25 Worst Nicknames in NBA History

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistOctober 26, 2011

25 Worst Nicknames in NBA History

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    Nicknames and sports go hand in hand.  They make players more interesting, more human and just more entertaining in general.

    The only problem, however, is that at some point in the 1990s, the sports world, and basketball in particular, got lazy and started doling out lame nicknames.

    Bad nicknames have been around for a long time, whether they are completely inaccurate, ridiculously ironic, if they backfire on the guy who has the nickname or if they are just lazy and not creative as a whole.

    A good nickname can make a player more legendary, or even seem better than he was (Thunder Dan Majerle, anybody?), but a bad nickname can just be embarrassing or downright hilarious.

    So, for the sake of entertainment and a little walk down memory lane in basketball, I've found the nicknames throughout basketball history that are too lame, too inaccurate, don't make sense or are embarrassing for the guy who has it.

25. "Frosty" Forrest Cox

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    Okay, so I had to penalize good ol' Frosty because he was never actually in the NBA, but a standout in college and a coach at Kansas, Colorado and Montana, but this nickname was too good to pass up.

    Seriously, the dude went by the name Frosty Cox. Who would ever want a nickname like that?

24. The Mailman

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    For years, Karl Malone was as reliable as the mail.  Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow could stop him from putting up a consistently good performance.

    However, back in the 1997 Finals, the nickname backfired on him.

    With what is the most memorable piece of trash talk in my lifetime (right ahead of Kevin Garnett's cancer patient comments toward Charlie Villanueva) Scottie Pippen walked up to Malone before he was to shoot two free throws that would have put the Jazz up by two points in the waning seconds of Game 1.

    "Just remember, the mailman doesn't deliver on Sundays, Karl,"  Scottie said.

    Malone missed both free throws, the Bulls got the ball into Michael Jordan's hands and he drained a shot at the buzzer to win Game 1 for the Bulls and set the tone for the series.

    Never has a nickname backfired so badly.

23. Mookie Blaylock

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    Every so often a nickname is so original and so unique that it just becomes that player's first name.

    Go out and ask a dozen NBA fans what Mookie Blaylock's real first name is and I would wager that 11 of them have no clue (it's Daron).

    The only problem I have with Mookie's name is just how it sounds.  It just sounds like a filthy euphemism for dropping the kids off at the pool.

22. Harold "Baby Jordan" Miner

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    This nickname was so hilariously inaccurate that it was obviously going to end up on this list. 

    Harold Miner got the nickname because of his high-flying game, much like that of Michael Jordan, but he was all spice and no substance.

    Miner spent just four years in the league and scored just 1,801 points in that time, although he did win the dunk contest twice in those four short years.

21. Moochie Norris

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    Say the name Martyn Norris to a basketball fan and the odds are they will have no clue who you are talking about, but just say "Moochie" and visions of a glorious Afro pop into their minds.

    Apparently he got the nickname from his grandfather, a Cab Calloway fan who nicknamed him after the song "Minnie the Moocher."

    Still, whenever I heard his name it just made me think that after games he was always hanging out with other players and bumming things off them, too cheap to buy them himself.

20. Larry "Mr. Mean" Smith

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    I have no doubts in my mind that Larry Smith was a mean man; I just think he could have articulated it in a better way.

    Everything about this dude is generic.  His name is Larry Smith a.k.a Mr. Mean; he was incredibly average and could rebound.

    Spice it up a bit, Mr. Mean.

19. Stevie Franchise

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    For a guy dubbed "Franchise" you would have thought he would have had led teams to much more success.

    Steve Francis made it to all of one postseason in the nine years he was in the NBA, and while he was the best player on his team from time to time, he never led that team to success.

    So yes, he may have been "The Franchise," but that franchise wasn't doing very well.

18. Theodore "Blue" Edwards

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    Whenever I hear the name "blue" I obviously have visions of Will Ferrell shouting in my mind, but Blue Edwards is a perfect example of why you shouldn't trust siblings to nickname you.

    Blue Edwards didn't get his nickname from any kind of exciting incident or great achievement like many great nicknames, instead his sister started calling him "Blue" after she saw him choking as a baby and his face turned blue.

17. Spud Webb

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    Another nickname that became the regularly used name of the man rocking the moniker, Spud Webb is a pretty cool nickname, until you delve into why he ended up with the alias.

    As it turns out, Spud Webb got his name from his grandma, who thought his head was misshapen and looked like the old Soviet satellite Sputnik.  She later shortened that name to Spud.

    I'm sure it was a nice reminder of his grandma every time he heard it, but it was also a reminder that he had a lumpy head.

16. Foots Walker

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    There are a plethora of nicknames given to guys because they're fast, but "Foots?"

    Call the dude flash, speedy, bolt, lightning, anything really.  Foots is just too weird a nickname for me.

15. Clarance "Bevo" Francis

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    Clarance Francis was an amazing college basketball player who was drafted to the NBA, but never actually played.  He averaged 48.3 points in 1953, including a game in which he scored 113 points in a single game.

    That nickname, though, is just too weird to me.  He ended up inheriting the nickname from his dad who got it because he drank a lot of beer by the same name during Prohibition.


14. Bob "Butterbean" Love

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    At the time I'm sure the nickname was fine enough for Bob Love, who gained the nickname "Butterbean" simply because he liked butterbeans as a child.

    However, during the early '90s a boxer came along with the same nickname because he used chicken and butterbeans to slim down to meet a 400-pound weight limit.

    I don't know about you, but I would rather not be associated with a 400-pound boxer, whether I had the nickname first or not.

13. Ricky Buckets

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    Not only is this another incredibly lame nickname to come out of the 2000s, but it's just inaccurate. 

