What is in a nickname? As of late most nicknames have just been a piece of the first and last name of a player (ex. A-Rod, D-Wade). Leaving us with boring nicknames and no creativity. A truly memorable nickname should be three things: It should be original, it should become synonymous with the athlete to the point that the nickname itself is iconic and it should reflect the personality, style or abilities of the player in a clever way. It should fit the athlete and fit the person to the point where you don’t even know the athlete’s real name.
25) Eric “Butterbean” Esch
“Butterbean” is a well knwon boxer, commonly known for his huge knockouts or his fight against Johnny Knoxville on Jackass. I mean how can’t you love a nickname that fits somebody so well.
24) Bryant “Big Country” Reeves
He was gigantic (7’0”, 275 pounds) and from the country. It should be self-explanatory. Reeves’ Oklahoma State teammate Byron Houston started calling Reeves “Big Country” after Reeves took his first-ever plane ride to New York. Luckily for Reeves the flying metal bird finally landed in New York, where he was able to go coon huntin’ in Central Park.
23) Jerome Bettis “The Bus”
This is a very fitting nickname for a great running back. Bettis was a big guy, who was quick but would run you over without a problem. In this video you can see why he was called “The Bus”, players trying to tackle him, and Bettis making it look like they are stepping in front of a bus.
22) William “The Refrigerator” Perry
Fits perfectly for this behemoth of a man. Perry, a defensive lineman turned running back for the Chicago Bears, was a touchdown machine in 1986. This is also a great nickname because people refer to him as “Refrigerator” Perry rather than his actual name, William Perry.
21) Robert Parish “The Chief”
20) Billy Butler “Country Breakfast”
Heard this one from Conner Patch, fantasy sports insider, a few days ago and fell in love with it. Fits Butler to a tee. A Country Breakfast is known for being big with many different items in it and Butler is a big human being. Talk about a clever, creative nickname that just fits.
19) Reggie Jackson “Mr. October”
Possibly one of the most famous names in baseball, Jackson truly was “Mr. October”. He is the one and only, and everyone knows who “Mr. October” is. He pretty much sealed the deal on this nickname when he blasted three home runs on three pitches in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series, leading the Yankess past the Dodgers.
18) Peyton Manning “The Sheriff”
Apparently this has been Peyton’s nickname for a long time. But, I first heard it when Jon Gruden was talking about him in his FFCA segments on ESPN. He is called “The Sheriff” because of Manning’s pre-snap routine. It is one of the most recognizable and parodied in sports. The Indianapolis Colts’ almost exclusive use of the hurry-up offense led to Manning using an array of gestures and verbal commands to call the play at the line of scrimmage rather than in the huddle.
17) George Gervin “Iceman”
There is only one “Iceman”. Every basketball fan knows who George Gervin is, and most just know him by “Iceman”. He was honestly one of the first people I thought of when I wanted to compile this list. With his trademark finger roll and his ability to finish both around the rim and with his jumper, Gervin was about as cool as they come.
16) Michael “Air” Jordan
Short, simple, and unique to him. All hail “His Airness.” He had a line of shoes named after this nickname (or was it the other way around?), which are probably the most famous brand of shoes ever. I’d say that’s pretty iconic. It works, though it actually undersells Jordan’s game. He was so much more than a high-flyer, but “Air” stuck. The way he levitated in the air and the amount of hang time he had truly is a testament to this name.