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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Where Have All the Good Nicknames Gone?

    His Airness. Magic. The Sultan of Swat. The Great One. Mr. October. Sweetness. Whether you follow sports religiously or as a casual fan, most if not all of these nicknames will resonate with you in some way. Sports nicknames have their place in history and have become synonymous with the figures they refer to.

    But what has happened to this aspect of sports, this linguistic dance pairing sports star with snazzy moniker in a blessed union once and forever? To clarify I don’t mean players that are still around from the 80’s and early 90’s. Not ‘Big Hurt’ Frank Thomas and not ‘The Rocket’ Roger Clemens. I mean recent stars like Tom Brady, Derek Jeter, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Steve Nash who all deserve a world class nickname. Why aren’t writers working around the clock on this? Right after Jeter finished up the millennium with his fourth ring in 4 years someone somewhere needed to be on a payroll for this.

    I believe there is actually a valid reason for The Nickname Quandary. For the most part nicknames are given to athletes by others. Friends, announcers, writers, and teammates are a pretty solid base to consider. Friends and teammates strike me as a wildcard but announcers and writers can be looked at. Back in the day writers were more buddy-buddy with athletes. They traveled together and often would eat together. Journalists were more likely to write a fluff piece, speaking in glowing terms about an athlete. Increased fawning over an athlete would lead to nicknames that are just as positive and deferential.

    Announcers were a prime source of quality nicknames. They were known to prepare nicknames and then throw them out during the broadcast. Imagine the bravado involved here! Where has that gall gone? Deciding that you were an important enough mouth piece to change what an athlete is known as in the public consciousness. We need this to become an accepted and official part of modern sports. I nominate Marv Albert, because of his experience and history as a great announcer, to be the official NBA Nickname Bestower. I want to tune in to a game and hear “Carmelo backs him down, he’s double teamed, oh and he dunks on both of them! The Muffin Man just baked up a batch right in there faces!” Like you wouldn’t watch this? It is my opinion that this would increase viewership around ten-fold.

    All is not lost in the modern nickname stratosphere however. There are a couple winners around. Dwyane Wade is ‘Flash’, Lebron is ‘King James’, Sidney Crosby is ‘Sid the Kid’, and Shawne Merriman is ‘Lights Out’. But we could do so much more. I call upon you, our loyal readership to gather your quills and parchment and help out. I’ll start off.

    LaDainian Tomlinson will henceforth be known as ‘The Specimen’. Announcers should also only refer to Derek Jeter as ‘The Captain’. Wikipedia had him down as ‘Captain Clutch’. What is that? A cereal? A superhero? The lesson as always kids: don’t listen to Wikipedia. ‘The Captain’ should probably be mandated by the commissioner’s office to be safe. Baseball should stop wasting time with steroid investigative reports after the fact when we know most athletes were under pressure to cheat to stay on an even playing field and focus on something important. But I’ve digressed. We could take this nickname thing far. Reggie Bush should be ‘elected’ ‘The President’. And while we’re on a roll, let’s make sure that this player’s career gets off on the right foot. Kevin Durant should be called ‘The Pick-up Artist’ because he’s a complete player?

    On second thought maybe this nickname thing isn’t as easy as I thought.

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