Getting a nickname is nothing new in sports. Commentators and fans creatively come up with the best aliases for their favorite athletes all the time. A good moniker is a term that truly captures the essence of the athlete and how he plays the game. But while it is often a badge of pride to be given one, it has also been used to ridicule and mock.
In the end, whether a certain alias adds to the coolness factor of an athlete, or encourages everyone to ridicule him, the only thing that matters is whether it sticks. From Basketball to MMA, nicknames have become a part of an athlete's persona, and here are some of our favorites.
FUNNY: “Da White Howard” David Lee
You may not remember it now, but there was a time when people called David Lee “Da White Howard.” Of course, this isn’t about the looks because Lee never looked like Dwight Howard, but at some point during Lee’s peak years in Golden State, he matched Howard’s ferocity on defense and rebounding.
FUNNY: “Clipboard Jesus” Charlie Whitehurst
Yep, that’s a real thing. Whitehurst isn’t exactly the guy you go to to save your team from losing—he’s far from being a savior. In fact, he’s a career backup. But one look at him, and you’ll instantly know why he’s called Clipboard Jesus: long brown locks with a matching beard? Duh.
BEST: “The Black Mamba” Kobe Bryant
We all know this nickname quite well, and no one deserves it more than Kobe Bryant. If you don't know what a black mamba is, it’s just one of the most dangerous snakes in the world. No big deal. You gotta keep it OG Kobe with that Mamba mentality.
WEIRD: Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall
It sounds like Ian McCall’s nickname was given to him by a terrified niece rather than a serious one for an MMA fighter. And yet, Uncle Creepy still goes by his weird moniker to this day. It’s a strange decision to call yourself that, but somehow, he wears it really well.
COOL: Dennis “The Menace” Rodman
Dennis Rodman wasn’t just a menace on defense, he was also a menace on the boards. He had a historic run in the NBA before becoming an amateur North Korean diplomat.
BEST: "Batman" Homer Bailey
This is pretty simple: Homer Bailey looks like Christian Bale. And as of right now, Christian Bale is still the best Batman of this generation—fight us. Therefore, Homer Bailey is Batman. And no, Bailey has not fought alien-like enemies on the baseball field. But he can pitch balls so well, he's had two no-hitters under his belt. The guy can throw. Imagine if he had Batarangs.
FUNNY: “Hair Canada” Steve Nash
Vince Carter may have gotten “Air Canada” for his awe-inspiring vertical leap, but Steve Nash, despite not ever playing for Toronto, will always be the Canadian with the greatest hair. Whenever he’s running in transition or dishing dimes to his teammates, his luscious mane always makes itself known.
BEST: “The Axe Murderer” Wanderlei Silva
Just hearing Bruce Buffer announce the words “The Axe Murderer” sends a chill down everyone’s spine. And we’re pretty sure his opponents felt that way as well. Wanderlei Silva will always be one of the toughest fighters in UFC and MMA history.
BEST: William “The Refrigerator” Perry
Obviously, the nickname “The Refrigerator” is based on the comparison of William Perry’s large build to, well, a refrigerator. But in pro-American football, being the size of a refrigerator is a good thing.
BEST: "Butterbean" Eric Esche
One indication that you have one of the greatest nicknames in sports history is if people don't actually know your real name. And that's what Butterbean is all about. He may not be one of the greatest boxers of all time, but he's certainly one of the most entertaining and beloved out there.
FHM's Honorable Mentions
- "Frodo" Luke Ridnour (NBA)
- "The Korean Zombie" Chan Sung Jung (MMA)
- "The Baby Faced Assassin" Marco Antonio Barrera (Boxing)
- Ryan "Darth" Bader (MMA)
- Michael "Second To" Nunn (Boxing)
- "Bropez" Brook Lopez (NBA)
- Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida (MMA)
- "Big Ben" Roethlisberger (NFL)
- Juan "The Hispanic Causin' Panic" Lazcano (Boxing)
- "Candy Man" Ray Allen (NBA)
- "Ugly" Johhny Dickshot (MLB)