Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Funny Sport Nicknames

The 40-year-old virgin (A.C. Green)
Normally, losing your virginity at an early age is a badge of coolness for guys. While the fellas from American Pie made a pact to lose their virginity by prom night, NBA forward A.C. Green held out through high school, college and his entire professional basketball career.

It's not that he was incompetent of putting the biscuit in the basket, but like Andy Stitzer from The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Green preaches abstinence before marriage.

His Iron Man streak ended at the age of 38, when he finally got married and lost his cherry. He actually had a real Iron Man streak, too, never missing a game due to injury in 1,189 straight contests after November 19, 1986. So, you see, funny nicknames in sports can and do take precedence over athletic achievement.

Mr. May (Dave Winfield)
Dave Winfield had a tough act to follow when George Steinbrenner signed him to a record 10-year, $23 million contract with the New York Yankees to replace Reggie Jackson. Dave Winfield struggled in his first World Series, however, notching only one hit in 22 at-bats, which equaled a .045 batting average.

George Steinbrenner, always a harsh critic, said: "I got rid of Mr. October [Reggie Jackson] and got Mr. May."

There wasn't much success in the Bronx during Mr. May's stay and he was traded to the California Angels in 1990. Funny nicknames in sports don’t always last, and Mr. May shook the moniker when he helped the Toronto Blue Jays win the World Series in 1992.

Charmin' Armen Gilliam
Sometimes called Armen "The Hammer" Gilliam -- a play on the recognizable brand Arm & Hammer -- Gilliam was the opposite of tough and the derisive nickname not only suited him better, it was more precise.

Charmin' Armen Gilliam earned his nickname from one-time teammate Charles Barkley, who was one of the many that Gilliam was too soft on. We’re also sure that trash-talkin’ Barkley issued more funny nicknames in sports than anyone will ever know.

Soft was an equally accurate adjective as bust for the gentle forward-center; the former second-pick overall never made much of an impact on any of the six teams for which he played in 13 seasons.

Steve "The Puck Goes Inski" Buzinski
Funny nicknames in sports often tell us something about the person, and former NHL goaltender Steve Buzinski's title said it all.

Steve Buzinski played in only nine NHL games, but he allowed an average of 6.11 goals per game in that span. Funny nicknames don't get much worse for goaltenders; their one job is to stop the puck from going into the net and Buzinski's name clearly stated he was incapable of that.

The moniker was fairly simple, but it was also perfectly derisive and invoked a smile every time his name was brought up. Even his teammates had a snicker. A former coworker said, "He gave us almost enough laughs to alleviate the pain he caused us."

The Octopus (Antonio Alfonseca)
Some funny nicknames in sports take a shot at how an athlete performs, but the cheaper shots take aim at physical attributes.

Antonio Alfonseca wasn't one of Inigo Montoya's six-fingered suspects in A Princess Bride, but he could have been since he has six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. You'd think the public at large would have sympathy for a guy with a birth defect and spare him from the hell of funny nicknames, but that didn't stop the comparisons to eight-armed sea creatures. While Antonio Alfonseca is tabbed as The Octopus, having the additional finger doesn't help him pitch.

Mike "Suitcase" Sillinger
If there was ever a candidate for a no-trade clause, NHL veteran Mike Sillinger would be the guy. He has played for 12 different NHL teams, setting a league record, throughout his career. What’s even worse is that he has only made it through a full season with four of his former teams. The rest of the seasons he's been sent packing mid-year. Naturally, Suitcase Sillinger earned the nickname since his luggage has become a part of his hockey equipment.

He's valuable enough for a trade, but apparently not valuable enough to keep. The New York Islanders felt that he was a keeper and offered him a no-trade clause, but he rejected it reasoning that it wouldn't be fair to the team

Andre "Red Light" Racicot
To those who don't follow hockey too closely, Red Light Racicot's name might be somewhat misleading. The handle wasn’t meant to imply that he's a frequenter of red-light districts; it refers to the red light that comes on when a goaltender allows a goal. And that lamp was lit frequently when Andre Racicot was in net.

Racicot, the former Montreal Canadiens goalie, actually had passable stats for a backup, but he feasted on feeble opponents and was blitzed by the good teams.

The nickname was green-lighted after Don Cherry dug into Racicot publicly, and it has stuck with him since.

Out Of Service (Pervis Ellison)
Pervis Ellison was actually known as Never Nervous Pervis in college, as he lead Louisville to its second ever NCAA championship. And the Sacramento Kings thought they were drafting a franchise player when they selected him first overall in the 1989 draft. What the Kings ended up with, however, was one of the most brittle players in NBA history.

The bad omen started in his rookie season when he missed 48 of 82 games. He retired nine games into the 2000-'01 season and after playing in only 465 of a possible 820 games in the previous 10 seasons. Now you get why this moniker ranks so high on our list of funny nicknames in sports.

Dinner Bell Mel (Mel Turpin)
Karl Malone was known as The Mailman for always dialing up clutch performances and delivering consistently. The Mealman, Mel Turpin, was familiar with a different type of delivery, one that included dialing an easy-to-remember phone number beforehand.

Dinner Bell Mel was selected sixth overall in the 1984 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, but battled constant hunger and eventually ate his way out of an NBA career. He was literally a big bust.

It ate away at the Cavs for a while that they drafted Turpin instead of guys like John Stockton and Alvin Robertson.

The Hefty Lefty (Jared Lorenzen)
If Vince Young is the NFL's best scrambling quarterback, Jared Lorenzen is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Now a Super Bowl Champion, the Hefty Lefty pushes the scale to the 300-pound mark and definitely wasn't drafted for his ability to move around in the pocket.

J. Load has a laundry list of nicknames and has become quite the character because of his belly. Here are some other options for you to consider: Quarter(got)back, The Pillsbury Throwboy, Battleship Lorenzen, and the Round Mound of Touchdown. Jared Lorenzen has also been called Kentucky Fried Lorenzen, which references his college days as the Kentucky Wildcats quarterback.

No other athlete has so many funny nicknames.

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