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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Nicknames: The good, the awful

Lets talk about nicknames.

No, Im not talking about Shawty, T-Dog or even Scooter. I’m talking about the greatest tags of them all: sports nicknames.

Sports nicknames are usually earned, rather than given. So many amazing names in the history of sports have been given to players with great talents and even greater accomplishments.

Kobe Bryant’s alter ego, “the Black Mamba,” “Hammerin” Hank Aaron, Jerome “The Bus” Bettis or even “Mean” Joe Green are some great examples.

And the king of them all, “The Babe.” “The Sultan of Swat.” “The King of Swing.” “The Great Bambino.” The Legendary Babe Ruth.

These are just some of the incredible nicknames in sports history. These names go beyond just a clever calling card; they are cemented alongside the players in the greatest moments and teams in history.

OK, so nicknames are cool. Whats the point here?

They are cool. Very cool. But only cool when the nicknames are good. My beef is with the growing amount of poor nicknames in the sporting world.

Names like New York Yankees player Travis Hafner, known in his better days as “Pronk”. Or Adam “Pacman” Jones.

A couple of athletes have gone a step further and taken up nicknames to replace their names given at birth. See Chad Ochocinco and Metta World Peace, formerly Ron Artest.

The buck doesn’t stop at bad individual nicknames. Teams have recently sprung up rather terrible nicknames. A minor league baseball team recently switched to the Akron Rubber Ducks.

And this year, the New Orleans Hornets of the NBA have become the New Orleans Pelicans. Really? The Pelicans? The only thing I would expect from something named after a pelican is to defecate on my car, much less win basketball games.

My point is this. Nicknames are awesome, when they aren’t awful. A nickname needs to both be justified by performance and make actual sense at the same time.

Here at Chico State, I think we have a pretty solid nickname. The Wildcats: a strong figure in the animal kingdom and a very serviceable name.

Just be careful when you start throwing names around with teammates. The last thing anyone wants is a bad nickname.

Nick Woodard can be reached at [email protected]

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