    I don't know how you could give the nickname "Buckets" to a guy who shoots just 44 percent for his career.

    Another interesting thing, I was never aware before today that Ricky is short for Davis' middle name, Ricardo.  I never really pictured him as a Ricardo, but in that picture to the left, I would say he comes across as a Ricardo.

12. The Big Maravich

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    Shaq is known as a notoriously bad free throw shooter. Actually, that's not extreme enough, we need a Shaq nickname to describe just how bad he was at shooting free throws.  Let's call him The Big Mortar Mixer, because he put more bricks together than a team of bricklayers.

    Anyway, back in his Laker days in a playoff series against Portland he sank nine free throws in a row, which is about as likely as me going out and winning the lottery while getting struck by lightning and accidentally stumbling upon an albino gorilla.

    He was then dubbed "The Big Maravich."  Not one of your better nicknames there, Shaq.

11. Jameer "Crib Midget" Nelson

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    Evidently, this is what Dwight Howard calls Jameer Nelson.  Crib Midget.

    Is it just me or does it seem like there is absolutely no way to say this and not make it seem like a) you are completely condescending to the person to whom you gave this nickname, or b) you absolutely hate this person.

    This is a nickname that just seems more mean-spirited than fun, and even though I am 95 percent sure that Dwight doesn't mean it to be that way because of the kind of person he is, it's just hard to get past that view.

10. "Boobie" Gibson

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    Daniel Gibson has been with the Cleveland Cavaliers for a few years now, and at this point just about everybody knows him as Boobie Gibson and not Daniel.

    The only thing we know about this nickname is that his mother gave it to him and nothing else, which is fine.

    Still, it feels kind of strange calling a grown man "Boobie."

9. "Pooh" Richardson

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    A little lesson in intimidation: it is impossible to be intimidating when you are named after a cartoon bear who is known for being lazy and eating too much honey.

    Pooh Richardson got his nickname from his grandmother (which seems to be a trend at this point) because she thought he looked like Winnie the Pooh.

    Way to have a fierce nickname, man.

8. "Jellybean" Bryant

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    Sure, Joe "Jellybean" Bryant had more moves than a box of Jelly Belly has flavors, but that doesn't make the nickname okay.

    The only other creature I have heard with the name Jellybean was a tiny dog and I can't get over thinking about some girl in her 20s carrying Kobe Bryant's dad around with her all the time and talking baby talk to him all day.

    "Whoza good jellybean? You are. Yeshu are."

7. Bimbo Coles

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    It seems to be a trend that the worst nicknames have been given out by the athlete's family members, and that's going to continue here.

    Vernell Coles' cousin like the song "Bimbo" by Faron Young so much that he just started calling him Bimbo.

    I don't think I could ever forgive a relative who gave me a nickname that is usually used to refer to a ditzy blonde girl that ended up sticking for the rest of my life.

6. Bill "Poodle" Willoughby

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    Bill Willoughby was known for two things.  First, he was the youngest guy to ever play in the NBA up until 1996.  Second, he was one of the few players to ever block Kareem Abdul-Jabar's skyhook.

    He may have been known for more if he didn't have such a terrible nickname.

5. Fat Lever

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    Lafayette Lever, or "Fat" Lever as he was more well-known as, was a formidable defensive point guard for the Nuggets for most of his career, but that nickname was always what stuck out.

    Well, Fat had a younger brother who found it easier to call him Fat, short for Lafayette, rather than saying his full name.

    Yeah, because "Fat" sounds like a shortened version of Lafayette.

4. Corey "Bad Porn" Maggette

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    Depending on which side of the nickname you're on, this is either the best or the worst nickname of all-time.

    The explanation for calling Magette "Bad Porn" makes so much sense that it's almost scary, but you have to feel bad for Magette who has to deal with drunken idiots shouting it at him.

    Magette was an overpaid member of the Warriors when he was dubbed "Bad Porn" with the justification that there was a lot of penetration and scoring, but whoever was watching still wasn't happy with what they were seeing.

3. Craig "Eggs" Ehlo

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    Whenever I hear this one, it always makes me think of Ann from Arrested Development (her?).

    Craig Ehlo got this name from John Lucas because when they played together in Houston, they would play each other for breakfast.  Ehlo lost so often that Lucas just started calling him "Eggs."

    It's bad enough that he got this nickname because Lucas schooled him so often, but "Eggs" is such a bland and boring nickname that I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

2. Damon "The World's Greatest Shooter" Jones

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    Damon Jones was a good shooter, he was in a three-point contest, but he was in no way the world's greatest shooter.

    It's good to have confidence, but when you dub yourself the "World's Greatest Shooter" and try to make it catch on as your nickname, you're stomping all over the line that divides confidence and irrational confidence.

1. Melo, Ron Ron, CB4, Uno-Uno, D-Fish, D12, T-Mac, D-Wade, D-Will, Sheed, Etc.

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    Here you have, ladies and gentlemen, my least favorite development in basketball since the turn of the century.

    Whenever anyone shortens a player's name, puts the first initial of their first name with a shortened version of their last name or uses a combination of their initials and uniform number (with the exception of Andrei Kirilenko's AK47) and calls it a nickname, it makes me want to cry. 

    This is the least creative way to give someone a nickname and it adds nothing to their persona like a good nickname does.

    It's time to get away from this, and from here on out whenever I hear someone trying to perpetuate one of these bastardized abbreviations as nicknames, I'm going to slap them in the head until they promise not to use it again.

    It's just lazy, folks, and we need to get back to the good old days of nicknames.

    If you are one of those twitterers, you can follow me at @JDorsey33.


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