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All the great players in the NBA have had nicknames. The nicknames could be family names given when the player was a child, after there jersey number, after their physical appearance and sometimes are a derivatives of their first or last names.

In the NBA many of the nicknames are based on an attribute that the player possesses. Officially a nickname is a descriptive name given in place of or in addition to the official name of a person, place or thing. It can also be the familiar or truncated form of the proper name, which may sometimes be used simply for convenience.

Some of the greatest athletes and some very interesting characters have played in the NBA and have been given nicknames that follow them their whole career. Even some of the old timers had nicknames. George Gervin was the called ‘The Ice Man” because nothing rattled him and he could make shots fro anywhere. Oscar Robinson was the “Big O” and Bill Russell was so great his nickname was “Bill”.

Walt Frazier was called “Clyde” after the character in Bonnie and Clyde. Nicknames really became prominent in the 1980’s as the hip-hop era took hold a player’s nickname was used more often. Everyone knows the Michael Jordan is “MJ”, “His Airness” or “Air Jordan”.

Only the players that transcend the game get multiple nicknames. Shaquille O’Neal is known as “Shaq”, “The Big Aristotle”, “The Big Diesel”, “The Big Cactus”, “Shaqtus”, his reference to playing in Phoenix and the “The Big Witness” in reference witnessing the king Lebron James.

Kobe Bryant is known as the “black Mamba” because he can strike and score so quickly or “Mr. 81” after scoring 81 points in a game. Magic is used moor often than Ervin Johnson and Julius Erving was known as “Dr. J” for his sweet jumper and Chamberlin was “Wilt The Stilt” because of his height.

Dominique’s prowess on the court coined him “The Human High-Light Reel” because every night he did something spectacular. Larry Bird was known as “The Hick From French Lick” and “Larry Legend”. One of the most power dunkers was Darryl Dawkins so his nickname of “Chocolate Thunder” is fitting. Clyde Drexler could just fly when dunking so his moniker became “Clyde the Glide”.

Dirk Nowitski is the proud owner of three nicknames “Dirty”, “Dirkules” and “The Diggler”. Gary Peyton was known for his smothering defense and became “The Glove” and on the opposite is “kid Delicious”, Kevin Durant for his scoring ability. Of course “Krpytonate” for Nate Robison and for some unknown reason Bruce Bowen is call “The Mosquito”.

Anfernee Hardaway was called “Penny” early in his childhood and naturally Dwayne Wade is “D-Wade”. Rafer Alston is known as “Skip To My Lou” after his streetball past. Allen Iverson became “The Answer” because he answered the city of Philadelphia’s prayers, he also was just “AI”. Chauncey Billup’s earlier nickname was “Smooth” and now it is “Mr. Big Shot”.

Dwight Howard has been given multiple nicknames to show his ranking in the NBA, he goes by “Young Thunder” after Darryl Dawkins, “Superman” and “The Daily Double”. Some players get their nicknames from specific games or performances. “Half Man, Half Amazing” described Vince Carter after his performance in the 2009 All-Star game and his “Vincanity” nickname has been with since he was a rookie.
Rueben Patterson became known as “The Kobe Stopper” after shutting down Kobe in the playoffs. The great Bill Bradley was called “The Dollar” because he was money when he shot the ball. “The Dynasty” for Yao Ming, Agent Zero for Gilbert Arena, and the wide body of Charles Barkley was “The Round Mound of Rebound”. The majority of player in the NBA have nicknames. Most of the names fit the player’s abilities and performance.


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