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Legendary Sports Stars "Nicknames"

Updated on October 10, 2013

Thinkng back

I was a sports fan from a very early age. Having a “sports hero” back years ago seemed to be more prevalent than it is today. It also seemed to me that many of those greats from yesterday had great nicknames. Here is my list of some of my favorite “Nicknames” of my sports hero’s.

Walter "Sweetness" Payton
Walter "Sweetness" Payton

Sweetness

Walter Payton

He was, by far, the most prolific running back in the history of the NFL. He as known as “Sweetness” by anyone and everyone who was a fan of the NFL. His style of running and his demeanor on and off the field earned him this name that only seemed appropriate to those who took the time to follow him.

Bobby Knight
Bobby Knight

The General

Bobby Knight

In my opinion is arguably the greatest NCAA Men’s Basketball Coach in history? He has won more games than any division 1 NCAA Basketball coach ever. He has compile 902 wins over a 43-year career.

During his 29 years with the Indiana Hoosiers, he only managed to win THREE NCAA Championships, ONE NIT Championship and ELEVEN Big Ten Conference Championships. He won an Olympic gold medal by leading the 1984 USA men’s team. He was NCAA Coach of the year four times and Big Ten Coach of the year six times.

Although he was possibly the most “controversial” coach of all time, and it was always exciting to watch one of his teams take to the courts. From throwing chairs, to screaming at players and refs, there was never a dull moment with him. He was also very proud have an extremely high rate of his kids to graduate and be successful after college.

The General only seems to be the obvious name for this great.

Dr. J
Dr. J

Dr. J

Julius  Erving

The Doctor was one of my all-time favorite NBA and ABA players to watch. He is the father of the Slam Dunk. He earned his nickname from his high school days. I can still vividly see him flying through the air, with his bushy afro, soaring from the top of the key, arm stretched high and finishing with a thunderous “slam”.

Peter Press Maravich
Peter Press Maravich

Pistol Pete

Pete Maravich

Was one of my favorite NBA players of all time, and was one of the most amazing offensive players to watch. John Havlicek once said that the Pistol was "the best ball-handler of all time”. He was a prolific scorer and passer. In the NBA, he scored over 40 points in a game 35 times and score 50 or more points six times.

His unique style of shooting, as if he had a 6-shooter on his side, he would grab the ball, and smoothly shoot in one motion as would an old west gunfighter, earning his nickname, Pistol Pete.

The Fridge
The Fridge

The Refridgerator

William Perry

He became a house hold name to most of America after scoring a touchdown for the Chicago Bears on a Monday Night telecast.  This 6’2”, 395 pounder who played Defensive Tackle, was tabbed the “Refrigerator” for obvious reasons.  He was a tremendous athlete considering his size, who often would play offense and throw tremendous blocks for the Great Walter Payton.  The “fridge” also managed to score in Super Bowl XX.

Honorable Mentions:

Other ones, who I will only mention without going into detail, are:

The Intimidator, Dale Earnhardt (a personal favorite…more to come on him, later)

Magic Johnson – LA Laker

“Tiny” ArchibaldCedric “Cornbread” Maxwell - Boston Celtic greats

“Crazy Legs” Hirsch – NFL great running back from the early days.

Ed “Too Tall” Jones – Dallas Cowboy Defensive End

Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini – Boxing Great

“Sugar” Ray Leonard - Olympic Boxer

Kenny “The Snake” Stabler – Oakland Raiders Quarterback

MLB, relief pitchers:

“Catfish” Hunter- and “Goose” Gossage

Earl “The Pearl” Monroe – NBA Great

“Broadway” Joe Nameth – New York Jets QB

Billy “White Shoes” Johnson – NFL showboater and kick returner.

George “Papa Bear” Halas – Long time Chicago Bear Owner, coach and founder of the NFL

George “Sparky” Anderson –Cincinnati Reds Manager

 

 

 What are some of your favorites?

Comments

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    • CMerritt profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Merritt 

      6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Thanks Epi,

      WOW! meeting Ali and Frazier is awesome...that certainly would be a night to remember.

      I appreciate your kindness and support.

      Chris

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 

      6 years ago

      ...always love the passion and sincerity of your hub subjects - and I sit here thinking of you dear friend and sending you warm wishes for your health, happiness and prosperity in 2012 for you and your family - I've been a big fan of sports all of my life too - how the GREAT ONE - Wayne Gretzky or BROADWAY JOE - Joe Namath - I met and shook hands with both Ali and Frazier once at a sports dinner tribute to our Canadian champ George Chuvalo at a convention centre in Michigan back in the early 90's - now that was a night to remember .....

      lake erie time ontario canada 3:28pm

    • CMerritt profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Merritt 

      7 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Thanks DRG! It was fun to reminisce about some of the greats.

    • DRG Da Real Grinc profile image

      Felix J Hernandez 

      7 years ago from All over the USA

      Nice. I'm a sports fanatic. Feeling this Hub. Original and entertaining.

    • CMerritt profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Merritt 

      7 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Thanks for sharing with me Ghost, I agree Blanda WAS the Raiders in those days....What an amazing story he had.

