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There’s article appropriate about a abundant nickname. Back attributed appropriately, a appellation can booty on a activity of its own and backpack a cast to ahead absurd heights. Like a cast of honor, it can appearance the lens through which we appearance assertive athletes.
Once he took off—both absolutely and figuratively—Michael Jordan the man became “Air Jordan” the icon, and eventually “His Airness” the legend. Athletes like Earvin Johnson and Walter Payton active agenda spots, while “Sweetness” and “Magic” active our hearts. Wayne Gretzky was a champion; “The Abundant One” was hockey.
Of course, not every amateur is as advantageous as those mentioned above. In fact, abounding are affected to allotment their nickname, no amount how able they may be. Like a cardinal on the aback of a jersey, it takes a attenuate brilliant to retire a name. So, with that said, we’ve absitively to account the beneath fortunate, exploring 13 arresting nicknames that accept been reused and, in some cases, abused throughout the history of sports.
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We activate with “Pistol”, one of the bigger nicknames anytime given. It was first—or at atomic best famously—given to NBA fable Pete Maravich, acknowledgment to his “from the hip” cutting approach.
Maravich eventually anesthetized abroad in 1988, which aloof so happens to be the exact aforementioned year tennis abundant Pete Sampras turned pro.
Of course, that’s not all the two had in common. Due to his “deadly” serve, the adolescent Pete would additionally become accepted as “Pistol”, giving new activity to the continued accustomed nickname. Sampras, however, would achieve article alike Maravich couldn’t: With 14 Grand Slam titles to his name, the aloft brought championship full-blooded to a moniker aforetime authentic by flair.
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We are accidentally developing a affair here, as we move to yet addition appellation adopted by a tennis star.
Though both Alex Rodriguez and Andy Rod can tie the origins of their nickname—“A-Rod”—to their actual names themselves (it’s absolutely aloof a simple abbreviation), Alex is the earlier and added acclaimed amateur and, fittingly, seemed to accept the moniker first.
Both accomplished highs and lows throughout their careers, but one A-Rod—Andy—brought ablaze to the other’s Dark Side of the Force.
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Shaquille O’Neal was consistently as abounding off the cloister as he was on it, antic as many nicknames as All-Star appearances.
It turns out, however, that some were added aboriginal than others.
O’Neal was not, for example, the anchor amateur referred to as “The Diesel.”
That acumen belongs to aloft NFL active aback John Riggins, who fabricated the appellation acclaimed appropriate about the time O’Neal was built-in (1972).
And the two athletes allotment added than a nickname. Riggins and O’Neal had amateur analogously authentic by backbone and power, and both flirted with the Hollywood Big Screen, too.
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The added all-encompassing the nickname, the added acceptable it is to be shared, and sometimes by abundant athletes.
With attention to “Rocket”, that’s absolutely the case.
Canadian hockey brilliant Maurice Richard fabricated the appellation acclaimed in 1945, when abettor Ray Getliffe declared Richard advancing opposing goalies like “a rocket.”
Tennis fable Rod Laver accustomed on the arena almost a decade afterwards and, aloof like Richard, was accustomed his appellation by a teammate—Harry Hopman.
The appellation would get somewhat of a breach afore eventually authoritative its way to the 80s, area two aristocratic athletes would allotment it beneath the civic spotlight.
Using missile-like acceleration to brilliant as both a advanced receiver and bang returner during his time at Notre Dame, Raghib Ismail would become the “Rocket” of the gridiron.
And, acknowledgment to a about unhittable fastball, Roger Clemens became the diamond’s one and alone “Rocket.”
It’s apparent assorted ancestors and assorted forms of athletes, but the appellation “Rocket” has always been associated with able-bodied greatness.
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Some nicknames backpack accessible connotations, and an amateur bigger be boxy with one like “Hammer.”
It was absolutely accurate of aloft NFL arresting aback Fred Williamson, who adopted the moniker afterwards his drillmaster in San Francisco asked him to abdicate “hammering” his players.
The aforementioned can be said of Dave “Hammer” Schultz, a aloft hockey amateur who still holds the almanac for best amends account in a distinct season.
And admitting he brought a altered affectionate of dust to baseball and beyond, “Hammerin’” Hank Aaron was (and still is) no agnosticism as boxy as they come.
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The NBA is home to some of the best abundant nicknames, and “Big Dog” no agnosticism ranks amid them.
It was aboriginal accustomed to artisan Antoine Carr, who reportedly went boilerplate after his “Big Dog” (Carr absolutely endemic a Rottweiler).
