These players have been chosen based solely on their nicknames—not on their abilities as players. But as it turns out, good players have good nicknames.
There are a lot of good nicknames out there, but what do I consider a good nickname? I think a good nickname fits certain criteria.
First, it has to be clever. I think that is the most important aspect. Second, it has to sound cool, give off that certain essence of being badass, or be funny. Third, it has to resonate with the way that player plays the game of basketball. If they are a dunker, shooter, passer, dribbler, or all around superstar, the nickname should say it.
There are a lot of a.k.a.s out there. This is just my assessment of the best ones out there currently. So here it is—my top 10 best NBA a.k.a.s.
10. The Matrix—Shawn Marion
It just fits. Marion flies through the air for dunks as well as rebounds. On defense he is able to harass any shooting guard or small forward and sometimes can even handle a power forward or even a point guard.
I feel the Matrix tag is warranted and it does sound good.
9. The Big Aristotle—Shaquille O’Neal
Shaq is the nickname king. He gives them out and creates his own. He has a plethora of a.k.a.s, but I think the Big Aristotle is the best.
Shaq could easily have his own top 10 a.k.a. list. He is older and not as much of an impact player as he once was, so I’m going with the Big Aristotle. He is wiser now, he came up with it, and I think it reflects his current role on the Suns.
8. Boom Diddy—Baron Davis
I am a fan of Baron Davis—at least I was while he was with the Warriors. Maybe that’s why he is on this list, but it just says it all. Davis plays physically and likes to lower the boom on guys (like on Andrei Kirilenko) and he has that flash style of play, where he can pull up from almost anywhere.
7. Agent Zero—Gilbert Arenas
This a.k.a. would be more badass if Gilbert had not been hurt recently. However, this former Arizona Wildcat can light it up and talk trash, either via his blog or in an interview. Arenas is all about making statements that he either does or does not live up to. You have to like the confidence though.
6. Jesus—Ray Allen
The full a.k.a. would be Jesus Shuttlesworth from the legendary film He Got Game in which Ray Allen played Jesus. It was a badass movie. Ray is a badass player. Need I say more?
5. Flash—Dwayne Wade
Wade was dubbed this a.k.a. by the Big Aristotle himself. It could not be a more perfect match. Wade attacks the rim (when healthy) and his defender with a “flash” of speed or with some crazy maneuver. Watching Wade play is like watching “flashes” of brilliance as he attacks on the offensive end and then gets back on defense.
4. Ginger Ninja—Brian Scalabrine
Probably the most humorous a.k.a. on the list. The reason it is so funny is because it is true. Scalabrine’s red hair and knack for being invisible in the box score makes him the Ginger Ninja. Perfect.
3. AK-47—Andrei Kirilenko
This nickname is by far the coolest in terms of a player's initials and their number matching up. Kirilenko did have the whole crying saga with Jerry Sloan, but he has still had some impressive blocks and some big scoring games. Plus, the badass factor puts this a.k.a. up there.
2. The Answer—Allen Iverson
Classic. Anyone who has ever watched or played basketball knows what it means when someone says “he answers.” To be THE answer, is badass and clever, and it fits Iverson. He may get scored on from time to time, but he will always answer.
1. Black Mamba—Kobe Bryant
Now, I know this will be a controversial No. 1. A lot of people do not care for this a.k.a., but you know what? A lot of people do not care for Kobe either.
This nickname has badass appeal and it fits the player. The Black Mamba is one of the most deadly reptiles in the world and Kobe is the most deadly closer in the NBA. He can kill a team's win if he gets the opportunity to strike. I think it describes his game perfectly.
King James—LeBron James
The Big Ticket—Kevin Garnett