25 of the BEST Nicknames in Sports History

Published on January 19, 2018
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Professional athletes are the best of the best. These athletes focus their entire lives on their sport, giving it all up in order to play the game they love. It doesn’t surprise us that many of these athletes end up becoming cults of personality and global celebrities. Today we are going to look at those athletes in order to find the 25 best nicknames in the history of professional sports! When you’re the best at what you do, your nickname says everything about you!

Karl Malone – ‘The Mailman’

Karl Malone was one of the best power forwards to ever play in the NBA. Unfortunately for Malone he was overshadowed by literal all time greats, including Michael Jordan. Karl Malone was called ‘The Mailman’ because he always delivered when it mattered. Many a forward needed to get dental implants due to his fierce elbows in the paint.

Karl Malone 'The Mailman'

Karl Malone ‘The Mailman’

Kobe Bryant – ‘Black Mamba’

Speaking of all time greats we have one of them right here: Kobe Bryant. Bryant actually was a teammate with Karl Malone at one point in time but that isn’t how KB24 got his nickname. The Black Mamba nickname came about due to Bryant’s ferocity when it mattered most. The Black Mamba is one of the most dangerous snakes in the world and so was Bryant to the NBA.

Kobe Bryant 'Black Mamba'

Kobe Bryant ‘Black Mamba’

David Ortiz – ‘Big Papi’

David Ortiz might have used cosmetic dentistry in order to fix that gap tooth, but dental implants were not the cause for Ortiz’s success! David Ortiz is one of the best sluggers in the history of the MLB and he’ll forever be a hero for fans of the Boston Red Sox. Ortiz landed the Big Papi nickname due to his ferocious swing and his looming demeanor. Just don’t mention the teeth inplant, okay? He doesn’t like talking about the cosmetic dentistry.

David Ortiz 'Big Papi'

David Ortiz ‘Big Papi’

Ray Allen – ‘Jesus Shuttlesworth’

Before Ray Allen was a ‘Heatle’ he was a superstar for the Seattle Sonics of the NBA. Ray Allen scored his nickname from a character he played in the movie, He Got Game. During this period of time Allen’s fame was so thick you’d have to get liposuction to fit him through a door.

Ray Allen

Ray Allen

Allen Iverson – ‘The Answer’

AI was a revelation on the basketball court and his crossovers would send NBA players landing on their face, and heading to an implantat center to fix their mug. Iverson wowed audiences everywhere as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers and his nickname was well earned.

Allen Iverson The Answer

Allen Iverson The Answer

Pablo Sandoval – ‘Kung Fu Panda’

Perhaps this nickname comes about with a little bit of exasperation. Sandoval is a talented hitter who has always struggled with his weight. Sandoval denies his weight issues so don’t expect the pro hitter to look for liposuction anytime soon. But hey, at least Sandoval never needed to get any cosmetic dentistry work done — sorry Big Papi!

Pablo Sandoval 'Kung Fu Panda'

Pablo Sandoval ‘Kung Fu Panda’

Willie Mays – ‘The Say Hey Kid’

Nobody really knows how Willie Mays scored his nickname. Still, the legendary baseball player definitely earned the right to have it.

Willie Mays 'The Say Hey Kid'

Willie Mays ‘The Say Hey Kid’

Johnny Manziel – ‘Johnny Football’

Getting dental implants at an implantat center are going to be the least of Johnny Manziel’s potential worries if he can’t get ahold of his drug habits. Still, Manziel has one of the coolest nicknames on this list — ‘Johnny Football’. Manziel was a college football phenom with Texas A&M when he won the Heisman as a freshman.

Johnny Manziel 'Johnny Football'

Johnny Manziel ‘Johnny Football’

Lou Gehrig – ‘The Iron Horse’

It sure seems like baseball players have awesome nicknames. Lou Gehrig earned his nickname thanks to his insane consecutive games played streak. Gehrig held the record for 60+ years until ALS started to break his body down.

Lou Gehrig 'The Iron Horse'

Lou Gehrig ‘The Iron Horse’

Marshawn Lynch – ‘Beast Mode’

Lynch is another NFL player with a sweet nickname who could use some time at an implantat center to fix his gap tooth. Still, Lynch won this nickname during the beginning of Seattle’s NFL dominance with a wild run over the favored New Orleans Saints in the postseason.

Marshawn Lynch 'Beast Mode'

Marshawn Lynch ‘Beast Mode’

Andre Dawson – ‘The Hawk’

Dawson is one of the most underrated players to ever step onto an MLB field. Dawson was an elite defender and a ball hawk on the field — thus his nickname. Dawson landed in the Hall of Fame too, for good reason.

