On Monday, I posted about the top five nicknames the NFL had to offer. As I mentioned in that post, I gravitated towards the NFL because I am a huge football fan. At the same time, I wanted to wait to get into the NBA. Why? Well the NBA has so many more nicknames: quality ones at that.
With NBA rosters sitting at 15 -compared to the NFL’s 53- there is more opportunity for fans and announcers to give Joe Shmo from Western Kentucky a creative tag.
A good example of this is Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex “The Bald Mamba” Caruso. Even though he only averaged 17 minutes a game in 2019-20 before the season was cut short, he got somewhat of a cult like following and a nickname that will stick with him for his career. It doesn’t hurt that he’s on one of the more marketable teams in the league, but you get my point.
Ladies and gentlemen the bald mamba!! Caruso pic.twitter.com/L7nWC4emNl
— Vivian (@Butterfly_424) February 22, 2020
With all that being said, it was a lot harder to narrow down a top five for the NBA compared to the NFL. There are so many great nicknames, but here are the best of the best:
Honorable Mentions: Kawhi “The Klaw” Leonard, Joel “The Process” Embiid, Nik “Sauce Castillo” Stauskas, Trae “Ice Trae” Young, Kyrie “Uncle Drew” Irving, Kristaps “The Unicorn” Porzingis, Stephen “Chef Curry” Curry, James “The Beard” Harden, LeBron “King James” James
5. Dāvis “The Latvian Laser” Bertrāns
You may not be super familiar with Dāvis Bertrāns of the Washington Wizards, but he is a knock down shooter: hence the nickname “Latvian Laser”.
Standing at 6’10”, the four-year pro from Latvia has averaged a 3-point shooting clip of 41%. And in 30 minutes a game for the Wizards this season, The Latvian Laser knocked down 42.4% of his shots beyond the arc. That warrants both a great nickname, and an opportunity to be in All-Star Weekend’s 3-point Contest.
This is how confident Bradley Beal is in Davis Bertans’ ability to shoot threes lmao pic.twitter.com/3szCW9O6ko
— Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS) March 11, 2020
4. Nikola “Big Honey” Jokic
A lot of people know Nikola Jokic as “The Joker”, but that’s only the case because the media tends to use it more than his better nickname “Big Honey”.
OMG Nikola Jokic’s nickname is Big Honey and he hates it so much 😂 (via @NBABlackburn) pic.twitter.com/gLyLqJfZQO
— Alexis Morgan (@alexismorgan) February 1, 2019
I’m sorry to Jokic that he doesn’t like the moniker, but it is straight up GOLD. I mean, he’s a seven-footer that’s moves are sweet enough for him to be a guard. I guess fans could just call him “Honey”, but the fact that Jokic’s height and weight are so staggering is what makes Big Honey so great.
3. Rudy “Stifle Tower” Gobert
I know Gobert quickly became public enemy number one after his actions surrounding coronavirus, but that doesn’t take away his awesome nickname.
The combination of 2-time Defensive Player of the Year being from France, as well as his ability to stifle anybody at the rim, set himself up for nickname success.
NOT ON RUDY GOBERT’S WATCH 😤
He sealed the win for the Jazz with this big block! pic.twitter.com/Ay4EotRxaR
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) December 27, 2019
2. Giannis “The Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo
This one is just so classic. Last year’s MVP has such a hard name to pronounce it was only a matter of time before he was referred to something other than his actual name: and “The Greek Freak” fits perfectly. Antetokounmpo’s play style and heritage makes the name fit like a glove, and not every nickname does that.
1. Kevin “The Slim Reaper” Durant
Kevin Durant does NOT like this nickname, but I don’t understand why. His skinny frame and killer instinct in scoring the basketball make it more than appropriate. But apparently “KD” is cooler to him then “The Slim Reaper” or even “The Durantula”.
Regardless, this is the coolest nickname in the league. If someone were to dub me The Slim Reaper I’d be ecstatic, sprinting for the rights to the name as soon as I could.
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-Jarrod Ribaudo (@Jribs53)