Friday afternoons used to be the best time in middle school. That was when the most heated arguments always unfolded because no one cared about school (not that we ever did, but it got worse after about 11 on a Friday) and even the teachers were throwing glances at the clock every 15 minutes. Back then, it was a daily thing to stretch and weave people’s names. Up until that time, I had been called Weeney probably close to 4,000 times.
But ever since high school, I’ve had the nickname Slice. Pretty hilarious. Over time, people have forgotten whether I earned it or whether I gave myself that nickname (any time you give yourself a nickname, it always ends up going badly). One of my AAU teammates was nicknamed Slice because his real name was Solice. So it was just easier and it flowed, and I thought it was a dope name. That, plus the fact that my hair color is similar to the orange soda “Slice” kinda combined at the same time to nominate me “Slice.”
With NBA guys, there have been some classics, and we’re not talking nicknames (that’s too easy). We’re talking real names. I know people who said Rudy Gay had a terrible name, but since Rudy is one of the coolest dudes in the whole league (seriously), I don’t see it like that. Rudy. It just sounds boss.
Besides, there are some others that are MUCH better…
***Young guy who could earn his way into this list: Bismack Biyombo
Magic Johnson- C’mon, really? Magic is such a good dude that no one even calls him out on this (most don’t even realize the unintentional comedy). This is a nickname, which in a way makes it even worse. For instance, the name “Dick” is a terrible choice for a name – or for being short for Richard – but it becomes instantly appalling if someone starts using it as a nickname. Technically, Magic is a nickname. But no one ever calls him Earvin, so it can pass for this list. Magic Johnson. This would be like me naming my first born Dirty Sack Sweeney or something.
Royal Ivey- Someone should’ve given this name to a better player. Royal Ivey sounds like British extravagance or Royal Family gardens. It flows from the tongue, like a sonnet. Splendid. Royal Ivey should definitely switch names with Chris Paul.
Semih Erden- This makes the list because as long as he stays in the league, we will forever be hearing “Just wait until the full Erden shows up” jokes.
O.J. Mayo- One of the more versatile names you’ll ever find. When I first heard of Juice, I immediately thought: “Wow, with a name like that there’s NO WAY this guy doesn’t become a star.” So he has that working for him. He also has 33 percent of the food pyramid covered. You can pretty much plug any type of food into his middle name and it instantly becomes a classic. O.J. Snickers Mayo. O.J. Bread Mayo. O.J. Milk Mayo. O.J. Pistachio Mayo.
Pétur Guðmundsson- Why would you EVER draft a player with a name you had no hope of pronouncing? Number one, it’s bad for business. No one would buy his jersey and no announcer would ever want to say his name. Number two, no player ever became great who had a last name like Gudosdfsggreksdfj (also note: this guy came from Iceland, a place that has never produced a decent ballplayer). This guy was the perfect candidate to have his name shortened to something like Pete Guo, pronounced Goo. Then it would’ve been cool, like back in the day when they got “Peja” out of “Predrag” (hearing the announcers on Kobe Bryant Courtside 2 say “Predrag” made the game for me. Epic video game moment.) Naturally, the king of draft day blunders, Portland, took him in the 1981 NBA Draft.