Do You Know These Athletes' Real Names?

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistMay 28, 2014

Do You Know These Athletes' Real Names?

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    Alison Wise/Associated Press

    As someone who typically gets referred to by a nickname, rarely ever actually getting called by my first name, I can absolutely relate to some of these athletes.

    Well, not all of them, of course.

    That's because, while they may go by recognizable names for sports fans, it's not what their birth certificate actually says.

    So test your skills to see if you know the real names of these athletes.

Osi Umenyiora

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    Dave Martin/Associated Press

    Real Name: Ositadimma Umenyiora

    As one might imagine, having a first name that isn't only tough to pronounce but also nearly impossible to spell is never a good look.

    That's why current Atlanta Falcons defensive end Osi Umenyiora shortened it to just Osi, since no one would talk to him otherwise—seeing how they couldn't actually say his name.

Albert Pujols

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    Real Name: Jose Alberto Pujols Alcantara

    He may be one of the best hitters—and most recent addition to the 500 home run club—but L.A. Angels star Albert Pujols actually has a name as long as one of his home runs.

    Cutting out the Jose and Alcantara and shortening Alberto down to the more American version of the same name sure does make it easier for what will be on his Hall of Fame plaque one day.

Colt McCoy

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Real Name: Daniel McCoy

    Playing at the University of Texas in college, it almost seemed like destiny that current Washington Redskins backup quarterback Colt McCoy would wind up playing in Austin one day.

    In fact, it was so good that it wasn't, technically, accurate.

    The all-time Longhorns leader in wins as a starting signal-caller, Colt's actual first name is Daniel.

CC Sabathia

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    Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

    Real Name: Carsten Charles Sabathia

    He has been one of the most feared lefty pitchers since he came into the majors back in 2001—even earning himself a Cy Young Award back in 2007—but do you know what the CC stands for in CC Sabathia's name?

    That would be Carsten Charles, which was given to him in honor of his dad, who shares the same name.

Metta World Peace

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Real Name: Ron Artest Jr.

    Named after his dad, former NBA All-Star Metta World Peace just didn't think his given name had as much of an impact as his current one.

    That's why Artest legally changed it up back in 2011, with the full meaning standing for friendship, love and kindness in the world—which he lived up to after a few dust-ups early in his career.

Bubba Watson

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    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    Real Name: Gerry Lester Watson Jr.

    A two-time Masters winner, everyone seems to love Bubba Watson whenever he steps foot on the first tee at a tournament.

    With the cheers for "Bubba" ringing from the gallery, fans should actually be yelling "Gerry," instead, because that's Watson's real first name.

    Still, Bubba just sounds cooler—even if it did come because he was a chunky baby.

Eli Manning

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Real Name: Elisha Manning

    Many people might think that New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning's birth certificate reads Elijah on the first-name line.

    Those people would be mistaken, though.

    In fact, the youngest Manning brother's true first name is Elisha, meaning he's named after an actress who is quite attractive, Elisha Cuthbert (kidding).

    That might be weird, but remember, Eli has two Super Bowl rings, so he's getting the last laugh.

Doc Rivers

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    Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

    Real Name: Glenn Rivers

    He may not be an athlete on the NBA court anymore, but before guiding the Boston Celtics to an NBA title as their head coach a few seasons ago and taking over for the L.A. Clippers, Doc Rivers enjoyed a 13-year career in the league.

    And while he seemed/seems like a surgeon on the court or sideline, Doc's real first name is actually Glenn—which definitely isn't as dope, and it probably doesn't have a great story behind it.

Mark Super Duper

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    John Parra/Getty Images

    Real Name: Mark Dupas

    While I really hope that no fan really believed that former NFL wide receiver Mark Super Duper's last name was, in fact, Super Duper, there may not be many who remember what his real name is.

    That would be Mark Dupas.

    But that all changed when he decided to change it in 1985, making it a hell of a lot more extraordinary—which didn't necessarily help him following the switch, based off his stats.

B.J. Upton

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Real Name: Melvin Upton

    This one is just cool.

    Although we've all known him only as B.J. Upton, the Atlanta Braves outfielder's first name is actually Melvin.

    So why B.J.?

    That would be because his dad was referred to as Bossman, so, naturally, he made his son Bossman Junior, which eventually was shortened—although I really wish it hadn't.

Bo Jackson

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    Beth Keiser/Associated Press

    Real Name: Vincent Jackson

    Vincent Knows—well, that doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

    But that's what could have happened had this former athlete—who was named the best ever by an ESPN poll a few years ago—had stuck with his given name rather than go by Bo.

    Thankfully, he didn't do that, as he was given the nickname Bo after displaying the energy of a wild boar while younger.

Magic Johnson

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    Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

    Real Name: Earvin Johnson

    He's at the epicenter of one of the worst moments in NBA history, but three-time league MVP and five-time world champion Magic Johnson is still one of the most respected athletes in the past 20 years.

    Johnson has done it all, from helping to raise money for HIV/AIDS to owning numerous franchises as a businessman.

    And while we all know him as Magic, it's Earvin to those who knew him before he got big.

Tiger Woods

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    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    Real Name: Eldrick Woods

    OK, so this one was probably known by most of you out there, but what's more interesting than knowing Tiger Woods' first name is really Eldrick is how he got the nickname Tiger.

    After Woods' late dad, Earl, served in the Army, one of his best friends was a Vietnamese soldier by the name of Vuong Dang Phong—who happened to be nicknamed Tiger.

    From that, the Woods' gave it to their son.

Cy Young

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    Associated Press

    Real Name: Denton Young

    Enjoying a 22-year MLB career, Cy Young didn't just win games and dominate hitters, he absolutely clowned them.

    Winning a total of 511 games and posting an ERA of 2.63, Young was so good that the league named the award for the best pitching performance in each league after him.

    That's just about the highest of praises—but it wouldn't have quite the same ring to it if he had gone by Denton Young instead.


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    Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

    Real Name: Edson Arantes do Nascimento

    Without hesitation or debate, nearly everyone openly acknowledges soccer great Pele as the best the game has ever seen.

    But did you know that the name we all know him by almost never happened?

    That's because Pele—whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento—punched the classmate who gave him the moniker while in grade school.

    As his home country prepares to launch the beginning of the World Cup in a few weeks, Pele will once again find himself at the epicenter of the soccer world.