Sports Uniforms: What's In a Name?

Taylor VanzileContributor IMarch 27, 2017

"Ocho Cinco," "The Fridge," "Dr. J.," "Air Jordan," the list goes on and on. From the very beginning of  professional sports athletes have been given, or in some cases self-declared, nicknames.

My mom and dad named me Taylor, but in the spirit of this article how about I go by "T-Dawg." Which brings me to another burning question: What would their mothers think? For the parents of those athletes whose nicknames are more recognizable than their original names it may be somewhat of a disappointment.

Who knows though, Chad Johnson...oops, I mean Chad Ocho-Cinco's mother might be filled with glee over her boy's recent name change. I know for a fact that my mother might be a little perturbed. On the other hand my older brother, who's name is actually Austin, is infamously known as "Bunz." Our mom has grown used to it, but I don't think she fully appreciates it, I digress. 

I now begin to ponder the importance or significance behind these names.

Are they supposed to be humorous? Rod "He Hate Me" Smart, made famous by the very unsuccessful XFL, Las Vegas Outlaws.

Is it just for attention?  Terrell "T.O." Owens comes to mind.

How in the world did they come up with that? Tyrone "Mugsy" Bogues seems kind of unique.

The world of professional sports has sadly become a sort of stage, one where some athletes no longer play for the passion that they had as a child. Athletes have become more obsessed with their own well-being rather than the success of their team or organization.

I don't intend to say that sports are corrupt because for the most part it is the very opposite. That is like saying you should sell your car because the windshield wiper fluid smells kind of funky. 

At the ripe young age of 21, I, "T-Dawg," (yes, I just referred to myself in the third person using my absurd nickname) consider myself to be a little old-fashioned when it comes to matters such as this. I get great pleasure out of watching sporting events where the teams' jerseys don't accommodate the player's name on the back of it. The fan's focus is taken away from the name on the front and placed on the one in the back.

Take Penn State University for example, their football uniforms, both home and away, don't display the last name of their players. Coincidentally, the longtime coach of the program goes by a nickname himself, Joe "Joe-Pa" Paterno.

Players like Al Harris of the Green Bay Packers take it upon themselves to take the focus off of their names by hiding it with their flowing locks.

I am not taking a stance that is against the use of nicknames, no I rather enjoy them. I only think that it is interesting how they have been used in so many different fashions.

I love that Wayne Gretzky is known as "The Great One" and that Lawrence Taylor and LaDainian Tomlinson are known by the same acronym. At times I am unsure of whether I should call Shaquille O'Neal "Diesel," "Superman (Man of Steel)," "The Big Aristotle," or "Kazaam." Sorry Shaq, that movie was awful...I am glad he stuck with basketball and not acting.

One thing that does upset me is that today's youth could grow up not knowing that Tiger Woods' real name is actually Eldrick.

With all honesty I could care less what people call themselves or what others refer to them as. This is just some food for thought.

As for me, I have thought enough and decided that I would like to be called Taylor again.

"The Writer Formerly Known as T-Dawg" would work too.