The 50 Worst Nicknames in Sports History

Marc PruittContributor IOctober 28, 2010

The 50 Worst Nicknames in Sports History

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    3 Feb 2001:  Rod 'He Hate Me' Smart #30 of the Las Vegas Outlaws in action against the New York/New Jersey Hitmen at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Outlaws won 19-0. Mandatory Credit: Todd Warshaw/ALLSPORT
    Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

    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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    18 Sep 1999: Butterbean poses for the camera as he wears the winning belt after the fight against Ken Craven at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Butterbean defeated Craven by a TKO in the third round. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello  /Allsport
    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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    INDIANAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 26:  Anthony McFarland #92 of the Indianapolis Colts smiles on the sideline against the Philadelphia Eagles November 26, 2006 at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

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

No. 48: Glen "Big Baby" Davis

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 17:  Glen Davis #11 of the Boston Celtics reacts to a call in the second half against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User exp
    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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    BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 23: NBA basketball player Mark Jackson attends Kinect for Xbox 360 Launch Party held at a private residence on October 23, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Getty Images for Xbox)
    Jordan Strauss/Getty Images

    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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    2 Nov 2000:  Bryant Reeves #50 of the Vancouver Grizzlies looks on during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Grizzlies defeated the Clippers 99-91.  NOTE TO USER: It is expressly understood that
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Loved that band in the 80's.

No. 45: Tim "The Big Fundamental" Duncan

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    PHOENIX - MAY 05:  Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball during Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on May 5, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The team is wearing
    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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    NEW ORLEANS - MAY 03: Bonzi Wells #24 of the New Orleans Hornets celebrates during the game against the San Antonio Spurs in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2008 NBA Playoffs at The New Orleans Arena on May 3, 2008 in New Orleans,
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Anybody know what his real first name was?

No. 43: Adam "Big Donkey" Dunn

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    WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 24:  Adam Dunn #44 of the Washington Nationals rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the second inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on September 24, 2010 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images


No. 42: Covelli "Coco" Crisp

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    OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 03:  Coco Crisp #4 of the Oakland Athletics waits to bat against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during a Major League Baseball game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 3, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by J
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Makes me hungry when I hear this one.

No. 41: Freddie "Fred Ex" Mitchell

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - FEBRUARY 6:  Freddie Mitchell before the start of Super Bowl XXXIX between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles at Alltel Stadium on February 6, 2005 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Ask the Eagles if he delivered. Not.

No. 40: "Shoeless" Joe Jackson

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    NEW YORK - DECEMBER 5:  'Shoeless' Joe Jackson's bat stands on display during an auction preview at Sotheby's December 5, 2005 in New York City. The bat, called 'Black Betsy,' will be auctioned December 10 and was last purchased at a 2001 auction for $577
    Michael Nagle/Getty Images

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

No. 39: Karl "Mailman" Malone

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    LOS ANGELES- MAY 25:  Karl Malone #20 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on from the bench against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2004 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 25, 2004 in Los Angeles, Califo
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Yeah, I get it. But mailman? 

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

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    HAMPTON, GA - SEPTEMBER 04: Bill Elliott, driver of the #21 Ford, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 4, 2010 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo by Geoff
    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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    DETROIT - APRIL 06:  Larry Bird answers questions with Earvin 'Magic' Johnson (not pictured) during a news conference to relive their 1979 NCAA Championship Game between Indiana State and Michigan State before the 2009 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Nat
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Not fitting for one of the best players ever.

No. 36: Dan "Big Daddy" Wilkinson

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    DETROIT - AUGUST 29:  Dan Wilkinson #72 of the Detroit Lions jogs on the field prior to a pre-season NFL game against the St. Louis Rams at Ford Field on August 29, 2005 in Detroit, Michigan.  The Rams won 37-13. (Photo by Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images)
    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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    DETROIT - JULY 10:  Former MLB pitcher Mark Fidrych of the Legends Team smiles on the mound during the 2005 Major League Baseball Legends/Celebrity Game at Comerica Park on July 10, 2005 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    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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    MILTON KEYNES, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 03:  Boris Becker of Germany gives a press conference during Laureus MotorV8 event at the Dayton Race Track, Milton Keynes on December 3, 2008 in Milton Keynes, EWngland.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images for L
    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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    31 Aug 1997:  Quarterback Jim Everett of the San Diego Chargers during the Chargers 41-7 loss to the New England Patriots at Foxboro Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
    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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    MIAMI - APRIL 04:  Toni Kukoc #7 of the Milwaukee Bucks scores over Udonis Haslem #40 of the Miami Heat on April 4, 2006 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.  NOTE TO USER:  User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Just need a little more thought into this one.

No. 31: Richard "Digger" Phelps

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    MILWAUKEE - MARCH 3: ESPN college basketball analyst Digger Phelps gives life commentary before the game between the Marquette Golden Eagles and the Pittsburgh Panthers on March 3, 2007 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Dan
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    See No. 49. McFarland, Anthony.

No. 30: Elden "Easy Ed" Campbell

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    DENVER - NOVEMBER 11:  Elden Campbell #41 of the Detroit Pistons stands on the court during the game with the Denver Nuggets on November 11, 2004 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.  The Nuggets won 117-109.    NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledg
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    He must have been popular with the ladies. Heeeeeeeelo.

No. 29: Willie "Flipper" Anderson

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    Mike Powell/Getty Images

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

No. 28: Shaun White "The Flying Tomato"

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 30:   Shaun White smiles as he leaves the ramp after a run as he competes in the Skateboard Vert Final during X Games 16 at the Nokia Theatre LA Live on July 30, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    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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    BOSTON - NOVEMBER 24:  Steve Francis #1 of the New York Knicks on the court during a game against the Boston Celtics at the TD Banknorth Garden on November 24, 2006 in Boston, Massachusetts.  The New York Knicks defeated the Boston Celtics 101-77. NOTE TO
    Elsa/Getty Images

    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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    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 26:  English footballer David Beckham looks on prior to the Los Angeles Lakers playing the Houston Rockets during their opening night game at Staples Center on October 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expre
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Another head scratcher. Take that however you want to.

