Drew Brees, Pablo Sandoval and The 25 Best Nicknames in NFL, MLB and NBA

Sean Keane@@keanedawg86Correspondent INovember 2, 2010

Drew Brees, Pablo Sandoval and The 25 Best Nicknames in NFL, MLB and NBA

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    ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 01:  (L-R) Cody Ross #13, Pablo Sandoval #48, Freddy Sanchez #21 and Edgar Renteria #16 of the San Francisco Giants celebrate after they won 3-1 against the Texas Rangers in Game Five of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpa
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Nicknames seem to be a lost art form.  I was going to assemble a list of the best nicknames ever, and I realized almost all of the classics are players who retired long ago.

    With that in mind, I sought out to find the best nicknames in sports today.  No legends like Sweetness or Magic, just current players.

    The following are the 25 best current athletes' nicknames.  Some are here for their humor, others their intimidation, others for how well they suit a player.  Heck some of them are just plain cool.

    Originality counts.

25: Marcus Camby, AKA "The Camby Man"

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    CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 01: Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls moves against Marcus Camby #23 of the Portland Trail Blazers at the United Center on November 1, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Trail Blazers 110-98. NOTE TO USER: User express
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    It's beautiful in its simplicity.

    The Candy Man was a popular song by Sammie Davis Jr., but he actually didn't write it.  The song was originally from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  You probably remember the lyric, "the candy man can."

    Well when it comes to blocking shots and rebounding, the Camby Man can.

24: Dwyane Wade, AKA "Flash"

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    MIAMI - OCTOBER 29:  Guard Dwyane Wade #3 of  the Miami Heat dunks  against the Orlando Magic at American Airlines Arena on October 29, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this ph
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Flash has been a popular nickname through the years.  The Red Sox had Flash Gordon, and I actually think this one would be a nice fit for Chris Johnson (I hate CJ2K).

    As it is though, Wade's earned the moniker Flash with his blazing fast moves on the basketball court.

23: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, AKA "The Firm"

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    FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 31:  (ALTERNATE CROP) BenJarvus Green-Ellis #42 of the New England Patriots scores a touchdown the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Gillette Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Ge
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    The Firm of BenJarvus Green-Ellis is currently laying down the law for the Patriots in New England.

    The nickname serves two purposes: Firstly, it saves Pats fans from needlessly spewing a name that really doesn't roll off the tongue very well.  Secondly, it leaves no doubt who's running the show at running back.

    The Firm is not to be messed with.

22: Paul Pierce, AKA "The Truth"

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    CLEVELAND - OCTOBER 27:  Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics tries to get around Jamario Moon #15 of the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on October 27, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    The name's been with Pierce since his days ballin' out in L.A. as a youngster. It mandates a pretty high level of play to have people call you The Truth, and Pierce has met the challenge.

    He's led the Celtics his whole career, even after being stabbed in Boston.  Instead of seeking employment elsewhere, Pierce stuck it out on a bad team and eventually was rewarded with a championship.

    Truth be told, Pierce is on his way to the Hall of Fame.

21: Chad Ochocinco

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    ATLANTA - OCTOBER 24:  Chad Ochocinco #85 of the Cincinnati Bengals pulls in this reception against Brent Grimes #20 of the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on October 24, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Notice there's no nickname in this slide's title? That's because the receiver formerly known as Johnson legally changed his name to Ochocinco.

    The nickname stuck so well, it's not a nickname anymore.

20: Shawn "The Matrix" Marion

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    NEW ORLEANS - MARCH 22:  Shawn Marion #0 of the Dallas Mavericks drives the ball during the game against the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans Arena on March 22, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees th
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    It doesn't make any sense to me, and I still think it's an awesome nickname.  That should tell you something right there.

19: Alexei Ramirez, AKA "The Cuban Missile"

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    SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 03:  Outfielder Alexi Ramirez #10 of the Chicago White Sox drops a fly ball for an error during the spring training game against the Kansas City Royals at Surprise Stadium March 3, 2008 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Peter
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    He's fast. He's Cuban. Need I say more?

