What's in a name?
In some cases, nothing special.
But what's in a nickname?
Many times, a hell of a lot!
As we all know from following sports, there have been a number of athletes over the years who have picked up epic nicknames for a variety of reasons.
Some come from a family member back when they were a kid, while others might be because of something stupid they did while in college.
That's why I'm giving you the best current nicknames in sports, because I love a good story, and these dudes seem to have a good one thanks to their moniker.
Real Name: Ian McCall
With a moniker like "Uncle Creepy," some might be a little afraid to be around MMA fighter, Ian McCall, and certainly wouldn't want to leave their kids with him, either.
Picking this up from a friend's son, the name is clearly one that the tattooed, trash 'stached McCall really lives up to.
Real Name: Brooks Conrad
He might not be in the MLB anymore—currently playing for the Hanshin Tigers of Nippon Professional Baseball—but I'm betting that Brooks Conrad's teammates are still calling him, "Raw Dog."
Given to him for his choice to swing the bat without batting gloves, the name stuck and a legend was born—just not the type that some college kids usually relate with.
Real Name: Josh Smith
There might not be a player in the NBA that represents his nickname more than the Detroit Pistons' Josh Smith.
With a penchant to dunk on anyone in his way, J-Smoove is about as cool and smooth as caramel when he hoops it up.
Real Name: Derek Jeter
Also known as "Mr. November," the New York Yankees' Derek Jeter has arguably the most distinguished nickname in sports right now.
I mean, honestly, who the hell wouldn't want to be labeled as arguably the most prestigious franchise in sports?
It seems to have worked just fine for Jeter, as he's won five World Series and has earned himself the title of the "King of New York."
Real Name: Matt Cooke
It's too bad that Minnesota Wild winger Matt Cooke doesn't play a sport that requires him to be super weighty and monstrous, like a defensive lineman in football might be.
No matter, though, as the moniker of "Cookie Monster" is still fitting—because he chomps up opponents with his hard—some might call, dirty—hits.
Real Name: Shane Victorino
Hailing from the state of Hawaii, Boston Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino's "The Flyin' Hawaiian" is pretty appropriate.
The nickname originally got set thanks to Victorino's speedy past, as he won the 100-meter, 200-meter and 400-meter dashes at the 1999 spring state track meet in high school.
Yeah, I'd say the dude can fly.
Real Name: Nick Young
While some guys might not accept their nicknames, L.A. Lakers guard Nick Young makes sure to take his very seriously.
Young might jack up shots as if he had no conscience at all, but I'd like to think that's just part of his "Swaggy P" ego—which, sometimes, comes out at the oddest times.
Real Name: Tony Hawk
While most younger sports fans might associate the nickname of "Birdman" with the Miami Heat's Chris Andersen, for some of us mid 20-something's, there's really only one guy who fits the bill: Tony Hawk.
Seeing how Hawk has redefined the laws of physics by the way he sores through the air on a skateboard for a very, very long time, it's no wonder the moniker has stuck with him.
Real Name: Ray Allen
Thanks to his character in the Spike Lee joint, He Got Game, Miami Heat guard Ray Allen's nickname of Jesus Shuttlesworth just couldn't help but stick with him—which is why he'll wear it on the custom, nickname jersey a few times this year.
The role was about the top-ranked basketball player in the country, which, based off his soon-to-be Hall of Fame career, Allen has certainly lived up to in real life.
Real Name: So Wa Wai
One might not know much—if anything—about Hong Kong Paralympian, So Wa Wai.
But as one of the most successful Paralympic athletes ever, winning six Paralympic Games gold medals and an additional six combined silver and bronze medals, he's done some incredible things.
Born with jaundice and doing the things he has only makes the nickname "Wonderboy" something that's definitely fitting.
Real Name: Ricardo Kaka
If there's a sport where an athlete would want to be known as "The Magician," soccer might just be on the top of the list.
Thankfully, the man who holds down the title has proven to be a worthy candidate, because Brazilian player Kaka is one hell of a trickster with the ball at his feet.
Real Name: Johnny Manziel
When you think of all the college football players that have strapped on their helmets and went out to hit each other, there's only one that comes off as being supreme—Texas A&M's Heisman-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Catching on after all of his amazing plays at A&M during his redshirt freshman season in 2012, the nickname is big enough to go to anyone's head—which it seemed to for a while with Manziel.
But dude has lived up to it in his two seasons as an Aggie.
Real Name: Kevin Durant
I personally think the nickname that Oklahoma City Thunder premier scorer Kevin Durant has is one of the coolest in sports.
With so many people fearing the hairy spider, the way that "Durantula" can fill up the hoop with points has to be just about as terrifying for any of his opponents.
I'd imagine many defenders reacting this way after trying to shut him down for an entire game.
Real Name: New York Yankees
Though all of these other nicknames are connected with a certain athlete, overlooking the "Evil Empire" one that the New York Yankees developed from Boston Red Sox President Larry Lucchino back in 2002 was just too good to leave off.
