Athlete Name Changes: Ocho Cinco Wasn't The First, Just The Dumbest

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Athlete Name Changes: Ocho Cinco Wasn't The First, Just The Dumbest

The world of professional athletics wept, vomited, and soiled itself once it became official that Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson had officially changed his name to Chad Ocho Cinco.

Once the nausea passed, reality set in and sports fans worldwide had to accept that while Johnson clearly has too much time and too little understanding of his own heritage, his name change isn't anything new to the world of professional sports. Here are many examples of athletes who chose less stupid name changes:

Larry Jones to Chipper Jones

Word is that he got the nickname "Chipper" from family members who felt he was just like his father, aka a "chip-off-the-old-block"

I suppose that it is a good thing that nobody thought he was a piece of s***.

Vincent Edward Jackson to Bo Jackson

His family described him as a "wild boar," which was eventually shortened to "Bo," as he would constantly get into trouble. His mother and siblings, when she had to punish him, would have to run him down.

One can only wonder what would have happened if he had been likened to a shi-tzu.

Joey Belle to Albert Belle

Although Belle’s first name was Albert, growing up, Belle's family, friends, and coaches called him "Joey," a shortened version of his middle name.  Joey, changed his name to Albert following a stint in drug rehab.

Also, he was a huge fan of the short-lived and widely criticized Friends spinoff starring Matt LeBlanc. Rather than confess this sad fact, he just changed his name. 

Edson Arantes do Nascimento to Pele

If a translation from Portuguese to English holds up, the nickname "Pelé" during his school days, when he supposedly misspoke the nickname of his favorite player, local Vasco da Gama goalkeeper Bilé as "Pilé".

Word is that he mispronounced Twiggy as chingate, fortunately it was a Spanish error and not a Portuguese one.

Bobby Moore to Ahmad Rashad

In 1972, after converting to Islam, he changed his name. 

Not to mention that it helped people to remember his name, as no one remembered anything he ever did on the field.

Edward Charles Ford to Whitey Ford

Named in the minor leagues for his extremely blond hair. 

Also, people used to be really racist, even when their weren't minorities on the team

Lloyd Bernard Free to World B. Free

Received the name World from a friend in high school because of his 44 inch vertical. 

Only people that are dumb think that it was a political statement meant to unify instead of a rash and impromptu decision that would later be mocked on a sports blog.

James Bell to Cool Papa Bell

Bell was born in the early 1900’s  he was dubbed Cool Papa by his teammates because of his amazing speed on the base paths. 

It is a little known fact that the word "fast" did not exist in the English language at that time. And Cool Papa was easier to say than "Man with Incredible Base-running Prowess" Bell.

George Herman Ruth to Babe Ruth

In early 1914, a teacher at St. Mary's brought George to the attention of Jack Dunn, owner and manager of the then minor-league Baltimore Orioles.  He was signed to a contract, and when his new teammates first saw him, they nicknamed him "Jack's newest babe”. 

It has also been rumored that Ruth was infact, much like the candy bar, filled with chocolate, nuts and caramel. Not to mention massive amounts of booze and carcinogenes.

Fredrick Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr  to  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

On May 1, 1971, the day after the Bucks won the NBA championship, he adopted the Arabic name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, meaning "noble, servant of the all-powerful [i.e., of Allah]." 

Not to mention that people misspelled his name more than Doug Mientkiewicz.

Jim Hellwig AKA "The Ultimate Warrior" to Jim Warrior

After Hellwig was resigned by the then WWF in 1996, part of the deal was that "The Warrior" would obtain all legal rights to the Warrior gimmick, which meant that he could use the name anywhere outside wrestling and get all profits and revenues from use of his name.

As if the long flowing mane and armbands didn't say Warrior all on their own...


Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali

Ali changed his name after joining the Nation of Islam in 1964.

I thought he real name was Will Smith, that's what his name was in Bad Boys.

Eldrick Woods to Tiger Woods

On his 21st birthday, Tiger officially changed his name to the nickname he had been given due to his prowess on the golf course.

Can you blame him?


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