18: Darren McFadden, AKA "Run DMC"

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    DENVER - OCTOBER 24:  Running back Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders runs against the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High on October 24, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    It's perfect. He runs. In fact lately, he's been running very well.

    I can picture Raiders fans now..."Who's house?  Run's House!"

17: Lance Berkman, AKA "Fat Elvis" AKA "Big Puma"

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    NEW YORK - AUGUST 07:  Lance Berkman #17 of the New York Yankees walks back to the bench after making the third out with runners on first and third against the Boston Red Sox on August 7, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Pho
    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Berkman gets credit for having two viable nicknames.  Yes, he does actually look like fat Elvis, so that makes sense.

    I have no idea how he got the Big Puma nickname, but it stuck and people seem to like it.

16: Marion "The Barberian" Barber

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 31:  Marion Barber #24 of the Dallas Cowboys runs the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Cowboys Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
    Chris Chambers/Getty Images

    I can't think of a better nickname for a battering ram running back named Barber with dreadlocks flying out from his helmet.

    The perfect marriage of his real name and his playing style.

15: Calvin Johnson, AKA "Megatron"

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 17: Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions catches the ball on an 87-yard touchdown run in the third quarter against the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium on October 17, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Gian
    Andrew Burton/Getty Images

    It makes sense without making sense, if that makes any sense.

14: Shane Victorino, AKA "The Flyin' Hawaiian"

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    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 21:  Shane Victorino #8 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrates in the dugout after scoring against the San Francisco Giants on a single by Placido Polanco #27 in the third inning of Game Five of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playof
    Harry How/Getty Images

    I've also heard this attributed to Troy Polamalu, and it suits either one of them.

    Victorino's certainly earned it as the Hawaiian-born center fielder for the Phillies.  His blazing speed on the basepaths is intimidating enough, without any sort of nickname.

    I just can't wait until there's a Hawaiian pitcher, then we can call him the "Throwin' Samoan."

13: Tim Duncan, AKA "The Big Fundamental"

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    SAN ANTONIO - MAY 09:  Forward Tim Duncan #21 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 agrees
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    I don't know if there's ever been a better marriage of player and nickname. Obviously it describes his game perfectly. He is the most fundamentally sound player I've ever seen.

    The beauty of it though, is that the nickname itself mirrors Duncan's personality on and off the court. It's not flashy, it's understated and it's 100 percent accurate.

12: Chris Paul, AKA CP3

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    NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 27:  Chris Paul #3 of the New Orleans Hornets drives the ball up the court during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at the New Orleans Arena on October 27, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.   The Hornets defeated the Bucks 95-91.
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Take a players initials and add his number to them. Simple enough. It can be hit or miss though (I'm not a big fan of AK47 for Andrei Kirilenko).

    In CP3's case, it makes him sound like a basketball cyborg from the future.  Considering he already plays like one, I love it.

11: Shelden Williams, AKA "The Landlord"

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    PHOENIX - OCTOBER 22:  Earl Clark #55 of the Phoenix Suns puts up a shot against Shelden Williams #23 of the Denver Nuggets during the preseason NBA game at US Airways Center on October 22, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledg
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    He rules the real estate beneath the hoop, at least, he did in college.

10: Wes Welker, AKA "The Slot Machine"

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 19:  Wes Welker #83 of the New England Patriots in action against  the New York Jets during their  game on September 19, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium  in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Certain nicknames need no explanation.

9: Travis Hafner, AKA "Pronk"

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    ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 06:  Travis Hafner #48 of the Cleveland Indians bats against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the fourth inning on September 6, 2010 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    I have no idea what it means, if it means anything at all.  Still there's something about a monosyllabic exclamation like "Pronk!" that just works.