Spending money as if it's no object at all, the Yanks have nearly no restraints from paying for a championship—though it hasn't worked out for them since 2009.
Real Name: Bud Norris
You might be asking yourself how Baltimore Orioles pitcher Bud Norris finds himself on this list—since most fans just know him as Bud.
So you might be surprised to hear the story about how the right-hander actually earned his name.
When he was three years old, David S. Norris wanted to fit in with the other guys at the dinner table, so he took a few sips of a Bud beer, thus earning the nickname.
Much respect to the guy for taking a chance and seeing some reprise come from it.
Real Name: Julian Edelman
Standing just 5'10" and weighing about 200 pounds, the first though on New England Patriots' wideout Julian Edelman is probably that he doesn't play football.
But don't be fooled, because not only does he play the sport, but he does it quite well.
Thanks to him performing at such a high level—he's more than doubled his best season this year—Edelman has earned the nickname of "Minitron."
If Calvin Johnson is the prototypical freak of nature as a wide receiver, Edelman's probably pretty happy to be mentioned in the same breath.
Real Name: Adrian Peterson
Also commonly known as "All Day" for the way he bulls over defenders without ever losing a step throughout an entire game, the Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson's other nickname is one that I like a hell of a lot more.
"Purple Jesus" seems fitting for the dominating Peterson—though he probably doesn't respond to the prayers opposing players have before facing him.
Real Name: Floyd Mayweather Jr.
After being known as "Pretty Boy" for so long, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. decided he had had enough and took it upon himself to change that up.
Seeing that "Money" earned over $80 million for his latest fight and holds an undefeated career record, there might not be any athlete who is more money than this dude is.
Real Name: Carles Puyol
Not only does Barcelona captain Carles Puyol look like a lion thanks to his flowing locks, but with the pride, leadership and sturdiness he plays with, his nickname is even more fitting.
As a Barca fan, here's to hoping the 35-year-old can overcome his recent injury struggles to stay doing what he does best, because it'd be a shame to see him walk away because of the nagging effects.
Real Name: Jameis Winston
I still think that he should go by "Famous"—especially if he keeps doing some of the things that he has been on the football field—but if he still excels by going as "Jaboo," I won't object.
Real Name: Marshawn Lynch
Our main man, Marshawn Lynch.
Thanks to Lynch's "Beast Mode" run against the New Orleans Saints back in a 2010 Wild Card Game—where he pushed his way over, around and off defenders—the moniker stuck with him.
Now, each time Marshawn touches the rock, he seems to do bull over anyone who gets in his way.
Real Name: Mark Martin
One wouldn't think that a 54-year-old race car driver would find himself with the nickname of "Epic Swag," but thanks to Mark Martin's Twitter account getting hacked early last year, that's what he finds himself going by these days.
Of course, it also turns out that Martin enjoys rap, so maybe this isn't too far off.
Real Name: Shaun White
If I had to pick a top five for the coolest athletes in the world, there's absolutely no way I could leave action sports mogul Shaun White off of it.
Besides just having a no-care attitude and sitting on top of his sport, White has one of the dopest nicknames around.
Known as "The Flying Tomato" because of his former long locks, White has no fear when it comes to catching big air anytime he's on a board.
Real Name: Blake Griffin
It seems like L.A. Clippers forward Blake Griffin has been scooping up nicknames left and right since coming into the league as the top overall pick in 2009.
Some of them have stuck. While others he prefers not to be called.
Regardless of his opinion, "High Griffinition" is really cool, as most of the dude's time is spent in-flight, posterizing defenders.
It's pretty clear that he has specialized cables that give an extra sharp view into the art of dunking.
Real Name: Brad Marchand
With a nickname like "Nose Face Killah,"—a beautifully played reference to the rapper from Wu-Tang Clan—the fan holding this "We Hate Boston" sign is lucky there's glass between him and Marchand, otherwise the burly Boston left winger may go to work.
It's a homage to the size of Marchand's nose, but it's intimidating as all hell, too.
Real Name: Calvin Johnson
When an athlete is compared to a Transformers character, how in the hell can I not put him high on my list?
It's not that Detroit Lions All-World receiver Calvin Johnson is a rare human being, it's that I'm not even sure some of the skills he has could be described as human-like.
Maybe that's why he earned himself the nickname "Megatron," because the things he does on the football field can't be duplicated by anyone else on the planet.
Real Name: Kobe Bryant
He may not be himself (yet) since coming back from the torn Achilles injury he suffered last season, but can anyone deny Kobe Bryant is still one of the kings of the NBA?
With five world titles and the mentality as one of the cruelest, surly, strongest competitors in any sport, "The Back Mamba" has no time to worry about detractors when it comes to leading his team to victory.
He's ruthless and deadly, so there isn't a name that's more appropriate or lethal in sports right now.