LeBron James, Stephen Curry and More NBA Stars' Chinese Nicknames Revealed

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 18: Stephen Curry #30 and LeBron James #23 speak to the crowd during the NBA All-Star Game as a part of 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend at STAPLES Center on February 18, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Nicknames have always been a part of sports, but NBA fans in the United States are facing some stiff competition from the unique monikers that are apparently coming out of China.

Nick Kapur, a Japan and East Asia historian who works at Rutgers University, detailed in a massive Twitter thread Monday some of the elaborate nicknames the biggest stars in the NBA have received in China (warning: post contains profanity):

Nick Kapur @nick_kapur

A thread of Chinese internet nicknames for NBA players. China is crazy for the NBA, but official sources use boring phonetic transcriptions, failing to take advantage of Chinese characters having both sound and meaning. Chinese netizens have "improved" on these official names.

Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James is dubbed "The Little Emperor," while Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry was given the extremely NSFW name of "F--ks the Sky."

Curry also has the more family-friendly nicknames of "Sprout God" and "The Elementary School Student," the latter of which may not go down so well with the two-time MVP.

San Antonio Spurs legend Manu Ginobili unquestionably gets the biggest upgrade in terms of his English nickname and his Chinese equivalent. Occasionally dubbed "The Magician," Ginobili is known as "The Demon Blade" among fans in China.

Kapur wrote, "Ginobili earned this moniker for his ability to slash to the hoop using tricky footwork like the Eurostep."

Here are some more of the stars Kapur listed:

Kapur's full list is well worth your time, and with any luck, some of these nicknames will start catching on in the United States. Cleveland Cavaliers swingman JR Smith will henceforth be called "The Nerve Knife" throughout the NBA playoffs. 


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