My Favorite NBA Nicknames
The Microwave, Vinnie Johnson
Eric Sleepy Floyd
Mr. Crossover, Tim Hardaway
My teenage son walks up to me the other day with The Basketball Book by Sports Illustrated on hand and says “…Pop! What’s your favorite NBA Nickname?”. After I shrugged off the initial shock of the site of him actually having a book in his hands and not a cell phone, I quickly answered “…The Microwave!”, knowing fully well that particular nickname would pick his interest and the explanation wouldn't be in that book.
When you have teenage kids, you've this very tiny attention span window and a parent knows that such a question has maybe a 2 or 3 minute shelve life span. What I had done was extend the shelve life of that question for an additional maybe 15 or 20 minutes, and got myself a chance to drop some NBA History knowledge on the kid...Merry Christmas to me!
Vinnie Johnson, The Microwave. Vinnie was a guard that played for the Detroit Pistons and the rest of that Bad Boys Crew. He got the nickname The Microwave because he would come off the bench and instantly start scoring. He had this awkward release that made his shot nearly impossible to block even for much taller players than him and he was built like a boulder, so he was a tough match for any guard. Vinnie was no Speed Merchant by any means, so it was more embarrassing for defenders because The Microwave would take them apart in slow motion. It was hilarious to watch defenders turn away disgusted as he just continue to make shot after shot on them. Even Detroit Pistons Head Coach Chuck Daly would seat and look away from game action to keep from laughing while on Television. Injuries and changes to his roster forced Daly to put Vinnie in the starting lineup diminishing his effectiveness, but for a long while in the NBA Instant Offense was spelled Vinnie Johnson.
The other nickname, which I really liked was Eric Sleepy Floyd, but people had been calling him by that nickname long before he played in the NBA. I think, folks started calling him Sleepy when he was in the 2nd or 3rd grade. Everybody called him Eric Sleepy Floyd, media, players, fans...even the NBA Commissioner called him by his nickname when he was drafted, “…with the 13th pick, the New Jersey Nets select from Georgetown University, Eric Sleepy Floyd!”. He turned out to be a solid NBA player.
My final nickname ( because of my son’s attention span issues) is Mr. Crossover, Tim Hardaway. He earned the nickname ( you guess it!) because of his crossover moves. Timmy had these nasty crossover moves that would just embarrass defenders. The thing about Timmy was that he was born with the ability to make those moves while almost running at full speed, while other players had to slow down to make them. The other thing about him was that he was talker. He would tell you what he was going to do and then do it to you, he even talked while shooting free throws...The man was a character!