Nicknames are a vital part of sports. It’s how you know that you’ve finally made it. Slackers, suckers, nobodies, rejects—those guys don’t get nicknames. They are just forgotten. When someone gives you a nickname though, you know you have arrived. You know you’ll be remembered.
History has given us some great nicknames. There will never be another “Galloping Ghost” or “Four Horseman”. You can love or hate Charles Barkley, but the name “Round Mound of Rebound” is just cool.
Recent history has given us a couple of great ones like “Tebow-mania” and even more recently New York Knicks Jeremy Lin's—“Linsanity.” I don’t care for Gilbert Arenas, but his nickname—Agent Zero—is just cool. However, as much as we dig those nicknames, there have been some horrible ones that we remember, well—just because they are that bad!
Caron Butler, Washington Wizards, aka “Tough Juice”: This makes no sense—tough juice? What is this, the stuff you drink when you can’t go to the bathroom?
Shaun White, X-Games God, aka “The Flying Tomato”: Come on! This guy is an absolute stud when it comes to high-flying tricks of the coolest variety on a skate board and snow board. The man is an Olympic champion, and the best we can come up with is something about his hair? Come on, man!
Denard Robinson, Michigan Wolverine QB, aka “Shoelace”: This one is just plain stupid. One of the most electrifying players in college football got his nickname from the fact that he does not like to tie his cleats when he plays. Not only is the name stupid, but not tying your cleats is pretty dumb too.
Ivan Rodriguez, Washington Nationals, aka “Pudge”: The only time I’ve ever heard someone referred to with that name is because they were lacking in a certain area in which guys traditionally don’t want to be known as lacking.
Rod Smart, XFL/NFL, aka “He Hate Me”: The man was doing what everyone in the football league run by the professional wrestling guys—trying to draw attention to himself. His explanation for it is too stupid to mention. Sure enough, when he got his brief shot in the NFL and had to use his own name no one knew who he was.
Najeh Davenport, former NFL running back, aka “The Dump Truck”: This one would be really cool if it was because he ran people over like a dump truck, but no. It is because he was a big ole’ boy that got drunk one night and pooped in a random girl’s hamper in college.
Lester Hayes, former Raiders cornerback, aka “The Molester”: In the football world, the name makes sense. Outside of the football world it scares mothers, little children, and could land you on a watch list you don’t want to be on.
Bad nicknames are not just reserved for players. There have been some terrible team names in the past for teams. The Cubs were called the Chicago Orphans for three years (yea, that’ll strike fear into your opponents). Poor Miami once had an ABL team called the Floridians (yep, the Miami Floridians), but that’s not worse than the Miami Vise (which thankfully only lasted one year in the AFL in 1987).
They say it’s all in the name, but luckily for most of these folks that wasn’t always the case!