Wednesday, January 27, 2010
What's in an NBA Nick-Name? Part V, I-L
For those who liked Parts I, II, III, IV - - here is Part Five of the always
interesting, always memory stoking, always talking point relevant – NBA NICK-NAMES.
Case in point: Boston Celtics forward Glen "Big Baby" Davis is looking to change his image and he sees a first step in that direction - - changing/dropping his nickname. What follows are nick-names (and expressions) that have never changed
"I love Waltah" Tommy Heinsohn, Celtic broadcaster, started the unofficial Walter McCarty fan club, coining the catch phrase and creating a national fan club for the likable reserve Celtic forward who now is an assistant coach at Louisville.
"The Iceman" George Gervin was locked into this name for his cool and calm demeanor on the NBA court. One thing he could do was finger roll. The Iceman was the man in the ABA. He was so good that the Spurs stole him from the Virginia Squires through a harsh court battle.
“Indiana Pacers” When the Indiana franchise came into existence in 1967 in the American Basketball Association, the owners said they named the team Pacers because they intended to set the pace in professional basketball. There was also the matter of the famous Indianapolis 500 Raceway. And when Indiana joined the NBA in 1976, the name Pacers went along.
“Jellybean” Joe Bryant is the father of Kobe. He played eight seasons in the NBA for the Philadelphia 76ers and other teams. The elder Brant had a fondness for jelly beans.
“Jones boys" K.C. & Sam Jones were the great Celtic backcourt in the 60s. K.C. was “Mr. Defense,” while Sam was “Mr. Offense.”
“Kobe” LA star Kobe Bryant was named after a "Kobe" steak listed on the menu of a Japanese restaurant or as the story goes for a Japanese restaurant itself.
"Larry Legend" Boston Celtic superstar Larry Bird could do it all on the basketball floor and was most deserving of this nickname.
“Los Angeles Clippers” In 1971, the City of San Diego lost its NBA franchise when its team moved to Houston and became the Rockets. The franchise that was originally the Buffalo Braves, from 1970-1978, moved to San Diego. The owners weren't too thrilled with San Diego Braves as a name. So one of those name-the-team contests was staged, and the winning entry was, you guessed it, Clippers. That was because, once upon a time, lots of beautiful clipper ships passed through the great harbor of San Diego. In fact, the Star of India was still harbored in San Diego. In 1984. the franchise moved to Los Angeles from San Diego and the name Clippers came along.
“Los Angeles Lakers” The Minneapolis Lakers made the move to L.A. before the 1960 season and took with it its nickname that comes from the state of Minnesota's motto: "the land of 10,000 lakes".
(to be continued)
Harvey Frommer is his 34th consecutive year of writing sports books. The author of 40 of them including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM, an oral/narrative history (Abrams, Stewart, Tabori and Chang) was published in 2008 as well as a reprint version of his classic "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball."
Frommer's next work is an oral and narrative history of Fenway Park.
Frommer sports books are available direct from the author - discounted and autographed.
FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.