The NBA has had some legendary nicknames over the years, but which ones are the best?
Of all the ways the NBA has changed over the past two decades – the proliferation of positionless basketball, the elimination of hand-checking, the rapid embrace of the 3-pointer in light of rudimentary mathematics – perhaps the most striking is the rapid decline in quality nicknames.
Given the increased connectivity that the internet affords us, this seems counterintuitive. After all, who but the well-informed, always clever yet totally fair and accurate populace of Twitter to concoct quality nicknames for players doing profoundly unprecedented things on a nightly basis? Leave it to the crack squad of eggs with nonsensical handles to screw up what should be a relatively easy endeavor.
The players themselves don’t do much to help. They tend to either go to the “shortened version of a given name” route, like Melo for Carmelo Anthony, or just hit us with initials, e.g., “KP” for Kristaps Porzingis. The ones that do choose to involve themselves in the moniker process invariably screw that up too – how often do we refer to the fact that nobody in the history of mankind outside of the guy himself will refer to Kevin Durant as “the Servant”?
Nevertheless, there remain some great nicknames in the league today, and the NBA has a tremendous history of gloss. What follows is a list of some of the all-time best, generally airing on the “good” side of Jared Dubin’s nickname rules and listed in alphabetical order by nickname. I do not intend for this to be comprehensive, and I’m certain I’ve left out a few great ones. Feel free to reach out via Twitter if you really need to express your disappointment with the exclusion of Nate Robinson’s KryptoNate, “Don’t Google” Evan Fournier (seriously: don’t) or Andrew Wiggins’ Maple Jordan.