No. 25: Luis "Gonzo" Gonzalez

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    PHOENIX - AUGUST 07:  Luis Gonzalez speaks during his number retirement ceremony before the Major League Baseball game between the San Diego Padres and the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 7, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Pet
    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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    DENVER - OCTOBER 17:  Quarterback Mark Sanchez #6 the New York Jets warms up before taking on the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High on October 17, 2010 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
    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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    TURNBERRY, SCOTLAND - JULY 16:  Tennis Legend Chris Evert follows Greg Norman's match during round one of the 138th Open Championship on the Ailsa Course, Turnberry Golf Club on July 16, 2009 in Turnberry, Scotland.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
    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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    8 Jan 1989: Running back Ickey Woods of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates during a playoff game against the Buffalo Bills at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won the game, 21-10.
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

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

No. 21: Lebron "King" James

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 27:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat raises his arms after scoring during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on October 27, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledg
    Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    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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    LOS ANGELES - 1989:  Vinnie Johnson #15 of the Detroit Pistons looks on during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles, California in 1988-1989 NBA season.  (Photo by Mike Powell /Getty Images)
    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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    26 Nov 2000:  A close up of Qadry Ismail #87 of the Baltimore Ravnes as he looks on during the game against the Cleveland Browns at the PSINet Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Browns 37-7.Mandatory Credit: Doug Pensinger  /Allsport
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

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

No. 18 John "Mr. Ed" Elway

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    MALIBU, CA - JULY 24:Athlete John Elway takes part in the Madden NFL 10 Pigskiin Pro-Am on Xbox 360 event  on July 24, 2009 in Malibu, California.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
    Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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

No. 17: Lester "The Molester" Hayes

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    LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 13:  Defensive back Lester Hayes #37 of the Los Angeles Raiders looks on from the field during the game against the Denver Broncos at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 13, 1983 in Los Angeles, California.  The Raiders wo
    George Rose/Getty Images

    Just seems entirely inappropriate.

No. 16: Daron "Mookie" Blaylock

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    6 Dec 2000:  Mookie Blaylock #10 of the Golden State Warriors dribbles the ball down the court during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Arena in Oakland in Oakland, California. The Warriors defeated the Lakers 125-122. NOTE TO USER: It is exp
    Tom Hauck/Getty Images

    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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    SAN ANTONIO - MAY 09:  Guard Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 9, 2010 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agree
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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

No. 14: Marquez "The Pounding Pontiff" Pope

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    3 Aug 1996:  Defensive back Marquez Pope of the San Francisco 49ers looks on during a preseason game against the Denver Broncos at 3Com Park in San Francisco, California.  The Broncos won the game, 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule Jr.  /Allsport
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

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

No. 13: "Pretty Boy" Floyd Mayweather

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    LAS VEGAS - MAY 01: Floyd Mayweather Jr. in action against Shane Mosley during their welterweight fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 1, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather Jr. defeated Mosley by unanimous decison.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty
    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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    20 Feb 1999:  Felix Trinidad celebrates as he wears the belt after the fight against Pernell Whitaker at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. Trinidad won by a decision in the 12th round. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello  /Allsport
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Ditto the term "Sweet."

No. 11: Wayne "Roo" Rooney

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    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 19:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United looks on during a training session at the Carrington Training Complex on October 19, 2010 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    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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    5 Jul 1996: Third baseman Chris Sabo of the Cincinnati Reds looks on from the batters box as he stands behind the protective netting during team batting practice before the Reds 3-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois.
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

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

No. 9: Stephon "Starbury" Marbury

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    ORLANDO, FL - MAY 08:  Stephon Marbury #8 of the Boston Celtics reacts against the Orlando Magic in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Amway Arena on May 8, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. The Magic defeated the Celt
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    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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    HOUSTON - OCTOBER 10:  Onterrio Smith #32 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on during the game against the Houston Texans on October 10, 2004 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. The Vikings won 34-28. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    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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    OAKLAND, CA - 2006:  Rod Smart of the Oakland Raiders poses for his 2006 NFL headshot at photo day in Oakland, California. (Photo by Getty Images)
    Getty Images/Getty Images

    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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    MONTREAL- DECEMBER 4:  Former Montreal Canadien Guy Lafleur speaks to fans during the Centennial Celebration ceremonies prior to the NHL game between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins on December 4, 2009 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Cana
    Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

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

No. 5: Manny "ManRam" Ramirez

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    LOS ANGELES - JUNE 26:  Manny Ramirez #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers scores in the fourth inning against the New York Yankees on June 26, 2010 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Don't ask, don't tell?

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

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    BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 26: Shaquille O'Neal #36 of the Boston Celtics prepares to shoot a free-throw shot against the Miami Heat to the basket at the TD Banknorth Garden on October 26, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    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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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 22:  Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees reacts against the Texas Rangers in Game Six of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 22, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty I
    Elsa/Getty Images

    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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    7 Feb 1997:  Former Los Angeles Laker Wilt Chamberlain addresses the media at a press conference before the NBA All-Star Game at the Renaissance Hotel in Cleveland, Ohio. Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr  /Allsport
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

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

No. 1: Randy "Big Unit" Johnson

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    WASHINGTON - JUNE 04:  Randy Johnson #51 of the San Francisco Giants tips his hat to the crowd after winning his 300th career game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on June 4, 2009 in Washington, DC.  The Giants won the game 5-1.  (Photo
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    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!


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