Sometimes a birth name doesn’t do a player justice. Take David Justice, for example. His name could never encapsulate the mystique of his World Series heroics/penchant for domestic violence. Nicknames give players their identity. They add to their larger than life legacies. They tell part of the story that their numbers can’t.
Here are the top 10 best nicknames in sports history, and their origins.
10) Frank Thomas
Nickname: The Big Hurt
Origin: Beat himself with a sock full of batteries after every called strike.
9) Joe Green
Nickname: Mean Joe Green
Origin: Always would say something about how you looked, never held a door open for anyone, supported Nazis.
8) Tim Lincecum
Nickname: The Freak
Origin: Farts to climax. Climaxes to fart.
7) Kobe Bryant
Nickname: The Black Mamba
Origin: Looks slimey, but up close, he’s not. Just difficult to be around.
6) Babe Ruth
Nickname: The Great Bambino
Origin: Was born 6’2″, 250lbs., never cried once.
5) William Perry
Nickname: The Refrigerator
Origin: Insides were a chilly 35º, teammates would keep drinks/leftovers inside his butt.
4) Every other player in sports
Nickname: The first letter of their first name, followed by the first syllabel of their last name.
Origin: Lazy ESPN anchors.
3) Johnny Manziel
Nickname: Johnny Football
Origin: Loves soccer.
2) Pablo Sandoval
Nickname: Kung Fu Panda
Origin: It was a Jack Black animated movie the year he played well, so everybody was like, sure, call him that, he’s fat. Then he just became a serviceable baseball player with a clutch streak, and no one wanted to start calling him “Gulliver’s Travels”
1) Darryl Dawkins
Nickname: Chocolate Thunder
Origin: Extremely loud diarrhea.