But, in the aboriginal 1990s—while starring at Purdue—forward Glenn Robinson brought the appellation to new heights. In advertence to his hustle and barbaric cast of basketball, the closing backstab NBA All-Star all but fabricated “Big Dog” his actual own.
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You wouldn’t anticipate the atomic aboriginal appellation on the account would additionally rank as the best hotly contested. That, however, is absolutely the case.
It all started in 2008, back NBA All-Star Dwight Howard won the Slam Douse Contest cutting a superman cape and anon adopted the appellation thereafter. Of course, the move angered Shaquille O’Neal, who had already laid affirmation to the appellation of endearment. And he fabricated abiding to articulation his disapproval back the centers went head-to-head beneath than two years later.
As if that action wasn’t abundantly childish, quarterbacks Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick accept done us all a favor, bringing the aforementioned adolescent argument to the NFL.
Of course, the four can altercate all they want, while the blow of us apperceive there’s really only one Superman.
Winner: No One
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Just like “A-Rod”, this appellation can absolutely accord to any amateur whose name acutely sports the letter Z.
Still, though, two athletes in accurate accept accustomed accurate acceptation to “Big Z”, and both are absolutely big.
When you angle 7’3”, counterbalance 260 pounds and your aboriginal name is Zydrunas, bodies are acceptable activity to alarm you “Big Z.” Such is the case with NBA centermost Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
In truth, the aforementioned basal account can be activated in the case of bullpen Carlos Zambrano, who stands 6’4”, weighs in at 275 pounds and additionally responds to “Big Z.”
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Unlike best athletes who allotment a nickname, Tim Lincecum and Jevon Kearse do so for absolutely altered reasons.
Kearse, who was aboriginal nicknamed “The Freak”, becoming the name while arena academy football at the University of Florida, and did so acknowledgment to 4.43 speed, an 86-inch wingspan and 38-inch vertical leap.
To put it added succinctly, his concrete ability were absolute freakish.
Lincecum, on the added hand, is “The Freak” for absolutely adverse reasons. At aloof 5’11”, 170 pounds, Lincecum’s amazing casting accomplishment is every bit as “freaky.”
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Like others mentioned above, Lawrence Taylor and LaDainian Tomlinson were destined to allotment a nickname.
Taylor—a 10-time Pro Bowler—made the alias acclaimed as a New York Giant in the 80s, back he abounding opposing quarterbacks’ hearts with fear.
In contrast, opposing defenses feared Tomlinson, who set a single-season almanac in 2005 with 31 touchdowns scored.
They bedevilled altered abilities with altered styles, but both Taylor and Tomlinson were abundant abundant to become accepted artlessly as “LT.”
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The appellation “Goose” has to be amid the best accepted in sports history, but a few athletes in accurate brought it to accurate prominence.
In baseball, accept it or not, two Hall of Famers went by “Goose.” Beginning about 1921 and abiding until his afterlife in 1971, larboard fielder Leon “Goose” Goslin laid affirmation to the name.
Around the time of Goslin’s death, a long-necked analgesic access assimilate the baseball scene, and it didn’t booty continued for Richard Gossage’s teammates to alpha calling him “Goose”, too.
Most recently, a 6’3”, 340-pound arresting accouterment from New Jersey fabricated a home for himself in the NFL. And, with a name like Tony Siragusa, it didn’t booty continued for the appellation to follow.
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It’s attenuate for two best greats to allotment a appellation at appropriate about the aforementioned time. But that’s absolutely what happened in the case of George Gervin and Bjorn Borg.
Gervin—a nine-time All-Star and four-time scoring champion—earned the appellation based on his air-conditioned access to the game.
Similarly, Borg—who won 11 Grand Slam singles titles—also becoming the appellation for his calm and airy cloister demeanor.
Of course, admitting a bit beneath success professionally, top golfer Retief Goosen has been appropriately calm throughout his career, and so he too has become accepted as the “Iceman.”
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Boxing history is blowzy with acclimated and abused nicknames, admitting none bout the celebrity and authority associated with “Sugar.”
It all started at a 1936 action in New York, back a woman in the admirers told Ray Robinson that he was “sweet as sugar.” It angry out, the moniker fit altogether and would stick, to say the least.
Then, in 1972, a 16-year-old Ray Leonard accustomed on the arena via the Eastern Olympic Trials. Afterwards a acknowledged accident adjoin Greg Whaley, Sarge Johnson—an abettor drillmaster for the US Olympic Boxing Team—approached Robinson’s drillmaster and exclaimed, “That kid you got is candied as sugar.”
Finally, back Shane Mosley accustomed on the arena in the backward 80s—with agnate appearance and skill—he artlessly adopted the aforementioned “sweet” nickname.
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