BLOOMINGBURG, NY – Nicknames are a sign of belonging and studies have shown that made-up monikers help a young person’s self esteem. To the professional athlete, nicknames are often given to accentuate their specific skill or overall mastery of the game. There’s little argument in most of these names – like “The Sultan of Swat,” “The Greatest,” or “Hammerin’ Hank.“ There is however on occasion nicknames that aren’t quite deserved or are not a logical fit and those are the basis of today’s post.
Okay, the lead-off spot is not a nickname but a birth name and this poor guy was set up for failure by his parents I guess. Willie Mays Aikens has to own some responsibility in not dropping the Mays during his playing career since he’s more Willie Mays Hayes of the movie Major League than he was The Say Hey Kid. The slow-footed, defensively-challenged Aikens had his moments before drugs derailed his career, like having two multiple home run games in the 1980 World Series and being a supporting piece behind George Brett and the Royals. In eight seasons Aikens hit 110 dingers, or about 500 less than Willie Mays, and spent more time in the big house than in the big leagues. Not worthy of his name for sure.
Professional wrestling isn’t a sport…it’s entertainment. There are clever ring names that are often paradoxical in nature and therein lies the humor of such. The WWF has a Hall of Fame and The Unpredictable Johnny Rodz is in it some how. What was so unpredictable of a guy who lost every match I remember seeing on Channel 9 on Saturdays back in the day? Rodz was the villain version of S.D. “Special Delivery” Jones – -good wrestlers who would push their rival in never ending defeat.
Henrik “The King” Lundqvist, Goaltender, New York Rangers. You all know where I stand on this guy by now. Never won a thing. Next.
Jack Thompson aka. The Throwin’ Samoan, as he was dubbed during his prolific passing college days at Washington State University in the late 1970’s. Thompson was the third overall pick in the 1979 NFL draft and never lived up to the hype like every other Polynesian quarterback to this point (Tuiasosopo, Mariota, and Tagovailoa on deck), throwin’ only 845 times – and more to the opponent (45 INT) than scores (33) in the process. When you spend a short career with the Bengals and Buccaneers it is difficult to live up to any positive nickname.
When you’re seven feet, one inches tall and tons of fun, you have an advantage over most others in basketball. Marvin Webster, oddly enough like Thompson above, was a third overall pick. He is another athlete who didn’t live up to being The Human Eraser. Let’s put his 881 career blocks into proper perspective: he ranks #129 on the all-time list, with other shorter players ahead of him; like Dwayne Wade and Michael Jordan.
I’m done for today. Leave me your choices for undeserved nicknames in the comments section and come back tomorrow for the Sports Rain Man – who lives up to his nickname every day, Junoir Blaber.