting moniker for an NBA superstar who probably considers himself one of the fastest guys in the league, right?
Kobe's one of the NBA's greats and is going to go down in history as being one of the best ever, and as such, he needs an alias. This is a good place to start. It does seem like a little bit too much thought went into it, but it's better than (oh hey, Metta World Peace).
Allen Iverson has adopted a variety of nicknames and aliases since he first burst onto the NBA scene back in 1996. Lots know him as The Answer, but the rest know him as Bubba Chuck. And he was known as Bubba Chuck long before The Answer became a thing.
The story of how he earned the nickname isn't all that exciting, at least when compared to the likes of Michael Vick and Rolando McClain (but we'll get to them). Iverson first earned the nickname as a child, and it comes from the names of two of his uncles.
The nickname may not have caught on in the NBA, but perhaps that's for the best because this is the alias that keeps Iverson connected with his roots. Where he comes from, he's still known as Bubba Chuck, just like he was before he blew up into a superstar.
You may know him as Rocket. To everyone else, though, Roger Clemens is simply Red Glare.
Actually, the purpose of this alias was to make sure nobody could identify Clemens; it's the name he hid behind when he traveled during his 24-year baseball career. And who would ever guess that a professional baseball player would choose a moniker that was, according to Darren Rovell, mostly based on a line from the National Anthem but was also a riff on his nickname?
He could have been creative, like Sabathia, or at least somewhat clever. This sounds like the name of a Kentucky Derby contender. Or of a porn star who couldn't think of a good name.
In all fairness, the dumb alias isn't totally Clemens' fault. He wanted to go with Wyatt Earp, according to Rovell, but the wife—who, after all, was the one who had to get used to saying it—nixed it.
Chris Kluwe may be just a punter, but he makes plenty of headlines in Minnesota, where he's a fan favorite because of his outspokenness.
And that goes beyond his face-to-face interactions. Online, you may find Kluwe's thoughts behind the moniker of Loate.
For those of you who may not know, Kluwe geeks out hardcore for World of Warcraft—to the point where his Twitter handle is ChrisWarcraft. When he posts on Reddit, he goes by Loate, the name of a "troll rogue" character.
And Loate doesn't pull any punches online. A few weeks ago, he expertly trolled NFL commissioner Roger Goodell by asking a pointed question about balancing player safety with fans' desire for "bloodlust."
Sadly for Royals pitcher Brian Anderson, his first-choice alias was already taken by a teammate.
According to Darren Rovell, he didn't make the discovery until he watched Caddyshack one night, decided he wanted to be known from then on as Carl Spackler and was sadly informed that his teammate had laid claim to that alias long before and used it to hide from the media and from fans in the team hotel.
As a result, he had to go with Option No. 2: Lt. Frank Drebin from The Naked Gun.
Mostly, he picked it because it was fun to see his name with "Lt." in front of it—even if it wasn't his real name.
When Evander Holyfield's name started floating around in a 2007 report about athletes allegedly trying to purchase HGH and other steroids, it wasn't exactly his name that was floating around.
According to SI.com, Holyfield went by the uber-creative name "Evan Fields" in his attempt to secure performance-enhancing drugs. Unfortunately, though, the creativity ended there: Holyfield—or Fields, rather—used his actual birth date and an address so similar to his own that it raised some red flags. Additionally, he used his real phone number, so when investigators dialed the digits associated with his account, who do you think picked up?
Evan Fields, you were so close to fooling everyone. So close.
If only A-Rod had thought of using an alias ...
Anyone who knows of Curt Schilling knows that he loves to talk. Wherever, whenever about whatever—he doesn't care who's telling him to stop. He'll never do it.
So it's only fitting that he now takes to the Internet in order to sound off to his heart's desire, where nobody can tell him to stop.
The blogosphere was made for people like Schilling, and way back when Theo Epstein first lured him to Boston in 2003, gehrig38 was the alias he chose in order to communicate with fans on Sons of Sam Horn, a popular Red Sox fan site.
It's also his Twitter moniker, which he uses to contribute the kind of hard-hitting news the people live for, like live-blogging Medfield (Mass.) high school hockey games and keeping us all up to date on the weight of his dog.
Just call him Zoe Barnes.
There is something to be said for wearing your emotions right on your sleeve, or in the case of Rod Smart, on his back.
That's where he put the infamous phrase "He Hate Me" instead of his name during his one season in the XFL in 2001.
In the NFL, it wouldln't fly, but in the ill-fated XFL—a Vince McMahon-masterminded organization that existed for one measly year—anything was allowed. So Smart plastered the phrase across the back of his jersey because, as he told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, it conveys the emotions his opponents feel toward him when he's smoking them as well as the emotions he feels toward himself "when things aren't going [his] way."
Does it make sense? Not at all. But it's still hilarious.
Often, famous people need aliases when they stay in hotels so they can avoid being harassed by fans, by the media, by anyone.
Before the days when everyone over the age of four had a cell phone, hotel phones were crucial. They were the link between the players and the media. But still, players couldn't have just anyone knowing where they were staying, so they adopted aliases in order to cling to what little privacy they could maintain.
Naturally, Carl Everett chose to go by Rod Stewart during his days with the Astros. Of course. Why wouldn't he?
Unfortunately, this backfired once when the real Rod Stewart was staying at the same hotel as the Astros and Everett got plenty of annoying phone calls. That'll teach him.
So, when you get pulled over, you sometimes can't control what comes out of your mouth. You're just really, really mad, especially when you feel like you haven't even done anything wrong. Yeah, you know tinted windows are illegal, but so what?
That's why when they ask you to sign your name to a citation, the only thing you could possibly write down in such a circumstance is, "F*** y'all." Or at least that's what Rolando McClain would have us believe.
When the Raider was pulled over by Decatur Police earlier this year for having tinted windows and was issued a citation, he signed his name as "F*** Y'all" instead of as Rolando McClain. Thus, he was arrested.
He won the fight, but he lost the war.
Nobody wants to think about Michael Vick and STDs. Unfortunately, when a woman filed a lawsuit back in 2005 alleging that Vick gave her one and the suit used the alias "Ron Mexico" instead of Vick's real name, we had no choice.
No fan was going to leave that alone, and the story took on a life of its own. To this day, the alias is the most infamous of all athlete aliases. Back in '05, fans even tried to order No. 7 Falcons jerseys and add a personalized "Mexico" name to them.
Since then, Vick has become far more well known for a variety of other unfortunate circumstances—dog fighting, for one, and being bad at football for another—so Ron Mexico has faded into the background.
But Ron Mexico will never be forgotten.