8: Nate Robinson, AKA "Krypto-Nate"

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 15:  Nate Robinson #4 of the Boston Celtics moves the ball while taking on the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Six of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 15, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknow
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Dwight Howard dresses up as Superman for the Slam Dunk contest. Out of nowhere, Nate Robinson, who's about the size of a leprechaun, arrives on the scene and snatches a victory.

    Superman has kryptonite, Howard has Krypto-Nate.

7: Gordon Hayward, AKA "The Baby-Faced Assassin"

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    INDIANAPOLIS - APRIL 05:  Gordon Hayward #20 of the Butler Bulldogs attempts a shot in the second half  against the Duke Blue Devils during the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 5, 2010 in India
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    I don't know if this is his official nickname (aren't nicknames unofficial by definition?), but during last year's NCAA tournament, the former Butler Bulldog hit a clutch shot during his team's run to the title game.  The announcer erupted in praise of the deadly shooter who looks like he's yet to hit puberty, calling him the Baby-Faced Assassin.

    I don't know if the name stuck, but I hope it did. I love it.

6: Maurice Jones-Drew, AKA "Pocket Hercules"

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    SAN DIEGO - SEPTEMBER 19:  Maurice Jones-Drew #32 of the Jacksonville Jaguars is tackled by Steve Gregory #28 and Shaun Phillips #95 of the San Diego Chargers during the second quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on September 19, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (
    Harry How/Getty Images

    After seeing the pint-sized running back lay the lumber on Shawne Merriman a couple of seasons ago, I'd say this one suits him just fine.

5: Kevin Durant, AKA "The Durantula"

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    Durant is arguably the best player in the NBA, just imagine if he had eight arms to score with.

    Now, maybe I'm biased since I've had Durant on my fantasy team since his rookie season. I've also named my team The Venomous Durantulas. I've also had this picture as my logo for two seasons.

4: Drew Brees, AKA "Breesus"

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    OK, so it's sacrilegious. Big deal. The man brought the Saints their first ever Super Bowl title, and helped bring an entire city back from the brink after Hurricane Katrina.

3: Carnell "Cadillac" Williams

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    TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 17:  Running back Carnell Williams #24 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs the ball against the New Orleans Saints during the game at Raymond James Stadium on October 17, 2010 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    His nickname has become so thoroughly etched in people's minds and hearts that most of us don't know that his first name is actually Carnell.

2: Pablo Sandoval, AKA "Kung Fu Panda"

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    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 20:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the San Francisco Giants reacts during an at-bat against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Four of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at AT&T Park on October 20, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Ph
    Harry How/Getty Images

    I don't know how it started, exactly when it started, or who started it, but I'm glad they did. 

1: David Ortiz, AKA "Big Papi"

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    BOSTON - SEPTEMBER 22:  David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox hits a three run homer in the fourth inning as Matt Wieters #32 of the Baltimore Orioles defends on September 22, 2010 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    It's very rare that a transcendent player like Ortiz becomes an international superstar, yet people still refer to them by their nickname.  Everybody knows who David Ortiz is, we all know his name, yet we all elect to call him Big Papi anyway.

    How many great players can you think of whose nickname is ALWAYS used in lieu of their real one.  Ortiz is the only one currently playing that I know of.

Five Players Who Need a Nickname

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    NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 24:  Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans runs with the ball during the NFL game against the Philadelphia Eagles at LP Field on October 24, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans won 37-19.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Chris Johnson—I'm sorry but CJ2K sucks. I like Flash, but it's already taken

    Blake Griffin—He's on the fast track to superstardom as a rookie, all he needs is a good nickname to take the league by storm.

    Dez Bryant—He's playing wide receiver in Dallas while wearing Michael "the Playmaker" Irvin's number. The kid needs a good nickname to build his legacy.

    Michael Vick—How does a player who electrifies like he does not have a nickname?

    Brian Wilson—As a World Series hero for the Giants, and with the best beard in sports, the guy needs a nickname to match. Just call him "the Beard.".Hey, I kinda like it. Fear the Beard!

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