Nicknames are usually a badge of honor for an athlete. Many times a player is given a nickname because of their style of play, and they embrace the moniker, however, there are cases when an athlete is given a nickname that is less than flattering. Nicknames are acquired in many different ways; some guys get their name by playing their sport a certain way, others get it based on their appearance, and some can get it from their personality. However once a nickname is obtained, its stuck.
Today we will get into the 15 worst nicknames given in sports history, and we will have a good laugh doing it. There have been some great nicknames throughout the history of sports, some have been intimidating, and some have been extremely clever. Guys like “Iron” Mike Tyson and Frank “Big Hurt” Thomas are a few intimidating nicknames. Calvin “Megatron” Johnson and Allen “The Answer” Iverson are both very creative, and Michael “Air” Jordan is a very appropriate nickname. Most of the names on this list are less complimentary than the previous ones mentioned, and many of them are actually quite insulting.
It is hard to imagine how some athletes get tagged with a their nickname, a guy like David Beckham is often referred to as “Golden balls” and I am extremely curious as to who thought that would be a good nickname, another odd nickname that didn’t quite make the cut on our list is Covelli “Coco” Crisp. Did someone really think it would be cool to be named after a cereal? Anyhow, Lets get into our list before we give out too many spoilers.
15. Bryant “Big Country” Reeves
Bryant Reeves played six seasons in the NBA, all with the Vancouver (now Memphis) Grizzlies. Needless to say, he was a very large man, as you could probably guess by the nickname “Big Country.” He was a decent player but ultimately he couldn’t cut it in the league because of his extremely large frame, and his inability to keep up with much more in-shape competition.
14. Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams
Williams was a relief pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros, and while his career had some ups and downs, he will ultimately be remembered as the pitcher who served up Joe Carter’s home run that won the 1993 World Series for the Toronto Blue Jays. Williams lived up to the nickname with his unorthodox wind up, and falling down follow through. If you have never seen this guy pitch, you should YouTube him, it will really show you how “Wild” his style was.
13. “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. appropriately stole this nickname from the infamous early 1900s gangster and bank robber of the same name. It is an ironic nickname for a boxer, considering that boxing is a sport where being a “pretty boy” may not be the most intimidating attribute a guy could have. Mayweather has had a very successful career, and though he started as “Pretty Boy” Floyd, he quickly turned into “Money” Mayweather.
12. Harold ” Baby Jordan” Miner
Harold Miner came into the NBA as a high flyer with incredible athletic ability. His athleticism was so great, that he was referred to as “Baby Jordan” and many thought he could actually rival Michael Jordan’s athleticism. Miner never lived up to the nickname, as his career only lasted five years, but he did capture two NBA Slam Dunk titles during his time in the league. Still, it might not be a good idea to dub anyone as the next Jordan in any way.
11. Shawn ” The Flying Tomato” White
Shawn White is one of the most accomplished Olympians of all-time, collecting 15 gold medals during his decade long career. White was not so lucky in the nickname department, “The Flying Tomato” is a reference to his red hair, and his ability to fly through the air on his snowboard and skateboard. The name came at a time before he cut his trademark long red hair, and even though it’s gone, the “Tomato” is still alive.
10. Anthony ” The Unibrow” Davis
Anthony Davis came into the NBA as an incredibly talented big man with the thickest unibrow the NBA has ever seen. Since his arrival in the league he has embraced the nickname and he even uses the brow to his advantage, with endorsement deals revolved around the single stripe of hair across his forehead. Davis’ brow has even taken on a life of its own on the internet, with memes devoted to the caterpillar-like thing that sits on his face.
9. Adam “Big Donkey” Dunn
Adam Dunn is a 6-foot-6 monster of a man who played professional baseball for over a decade. The nickname “Big Donkey” has to be one of the most unfortunate nicknames in baseball history, but through it all Dunn was able to carve himself out a productive and lucrative career. Ironically enough, Dunn shares the nickname with Carlos Lee, but Lee is called El Caballo, which is donkey in Spanish. For some reason, it sounds a lot better in Spanish.
8. Charles “The Round Mound of Rebound” Barkley
Charles Barkley is now known as the boisterous loud mouth NBA commentator, but in his day, Barkley was a great NBA player, and one of the best rebounding forwards of his time. Charles has put on a few pounds since his playing days, but even in his prime, Barkley carried a few extra pounds, which earned him the fitting nickname. The “Mound” part of his name, came from the fact that at 6-foot-6, Barkley was the shortest player to ever lead the NBA in rebounds.
7. Pernell “Sweetpea” Whitaker
To make a living as a professional fighter you must be a tough guy. I am not sure how tough a guy you can be with a nickname like “Sweetpea” but Pernell Whitaker somehow made it work. Whitaker retired with a 40-6 career record, and every single one of those 40 men he defeated, have to tell their grandchildren that they lost to a man named “Sweetpea”. Perhaps that was Whitaker’s motive all along behind his name.
6. Doug “Muscle Hamster” Martin
This one might be the funniest on the list. Who thought of calling an NFL running back a muscle hamster? How did that even happen? Well it turns out it was Martin’s childhood friend who started the nickname for the Pro Bowl running back. Martin has tried to change his own moniker to “The Dougernaut” to no avail. Nonetheless Doug Martin has been a solid NFL running back for four seasons now and he still runs like a true muscle hamster.
5. Eric “Butterbean” Esch
A Butterbean plump turkey…Eric Esch is a plump turkey-ish looking man. That is all that really needs to be said about this nickname. Butterbean was a decent boxer for about a decade, then he transitioned into cage fighting. While his right hook was devastating, his frame and appearance made him a household name. Esch will forever be remembered for his round, jiggly shape, and his ridiculous nickname.
4. Glen “Big Baby” Davis
Legend has it that Glenn Davis was given his nickname by NBA great Kevin Garnett while the two were teammates on the Boston Celtics. The story goes that Garnett hollered at Davis during practice one day, “KG” (Garnett’s cool nickname) went so hard on “Big Baby” that he made Davis cry.
Davis was always a jovial and youthful personality, so that could have had something to do with the nickname as well, but a grown man crying in practice is definitely grounds for a nickname like this.
3. Lester “Molester” Hayes
Lester Hayes spent ten years in the NFL, and was a very good defensive back. He harassed wide receivers to no end every Sunday, often playing a more physical style than they were used to. The nickname “Molester” was meant to be a description of how tight his defense was, but we all now know that Lester “the Molester” isn’t necessarily something you want people to scream at you. There’s no way the nickname would fly today.
2. Randy “The Big Unit” Johnson
Arguably the greatest left handed pitcher in baseball history, Johnson is stuck with the worst nickname in baseball as well. Standing at 6-foot-11 it is understandable why Johnson was given the nickname of “Big Unit”. But when you combine the name with Randy’s surname “Johnson” it is easy to imagine the heckling he must have received from opposing fans on a nightly basis. On the flip side, not many men would be angry if the world was talking about their “Big Unit” Johnson.
1. The “Lovable Loser” Chicago Cubs
A player being given a bad nickname is one thing, but for an entire franchise to be called “Losers” is an entirely different thing. The Cubs have not won a World Series in over 100 years, yet the fans still pack Wrigley Field on a nightly basis, so the name is appropriate. It is, however, unfortunate for any player that has to play for the team with that kind of baggage. Regardless of your history, once you sign with the Cubs you instantly become a “Lovable Loser.”
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