    • profile image

      Ghost32 

      7 years ago

      Oops. Hit the Post Comment button before getting to the point--which was, I never did like Stabler...BUT always thought The Snake for a nickname couldn't have been chosen better.

    • profile image

      Ghost32 

      7 years ago

      Awesome list. I never could stand Stabler, but as long as he had George Blanda for backup, still loved the Raiders.

      In fact, the '67 Raiders, watched on an 11-inch black and white TV, actually taught me the game of football (which we never had in our school when I was growing up).

    • CMerritt profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Merritt 

      7 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Truckstop Sally, YES, the Admiral is another great nickname in sports history. Thanks for the update on Robinson, I have wondered what became of him.

      I appreciate you stopping by and commenting.

      :)

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 

      7 years ago

      Admiral - David Robinson played basketball for the Naval Academy before the NBA. He could be called Preacher now. He is invloved with a church in San Antonio now.

    • CMerritt profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Merritt 

      7 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Brutus, man do I ever agree with you.

    • Brutus Orkney profile image

      Brutus Orkney 

      7 years ago from AZ

      Sweetness may have been the greatest sports athlete on and off the field ever....Sad days they were: His retirement, his passing ):

    • CMerritt profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Merritt 

      7 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Thanks James, and boy I sure did love Sweetness.

      Sports has lost some of it's charm it seems to me. There are not as many "Heros" and "Charactors" in sports as there once was.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      7 years ago from Chicago

      All these folks are tremendous performers. You gotta love "Sweetness." The nicknames are cool. Great idea for a Hub. I love it!

    • CMerritt profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Merritt 

      7 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Thanks Suzie, that WAS a fun time for Bear fans!

      I appreciate you stopping by and commenting.

      :)

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 

      7 years ago from Asheville, NC

      I loved the Chicago Bears when Refridgerator Perry was playing. Ditka was fun too. Great Hub.

    • CMerritt profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Merritt 

      7 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Thanks for commenting Mick....Was Pete amazing or what?

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      7 years ago

      Great post CMerritt. I have know all these I believe. I agree with John Havlicek was SPOT ON! I saw countless times that Pistol Pete would hit a team-mate with a pass and NOBODY saw it coming. He should have had several "rings". God bless!

    • CMerritt profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Merritt 

      7 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Cogerson,

      Sweetness IS the best without a doubt!! I am still saddend by his loss.

      Thanks so very much for your props!

      :)

    • Cogerson profile image

      UltimateMovieRankings 

      7 years ago from Virginia

      Great list.....I gotta go with Sweetness for the best....I wish he was still alive....voted up

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 

      7 years ago

      Who can argue with your list of legends? I didn't know all of the nicknames, so I learned something. Thanks

    • CMerritt profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Merritt 

      7 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Mrs. JB, those were ALL awesome!

      Being from Indiana, I should have included Larry "The Legend" Bird.

      Thanks, I was hoping to get more responses with nicknames.

      :)

    • Mrs. J. B. profile image

      Mrs. J. B. 

      7 years ago from Southern California

      Since I am from BOSTON seeing you mention players of different sports from there brought back memories. Now for nicknames... A-Rod aka Alex Rodriguez, The Great Bambino aka Babe Ruth, Pudge aka Carlton Fisk, The Round Mound Of Rebound aka Charles Barkley, Mr. November aka Derek Jeter, Mr. Cub aka Ernie Banks, The Real Deal aka Evander Holyfield, King George aka George Foreman, Hammerin' Hank aka Hank Aaron, Golden Bear aka Jack Nicklaus, Mean aka Joe Greene, Joe Cool aka Joe Montana, Dr. J. aka Julius Erving, The Black Hole aka Kevin McHale, The Legend aka Larry Bird, Iron Mike aka Mike Tyson, Charlie Hustle aka Pete Rose, Mr. October aka Reggie Jackson..... OKAY THAT TOOK TIME!!!!!!

    • CMerritt profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Merritt 

      7 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      katrinasui, THANKS for stopping by. I am heading your way to check out some of your hubs.

      :)

    • CMerritt profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Merritt 

      7 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Lifegate, I know, some of the nicknames was more popular than their REAL names. I appreciate you coming by.

      :)

    • CMerritt profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Merritt 

      7 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Hey kindacrazy, I never heard of Jumpin Joe, but am a big Montana fan. Thanks for contributing and commenting.

      :)

    • CMerritt profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Merritt 

      7 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Thanks Will for stopping by and commenting... :)

    • CMerritt profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Merritt 

      7 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      Rob,

      Who's on first is a classic...I never thought about it, but you are corret. Thanks for stopping by.

      :)

    • katrinasui profile image

      katrinasui 

      7 years ago

      Hehhe nice hub.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      7 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Yep, I remember them--probably more by their nicknames their their actual names.

    • Kindacrazy profile image

      Kindacrazy 

      7 years ago from Tennessee

      Jumpin' Joe Montana

      .....and I'll think of more

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 

      7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Know 'em all!

      Fun Hub.

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 

      7 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      And sports nicknames were the inspiration for the greatesst comedy routine of all-time, "Who's on First?"

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