Recently there have been many movements in our country that many people will say discourage children from being very creative. I for one believe it is true. It’s pretty simple to see. Just look around and you’ll see lack of creativity everywhere. All the music is the same, all the movies are the same, everything is the same. The lack of creativity has even affected sports because my generation of fans is the worst at being creative. I know this because every nickname given to athletes today is lame.
First let’s talk about nicknames in general. Nicknames can be a very valuable thing for an athlete for a couple of reasons. First of all nicknames just sound cool. If you were Pete Maravich would you rather people called you Pete or “Pistol” Pete? You have to admit if you were Sylvester Stallone, you’d rather be called “Sly” and not Sylvester. So nicknames can go a long way in giving your identity a little bit of coolness. Second a nickname is a great way for an athlete to connect with a fan. The fans will come up with a nickname for a player sort of a sign of appreciation and when they chant a player’s nickname the player will feel appreciated. Lastly nicknames are good because they will tell you something about the player. For example if you heard me refer to Charles Barkley as “the Round Mound of Rebound” you could get from that nickname that he is round and he can rebound. If someone mentions “Pistol” Pete you can get from his nickname that he is a good shooter. So there are several good reasons for nicknames in sports.
When I was younger I heard a lot of great descriptive nicknames for either players at that time or players before them. You had Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch because you never knew if his left leg would do what his right leg did. “The Human Highlight Reel” was a perfect name for Dominique Wilkins who made so many spectacular plays that you could just show his highlights every night. There was “Mean” Joe Greene, a very simple nickname, but effective. Many other simple but effective nicknames included “Magic” Johnson, “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky, and “Air” Jordan. “Broadway Joe” got his name for his flashy style and charisma while Walter Payton was called “Sweetness” for his rare combinations of abilities. Back in the day they even came up with great nicknames for events, plays and teams like “The Thrilla in Manilla”, “The Immaculate Reception” and “The Steel Curtain.”
But today’s creativity in coming up with good nicknames is very poor which is surprising considering how Sportscenter has made coming up with cute nicknames and phrases cool. But the truth is most of them suck. Today many people’s idea of a good nickname is, get this, saying their initials. That’s it. Kevin Garnett’s nickname is K.G. Allen Iverson’s nickname is A. I. At one point the 76ers had two A.I.s because they gave the same name to Andre Iguodala. Ladainian Tomlinson is called L.T. even though that nickname has already been used before. I mean seriously, Ladainian Tomlinson broke the freakin record for rushing touchdowns in a season. Can’t we get him a nickname that isn’t recycled?
I’m also not impressed if you come up with a nickname that is one initial but then the other part is a section of their name. A-Rod is not a very creative nickname and going back to the whole LT and A.I. thing, if Alex Rodriguez is A-Rod then Andy Roddick can not also be A-Rod. Some people even refer to Dwayne Wade as D. Wade. What? That’s his first initial and his last name? Where did you get that nickname? Did you read it off his boxers? Just taking a section of someone’s name isn’t being creative either. Calling Carmelo Anthony “Melo” isn’t exactly genius or anything.
The few nicknames that people have come up with aren’t very good either. Vince Carter is called half man half amazing. What the heck does that mean? Glen Davis is called “the big baby”. You do realize that makes him sound like an immature kid who cries all the time right? Of course the one person who comes up with the most nicknames is probably the worst of all. Of course I’m talking about Chris Berman. Steve “Poison” Avery? Jesus “Skip To My” Alou? Lance “You Sunk My” Blankenship? Jake “Daylight Come and Me Wanna” Delhomme? You’ve gotta be kidding me. Chris Berman should spend less time trying to come up with nicknames and spend more time on learning how to say the player’s actual name right.
So I’m begging you people. Help me out. We need some good nicknames in sports. I mean some actual good ones, I don’t want to hear Peyton Manning being called P.M. or Carlos Beltran being called C-Belt.