Best Sports Nicknames Ever
These are not going to be ranked in any particular order, because I can name 50 off the top of my head without even breathing. But as they come to mind and I find pics of them, I’ll post ’em here. And while I’m preparing my Picks To Click, you choose yours at home.
1. Greg “Cadillac” Anderson.
’tis better to be known more for your nickname or your game, right? Or is it the other way around? When I first heard the announcers call his name (I had to be about 6 or 7), I was like “huh???” Somehow it stuck with him, though. Cadillac doesn’t fit him, IMO — more like La-Z-Boy.
I loved Sleepy, though. He could light it up on any given night. Ask the ’87 Lakers ha. He STILL holds to this day — the most points scored in a quarter in a playoff game. I am so glad I got so see some of these legends play with my own two eyes in live action.
3. John “Hot Plate” Williams.
Ha. Ol’ Hot Plate. That’s him in the LSU jersey if you could not surmise by the name alone. He could ball, though. Surprisingly nimble for a guy that size. Even had a little handle as well.
4. “The Rifleman” Chuck Person.
Churck Person ha. The play on names, obviously being the key here. But it fit, though. Chuck Connors was BAD ASS with that rifle. And Chuck Person never saw a shot he didn’t like. I swear he is one of the biggest GUNNERS ever.
THE FRIDGE. When you’re a 6 year old kid watching a guy that so outweighed everyone else on the football just truck over them in the first Super Bowl you ever saw, you become an instant fan. The way he trucked legends like Andre Tippett (no slouch and not a small man by any means) in Super Bowl XX was beyond comical. I never understood how someone that fat could be that agile, but he was.
Well, because he LOOKS like a slickback pimp back in the ’70s who would be named “Clyde”, right? And in his second career amazing even wordsmiths such as myself with his rhyming scheme (he would own 98% of rappers in the industry right now, NO JOKE) during Knicks games; well, it makes the Knicks train-wreck games on MSG Network tolerable. Clyde is THE MAN.
7. “The Chief” Robert Parish.
Depending on who you ask (I know better), he got his name because he looked like a “Chief” on the court; all stoic like the mythical images created to depict Indian chiefs (inaccurate as some may be). But he got that nickname because he chiefed some of the ILLEST KUSH out there. And boy did they pass it around in that locker room ha.
8. “The Admiral” David Robinson.
If ever a nickname preceded someone and fit accordingly, it was his. He was an Admiral before entering the NBA in 1990-91 and conducted himself as a Midshipman would on the NBA court for 15 years.
9. Deion Sanders “Primetime”.
They even named NFL Primetime after him. As someone who has been a fan of both Deion Sanders and NFL Primetime for the same 23 year period, no one transformed the Cornerback position the way he did. I am grateful to have watched his entire Florida State and NFL career from start to finish. The picture on the inset is CLASSIC PRIME, high stepping from the 40 yard line with still no one able to catch him. One of the Top 3 fastest cornerbacks ever (Darrell Green, DeAngelo Hall) and the best ever. PERIOD.
10. “Big Game” James Worthy.
I’ve always been a Knick fan who enjoyed watching the Lakers play. Back when I was little, the Lakers seemingly won every year (although I only saw them win 3 titles and lose two others in the NBA Finals), but James Worthy lived up to that nickname FULLY. I used to love watching Magic Johnson lead a break, after receiving the G.O.A.T. when it comes to scoring and OUTLET PASSES, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, with Byron Scott on one wing, Michael Cooper hiding in the corner, and JAMES WORTHY storming down the other wing. Magic would whip a no-look pass to Worthy who always finished with these lovely lay-ups like the one in this picture, or one of his patented Statue of Liberty dunks. Those guys were fun to watch. Then Lawrence Tanter would come on the PA afterward with his monotone “James Worthy…..” which was a perfect cap for how Lakeshow basketball went in the 1980s.
When I go down to visit my parents, I’m going to HOPE to find some of the old 80s VHS Laker games that my dad and I used to record (the ones my sister didn’t record over with some foolishness, that is) and convert them to DVD. I could watch those old 80’s Game of the Week games with the Lakers, Pistons, C’s and Bulls for the rest of my life and be content.
11. Lawrence Taylor “L.T.”
Embarrassing (while I love LaDainian Tomlinson, don’t get me wrong) that I had to actually put in “Lawrence Taylor” to find a picture of him. When I searched for “L.T.”, all I saw was Tomlinson.
Anyway, you didn’t call him Lawrence. You didn’t refer to him as “Taylor”. I don’t think I ever heard anyone growing up ever call him that. Only a few announcers called him “Lawrence Taylor”.
THE MAN WAS SIMPLY “L.T.” And there was no mistaking who you were talking to. There were offensive coordinators who said they had NIGHTMARES thinking about game-planning around this guy. When everyone, even people who don’t even watch football (as his popularity once was in the 80s and early 90s), know who you are referring to when you say “L.T.”, you know it goes beyond that first name initial/last name first syllable bullshit that passes for “nicknames” now. L.T. was an entirely different persona altogether. Best defensive player in NFL history.
Oh yeah, that picture was of LT and gang roping up John Elway in Super Bowl XXI in 1986. WE KILLED THEM THAT DAY. No one was beating us that year.
12. Jack Tatum “The Assassin”.
I watched Ronnie Lott for about half of his career as I was growing up. He would light guys up as only contemporaries such as Dennis Smith, Steve Atwater and one or two others could. But as hard as Lott hit, he didn’t absolutely DESTROY guys like Jack Tatum did. And Tatum had a nasty swagger about it when he did it, also.
On this hit, against “defenseless” Sammy White (they’d probably ban Jack from the league for this hit, even though it was completely legal), he knocked White’s helmet off, his chinstrip flew FIVE YARDS away. And lost in all that, White HELD ONTO THE BALL. Jack Tatum stood over him as if to say “mannnnn, GIT UP!” and threw his hands down in disgust.
If you get a chance, go back and watch Super Bowl XI. I used to watch NFL Films after school back in the 80s and lived for these old highlights since I wasn’t fortunate enough to live and watch sports in the ’70s. That was an excellent game. John Madden was THE MAN.
13. Randy Johnson “The Big Unit”.
UNIT. I loved watching him in his prime. Especially when he was with Seattle. That snap-release of his when he released that 97 MPH fastball was so intimidating. It appeared that his arm was right on top of you when the ball was released. He was virtually unhittabble. As far as where the nickname originated — Alvin Davis allegedly gave it to him, but WHO KNOWS WHY? I don’t know if I wanna know. But I always just called him “Unit” like Kenny Mayne did.
14. Rafer Alston “Skip to My Lou”.
If you ever saw him play at Rucker Park, you’d understand the name. How he did that and rarely, if ever, got his cookies taken (at least in streetball) is beyond me. But he was THE MAN when I was in high school and going to LIU — when it came to streetball. Whenever he came back home from Fresno State, he’d play all summer on the circuit.
15. Shawn Kemp “The Reign Man”.
I’m going to have to pull some of the archives out and watch some of those SuperSonics highlights of his. That name has a couple of meanings and they fit perfectly. Again, another player I am glad I was able to watch for their entire career.
Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown.
Ed “Too Tall” Jones.
Willie “Flipper” Anderson.
Wayne “Tree” Rollins.
Anthony “Spud” Webb.
Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd (one of my favorites from when he pitched with the Expos).
*** – I INTENTIONALLY LEFT OFF MANY OF THE GREATS SO THAT MY READERS CAN LIST THEIR FAVORITES AND WHY THEY LOVE THE NAMES.
Have at it!