Andre Dawson 'The Hawk'

Andre Dawson ‘The Hawk’

Tiger Woods – ‘Tiger’

Did you know that his real first name is Eldrick? Yeah, we didn’t either. Woods scored his nickname, Tiger, thanks to his ferocity on the links and his ability to devour opposing golfers with a calm and collected demeanor.

Tiger Woods 'Tiger'

Tiger Woods ‘Tiger’

Matt Ryan – ‘Matty Ice’

He is the franchise QB for the Atlanta Hawks so the only reason Ryan would ever need liposuction is in order to slim down his paychecks. Ryan earned the nickname ‘Matty Ice’ due to his success in the clutch and his ability to overcome improbable odds.

Matt Ryan 'Matty Ice'

Matt Ryan ‘Matty Ice’

Darren McFadden – ‘Run DMC’

McFadden is going to need a teeth inplant procedure or two with how many stints on the DL he has gobbled up. McFadden is a running back for the Dallas Cowboys but he landed the Run DMC moniker as an electric back for the Oakland Raiders.

Darren McFadden 'Run DMC'

Darren McFadden ‘Run DMC’

Frank Thomas – ‘The Big Hurt’

Has there ever been a more apt nickname? Frank Thomas was a monster in the batters box and we’re shocked he didn’t knock a tooth out of any pitcher across from him, sending them to get a teeth inplant on regular occasion. Thomas is a Hall of Fame power hitter who played for the Chicago White Sox.

Frank Thomas 'The Big Hurt'

Frank Thomas ‘The Big Hurt’

Calvin Johnson – ‘Megatron’

Recently retired, Calvin Johnson spent the duration of his career with the Detroit Lions. Johnson was one of the most physically gifted and imposing receivers to ever play a snap in the NFL. Johnson scored the Megatron nickname due to his insane size.

Calvin Johnson 'Megatron'

Calvin Johnson ‘Megatron’

OJ Simpson – ‘The Juice’

Remember that period of time when OJ Simpson was just a world class athlete — and not a murderer? Yeah, for people who remember that period they’ll remember this nickname. Simpson scored ‘The Juice’ nickname due to his first name initials.

OJ Simpson 'The Juice'

OJ Simpson ‘The Juice’

Joe Jackson – ‘Shoeless’

His nickname stuck so well that we naturally add it to the famous baseball player’s title. Shoeless Joe Jackson is one of the best hitters of all time and he scored his nickname when he played shoeless during a scouting session. Jackson is blacklisted from baseball due to his participation in the 1919 World Series betting scandal.

Joe Jackson 'Shoeless'

Joe Jackson ‘Shoeless’

Charlie Whitehurst – ‘Clipboard Jesus’

Being a career backup with long hair and pasty white skin can get you something in the NFL. Whitehurst will forever be loved by Colt fans for his part in the ‘Suck for Luck’ sweepstakes.

Charlie Whitehurst 'Clipboard Jesus'

Charlie Whitehurst ‘Clipboard Jesus’

William Perry – ‘The Refrigerator’

Perry was a defensive lineman for the Chicago Bears and an absolute monster on the field. Occasionally Perry would play running back when the Bears got close to the endzone. His nickname is pretty easy to understand.

William Perry 'The Refrigerator'

William Perry ‘The Refrigerator’

Darrelle Revis – ‘Revis Island’

When Revis was coming up in the NFL he was one of the best cornerbacks the game had ever seen. Whenever Revis lined up across from a receiver he would effectively put them on ‘Revis Island’.

Darrelle Revis 'Revis Island'

Darrelle Revis ‘Revis Island’

LeBron James – ‘King James’

Considered highschool royalty, James went straight to the NBA after his senior year. James was destined to be the best player since Jordan and, shockingly, he has been. When James finally won a championship with Miami he fully earned his crown.

LeBron James 'King James'

LeBron James ‘King James’

Randy Johnson – ‘The Big Unit’

Pitchers in the MLB are surprisingly tall and lanky, but none more so than Randy Johnson. Johnson stood 6’10 on the diamond and he had one of the hardest to hit fastballs in the game. He was horrifying to face and thus his nickname was earned.

Randy Johnson 'The Big Unit'

Randy Johnson ‘The Big Unit’

Wayne Gretzky – ‘The Great One’

Gretzky will forever be the face of professional hockey. As the greatest player to ever play hockey, Gretzky fully earned and embraced ‘The Great One’ nickname.

Wayne Gretzky The Great One

Wayne Gretzky The Great One

Michael Jordan – ‘Air Jordan’

Jordan is the greatest athlete of all time and one of the most dominating players to ever lace up for a sporting event. MJ scored his ‘Air’ nickname thanks to his ridiculous athleticism and his furious finishes at the rim.

Michael Jordan 'Air Jordan'

Michael Jordan ‘Air Jordan’