The 50 Worst Nicknames in Sports History

Marc PruittContributor IOctober 28, 2010

The 50 Worst Nicknames in Sports History

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    Everybody loves a great nickname. Chris Berman made a name for himself at ESPN injecting catchy nicknames into his Sportscenter Highlights, back before ESPN was even really cool.

    But nicknames and professional athletes go together like peanut butter and jelly.

    Some nicknames, however, go together like peanut butter and pizza.

    We're going to break down 50 of the most cringe-worthy nicknames bestowed upon some of the finest athletes we've known.

    Here we go.

    If you would like to add any to this list, hit up the comments and fire away.

No. 50: Eric "Butterbean" Esch

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Let's get this straight. To be a intimidating boxer, you need an pretty sweet nickname. Muhammad Ali was "The Greatest." There was "Smokin" Joe Frazier. "Sugar Ray" Leonard. "Hitman" Thomas Hearns.

    You get my point. What about "Butterbean" striking fear in your opponent there Eric?


No. 49: Anthony "Booger" McFarland

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    You can only wonder how he got this one...

No. 48: Glen "Big Baby" Davis

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    I'm sure he was a real hit his rookie season. How many times do you think he's been called a mamma's boy?

No. 47: Mark "Action" Jackson

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    For his on-court play or what he might have been doing off of it? 

No. 46: Bryant "Big Country" Reeves

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    Loved that band in the 80's.

No. 45: Tim "The Big Fundamental" Duncan

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Very appropriate, yes. Also very boring. Duncan's game, while not flashy, is exceptionally solid.

    This one fits, but he deserves better.

No. 44: Gawen "Bonzi" Wells

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    Anybody know what his real first name was?

No. 43: Adam "Big Donkey" Dunn

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No. 42: Covelli "Coco" Crisp

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Makes me hungry when I hear this one.

No. 41: Freddie "Fred Ex" Mitchell

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Ask the Eagles if he delivered. Not.

No. 40: "Shoeless" Joe Jackson

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    Was he part of the Black Sox crew that threw the 1919 World Series? 

No. 39: Karl "Mailman" Malone

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Yeah, I get it. But mailman? 

No. 38: "Awesome Bill From Dawsonville" Bill Elliot

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    Geoff Burke/Getty Images

    A nod to his hometown but has us nodding off. NASCAR nicknames need to be much cooler than this one.

No. 37: Larry "The Hick From French Lick" Bird

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    Not fitting for one of the best players ever.

No. 36: Dan "Big Daddy" Wilkinson

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    Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images

    "Big Daddy" is just plain boring. Cecil Fielder also used this one, though his son Prince would probably disagree.

No. 35: Mark "The Bird" Fidrych

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Just doesn't scream intimidation like his 90-plus MPH fastball. RIP Birdman.

No. 34 Boris "Boom Boom" Becker

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    Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

    If I hear "Boom Boom," I'm thinking of a dancer in a night club in Cuba, not the guy who won a couple of Wimbledon titles because of his big serve.

No. 33: Jim "Chris" Everett

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    Tomasso Derosa/Getty Images

    Not his real nickname, but it sure did spawn one of the funniest live television moments ever when Jim Rome just about got his brains bashed in.

No. 32 Toni "The Croatian Sensation" Kukoc

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    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Just need a little more thought into this one.

No. 31: Richard "Digger" Phelps

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    See No. 49. McFarland, Anthony.

No. 30: Elden "Easy Ed" Campbell

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    He must have been popular with the ladies. Heeeeeeeelo.

No. 29: Willie "Flipper" Anderson

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    He's named after a famous dolphin. Enough said.

No. 28: Shaun White "The Flying Tomato"

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    Between his escapades on a skateboard and a snowboard, White needs and deserves something much cooler.

No. 27: Steve "Franchise" Francis

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    More like "Franchise Wrecker". This one just didn't fit. Super-talented player but couldn't get it together.

No. 26: David "Goldenballs" Beckham

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Another head scratcher. Take that however you want to.

No. 25: Luis "Gonzo" Gonzalez

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    By far, my favorite muppet. Not so much for a nickname, at least with this guy. "Gonzo" should have been retired with Hunter S. Thompson.

No. 24: Mark "Sanchize" Sanchez

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    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Not sure anyone's ready to proclaim this guy as the savior. Don't get me wrong, he's not a bad player. Just not near as complete right now.

No. 23: Chris "Ice Queen" Evert

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    Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

    Seriously? She was America's sweetheart. This moniker would seem to indicate otherwise. Just for fun, it should be "Jim."

No. 22: Elbert "Ickey Woods"

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    But wait, he brought us the "Ickey shuffle.. That should count for something.

No. 21: Lebron "King" James

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    You haven't won anything yet, Bron. Win a title, wear a crown. It's that simple.

No. 20: Vinnie "The Microwave" Johnson

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    Mike Powell/Getty Images

    This guy owned the ugliest jump shot in the NBA. As his nickname suggests, he could go hot or cold at any minute.

No. 19: Qadry "The Missile" Ismail

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    Misguided. Not quite the player his brother, "Rocket" Ismail was.

No. 18 John "Mr. Ed" Elway

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    I bet he still gets called this by Cleveland residents, among other things.

No. 17: Lester "The Molester" Hayes

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    Just seems entirely inappropriate.

No. 16: Daron "Mookie" Blaylock

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    Pearl Jam's favorite basketball player. This was also the original name for their band.

No. 15: Manu "Obi Won" Ginobili

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    There can be just one Obie Wan.  Sorry, Manu.

No. 14: Marquez "The Pounding Pontiff" Pope

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    Not nice to promote violence towards the head of the Catholic Church.

No. 13: "Pretty Boy" Floyd Mayweather

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Nothing about boxers should be pretty. It leaves them with no cred. His other nickname, "Money" is straight, though.

No. 12: Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whitaker

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    Ditto the term "Sweet."

No. 11: Wayne "Roo" Rooney

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    Along with his friend Pooh Richardson, protecting the Hundred Acre wood. I guess he'd never know if he was getting booed, either.

No. 10: Chris "Spuds" Sabo

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    It was the glasses, I suppose. RIP, Spuds McKenzie

No. 9: Stephon "Starbury" Marbury

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    A lot like the Steve Francis moniker, it was self-annointed and narcissistic. Didn't fit, either.

No. 8: Onterrio "The Whizzanator" Smith

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    Will live in infamy for trying to cheat a drug test. Had a pretty decent NFL career going before his off-field problems became too much.

No. 7: Rod "He Hate Me" Smart

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    Who the hell hated him? The poster child for Vince McMahon's failed foray into professional football.

No. 6: Guy "The Flower" LaFleur

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    Not sure how he made it through his NHL career with that nickname.

No. 5: Manny "ManRam" Ramirez

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    Don't ask, don't tell?

No. 4: Shaquille "The Big Aristotle" O'Neal

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    This is one of the many nicknames fro Shaq. By far the least catchy. I'm still partial to Shaq-tus.

No. 3: Alex "A-Rod" Rodriguez

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    Just very unoriginal and kind of lazy. Didn't work on this one hard enough, kind of like when he felt like he needed to use steroids.

No. 2: Wilt "The Big Dipper" Chamberlain

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    We really had no idea how literal this was at the time.

No. 1: Randy "Big Unit" Johnson

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    You hear that? That's the sound of Brett Favre's face turning green.

    Sorry, Randy. You scared the bee-jeezus out of opposing hitters, but C'mon man!