The Most Underrated NBA Nicknames
Since the NBA recently announced that it is considering allowing players to wear nicknames on the back of their jerseys, much has been made about whose nickname is the best. It has sparked conversations around the world about which nickname is the coolest.
Well, it is time to acknowledge the true “hidden gems” in the world of nicknames. Sure, the “Black Mamba,” “The Truth,” and the “Durantula” are all classics, and even lesser nicknames like “Birdman” and “AK-47” are regarded highly across NBA circles. But people already know about those. It's only right that we pay homage to the most underrated NBA nicknames of all time, each of which would surely make heads turn if seen on an NBA jersey.
Darryl Dawkins: Chocolate Thunder
This is one of the all time greats. It’s actually a pretty well-known nickname, but I just had to include it. It’s the best of both worlds. Elegant and smooth like milk chocolate one moment, powerful and thunderous the next. If there was an “NBA Nickname Hall of Fame” this would be the nickname you would see first.
Jason Williams: White Chocolate
This is one of my all-time favorites. Jason Williams was a decent player for several years, but he will always be remembered for his demeanor and personality both on and off the court. To put it delicately, he would be the first pick if Dave Chappelle decided to put on an NBA-themed “Racial Draft.”
Brian Scalabrine: White Mamba
A play on Kobe Bryant’s famous “Black Mamba” moniker, the “White Mamba” is one of the funniest nicknames ever given. He was the player that everyone and their mother could relate to simply because he looked like someone you would find playing in a Men’s League in Wisconsin. But don’t let his appearance fool you; just like the snake he is named after, Scalabrine was lethal on and off the court. No player ever struck as much fear into opponents while waving a towel as the White Mamba did.
Kurt Thomas: Big Sexy
Kind of self explanatory in a way. A nickname straight out of the movie Semi-Pro sits well with me any day. Plus, when you have a nickname like “Big Sexy,” you probably deserve it for some reason. Without delving too deeply into its origins (you’re welcome), check it out in action.
Richard Hamilton: Rip
One of the more generic nicknames on this list, but it is worthy simply for its longevity. Why isn’t it regarded as a top nickname? The answer is simple: “Rip” Hamilton has not been called by his legal first name since the mid-90s. People may actually believe that “Rip” is his birth name. Aside from that, it’s also the perfect in-game nickname. It isn’t flashy, but it fits into the broadcast seamlessly and is perfect for a sharp shooter like Hamilton.
Daniel Gibson: “Boobie” Gibson
It’s pretty obvious why this one’s on the list. When you can get ESPN anchors to refer to you as “Boobie” on a regular basis, you’ve done your job.
David Robinson: The Admiral
As you may have noticed by now, not many NBA nicknames scream “class.” This one shouts class from a mountain top. Robinson was a classy guy to begin with, but combine that with a nickname like “The Admiral” and it’s a wrap. The only way this would’ve been better was if he played in the 70s and wore a lot of fur coats to his press conferences.
Robert Traylor: “Tractor” Traylor
First of all, Rest in Peace. Second of all, aside from “Tractor” being a play on his last name, he also fit the physical description perfectly. He was a very large man who would destroy anything in his path. Just as you would not want to take a charge from an actual tractor trailer, you would not want to step in the way of Robert “Tractor” Traylor. No one on Earth has ever done a nickname more justice that Robert.
Rafer Alston: Skip to My Lou
Even after becoming a decent NBA point guard, Rafer never shook the nickname he earned becoming a street ball legend. His handles were off the charts, and “Skip to My Lou” was based off one of his crossovers. Unfortunately for Rafer, when your style of play is more entertaining playing on concrete, even a super cool nickname like “Skip to My Lou” can’t save you.
If the NBA decides to go through with this idea, it could be revolutionary. Who knows, maybe in a decade players will only wear nicknames on their jerseys. Either way, it gives fans and the players the opportunity to have a little fun and show off. Sure, some players like Shane Battier would probably be forcing a nickname down each of our throats, but for every Shane Battier, there is a Jason “White Chocolate” Williams. And for that, I am grateful.