What's in a Name?: The Top 10 Names in Sports

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What's in a Name?: The Top 10 Names in Sports

When I saw Usain "Lightning" Bolt of Jamaica win the 100 meters at the Beijing Olympics this past week, it got me thinking: What other sports names would imply the notion of athletic success?

Look at Usain Bolt. The last name "Bolt" gives the people the impression that this guy is really fast. Sure enough, he was fast enough to win an Olympic gold medal.

Living up to your family name is one thing. Imagine having to live up to some of the names on this list! Here are my Top 10 names in sports that really put the pressure on that athlete to succeed.


10. Keith Toogood

When Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach recruited Dallas Christian High School’s placekicker, Leach probably thought the kid was “too good” to pass up.

Keith Toogood is a former kicker for Texas Tech Red Raiders. Toogood was “too good” (I apologize for the overuse of the bad pun) for Texas Tech’s past kickers, setting the school record for single-season freshman points (90), conversion attempts (70), and PATs (66) in 2003.


9. Travis Best

Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better...and your name is Travis Best.

While he may have one of the “best” names in sports, Best isn’t the best player in the NBA. However, he’s been one of the league’s best players coming off the bench. Travis Best has a career average of 7.6 points and 3.5 assists per game.

In perhaps the “best” moment of his NBA career, Best nailed a series-clinching three-pointer to lead the Indiana Pacers past the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the 2000 Eastern Conference playoffs.


8. Commander King

Well, which one is it? Fit to command an army or rule a nation? Perhaps, both?

Commander King played college basketball at Northern Arizona State from 1999-2001 and was one of the Lumberjacks’ best defenders. King was a guard for the Lumberjacks when they won the Big Sky Conference Championship in the 1999-2000 season. Northern Arizona State went on to nearly upset second-seeded St. John’s University in the 2000 NCAA Tournament.

King now coaches high school basketball in Flagstaff, Arizona.


7. Hercules and Samson Satele

Talk about a strong relationship!

These two brothers are named for two of the strongest characters in history: the Greek warrior Hercules and the biblical strong man Samson.

Hercules was an offensive lineman for the Hawaii Warriors and an important member of the 2007 WAC Champion Warriors. Hercules currently plays offensive line for the Arizona Cardinals.

Samson, also a former offensive lineman for the Hawaii Warriors, was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the 2nd round of the 2007 NFL Draft. Samson won the starting job at center for the Dolphins in 2007 and became the first rookie in franchise history to start all 16 regular season games.


6. Usain Bolt

This is great! A sprinter named “Bolt.” That’s the equivalent of a basketball player named “Swish” or a football player named “Touchdown.”

Now known as the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt of Jamaica “bolted” to victory and an Olympic gold medal in the 100 meter sprint at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. “Lightning” Bolt won the 100 meters in a jaw-dropping 9.69 seconds, good enough for both the Olympic and world records.

The most amazing part was that Bolt’s left shoelace was undone during the race.

Shocking, huh?


5. God Shammgod

God Shammgod faces unbelievable pressure, sharing a name with the person who is given credit for creating the Earth.

Shammgod, a 1995 McDonald’s All American, was a 2ndround pick by the Washington Wizards in the 1997 NBA Draft. Shammgod played one season for the Wizards before going abroad and playing professionally in China, Poland, and Saudi Arabia. Shammgod now plays for the Portland Chinooks of the International Basketball League.

God Shammgod played his college basketball at Providence College where he set the Big East freshman assist record and made the Big East All-Freshman team. During his sophomore season, Shammgod teamed with current NBA player Austin Croshere to lead the Friars to the 1997 Elite Eight.

In perhaps his major claim to fame, God Shammgod is credited with teaching Kobe Bryant his crossover move while the two played for the same AAU basketball team.


4. Majestic Mapp

Majestic is defined as “greatly impressive.” While Majestic Mapp was “greatly impressive” on the basketball court, injury woes befell the young point guard and he was unable to truly realize his full athletic potential.

Majestic Mapp was a 1999 McDonald’s All-American along with current NBA star Carlos Boozer. Mapp went on to the University of Virginia, but unfortunately, suffered a torn ACL and needed five surgeries to fully recover. Mapp finished his college career at Division II West Georgia, averaging 19 points per game.

Majestic Mapp also has a brother with a rather unique name. Mapp’s brother Scientific Mapp was a point guard for Florida A&M.


3. World B. Free

Nicknamed “World” for his high flying dunks, Lloyd Bernard Free often defied gravity on his way to the basket.

World B. Free played in the NBA for 13 seasons, averaging 20.3 points per game during his career. His best season came in 1979-80 when Free averaged 30.2 points per game and was named to the NBA All-Star team.

Free officially changed his first name to “World” in 1980. ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale uses World B. Free’s name to give his award for the best name in college basketball.


2. Wonderful Terrific Monds III

This, by far, is a great name. The best part is that he is the third person in his family to be named this. You have to feel for this kid. He faced high expectations from the day he was born. Luckily, my name is average—well, actually it’s Joseph, not Average.

Wonderful Terrific Monds III was a minor league outfielder who played from 1993-2000. Monds spent the majority of his career in the Atlanta Braves farm system, but also played minor league ball for the Colorado Rockies and the Cincinnati Reds.

The story behind this unique name originated when Monds’ grandfather was born. The proud father thought that it was, “wonderful, just terrific,” that he finally had his first son after a number of girls.

The rest of the Monds family wasn’t too shabby at sports either. Wonderful Monds III is the son of former San Francisco 49er Wonder Monds and the brother of former Cincinnati Bengal and Miami Dolphin Mario Monds.


1. Immaculate Perfection Harris

Does perfection have a name?

Eventually shortening his first name to I-Perfection, this former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket was well known as one of the nation’s most well-rounded athletes, cracking the Top 25 list in this category for SuperPrep preseason magazine.

Immaculate Perfection Harris excelled at both football and track and field, winning the high school state championship for the long jump as a sophomore and the Penn Relays as a junior. Harris’s football prowess made him SuperPrep’s #6 ranked football prospect out of the state of New York.

Harris had collegiate success for Georgia Tech in track and field, placing fifth in the long jump at the 2003 Outdoor ACC Championships and finishing second in the long jump at the Clemson Invitational during the 2003-2004 season.

Immaculate Perfection Harris also has a brother named Supreme Justice Harris. Enough said.


Well, there you have it. There are, in my opinion, the "most successful" names in sports. I hope you enjoyed the list! If I have left a deserving name off the list, please let me know!


Joseph would like to thank his cousin, Daniel Lasseter, for contributing to this article.

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