The other day a good friend of mine attended her first Trailblazers game in Portland. Instinctively, the first thought I had was "Rip City." Minutes later, after I said it, I got to thinking about all of the other nicknames used in NBA. I'm not talking about the actual team names, or the cities, but the alternative names coined over the years. The slogan-style names you'll find on the mega fan t-shirts and handmade signs.
On the brink of NBA Playoffs 2010, the time has come to for us to really learn the fabulous NBA nick-names, and the stories behind them. Just imagine drinking your skinny girl Margarita at the bar, and fantastically speaking mega-lingo to your basketball lovin' buddies. You'll be able to really knock their jerseys off by jiving names the NBA-insiders and massive fans have used to confuse. How surprised they'll be when you refer to Oklahoma City Thunder as, well, The Sleeper Sonics... pencils out fabulous ones... let's discuss.
What's in a name?
Rip City (Portland Trail Blazers) - The Blazers were nicknamed Rip City during a Blazers/Lakers game. It was late February 1977, the Blazers inaugural year. A commentator yelled "Rip City! Alright!" After a massive David vs. Goliath style Blazers victory. Thirty-two years later, Rip City remains Portland's victory call for the Blazers.
The Bad Boys (Detroit Pistons): The term "Bad Boys" was coined in the late 1980's under the Detroit "Bad Boys" era. The team employed a very physical, defense-oriented playing style, earning them a reputation around the league as "the bad boys." Players such as Joe Dumars and Isiah Thomas lead the Bad Boys into the Eastern Conference Finals, the furthest the team had gone in it's existence. The team has also been called The D-Troit Ballers.
Showtime "The Lake Show" (Los Angeles Lakers): The nickname originated during the 1984-1985 season, in a time Laker fans called "The Showtime Era." According to The Lakers History, Showtime is, "A fact-paced style of basketball. It's a "no-loop pass off the fastbreak, pin-point ally-oops from half court, spinning feeds and overhand bullets under the basket through triple teams" Okay, now impress me... say that ten times fast!
Zombie Sonics (Oklahoma City Thunder): The Seattle Sonics were traded in 2008 to Oklahoma City. The trade still isn't resting well with the majority of the Super Sonics faithful. Owner, Clay Bennett traded the team to Oklahoma with very little consideration paid to the Sonics fan base, the team itself, or city of Seattle. Upon hearing of the trade, Bill Simmons, a columnist for ESPN began calling the Oklahoma City Thunder the Zombie Sonics. He says he'll continue to use Zombie Sonics out of respect to the former Seattle Supersonics, and their fans. He refers to the team by that name in all of his columns and pod casts.
List of shortened names shortened (slightly obvious, super superb to know none-the-less):
The Mavs (Dallas Mavericks)
The Dubs (Golden State Warriors)
Knicks (New York Knickerbockers): Did you know the Knicks legal name is the Knickerbockers? Perhaps one day Jay-Z will own the Knickerbockers. If you want to really throw someone off their knickers, call the team the knickerbockers. It will impress!
Nugs (Denver Nuggets)
Raps (Toronto Raptors)
T'Wolves (Minnesota Timberwolves) - have also been called The Timber Puppies during lackluster years.
Sixers (Philadelphia 76'ers) - Sixers is printed on the Philadelphia jerseys instead of 76'ers
Celts (Boston Celtics): They've also been referred to simply as "The Others" named as the other team that's out east. Often times "The Others" is used by league rival, Lakers Fans.
The Wiz (Washington Wizards)
Rox (Houston Rockets)
Baby Bulls (Chicago Bulls)
Stay Fabs (aka- Fabulous)