15) “Pistol” Pete Maravich
If you are talking basketball, you should know who the “Pistol” is. I don’t think I have ever heard someone just say Pete Maravich, the “Pistol” is always thrown in front of it. It is as iconic as they come and I think Sports Illustrated does a pretty bang-up job of summarizing the nickname:
“As with many things about Maravich, it’s hard to know where the truth about his nickname ends and its legend begins. It was either given to him at age 12 by a reporter or when he was in college at LSU. It was either because of his shooting motion (from the hip, like unholstering a pistol) or because of his dead-eye accuracy. But, like all good legends, it makes no difference, as Maravich will always be the supreme talent and showman known simply as the Pistol.”
14) “The Mailman” Karl Malone
The only good “mail-delivery” nickname of all time. Malone was a stud when he played for the Jazz. Malone was one of the greatest power forwards of all time, and his nickname followed suit. He generally delivered, having scored the second-most points in NBA history with 36,298 points in his career. Then again, if we are talking about championships, the nickname may not be so apt. He ran into a guy named Jordan quite a few times and we all know how that ended up.
13) Deion Sanders “Prime Time”
One of the most known nicknames in sports. Deion epitomized “Prime Time”. It was the way he played football and the way he lived his life. Even as a studio analyst today, he is often referred to as “Prime Time” or simply “Prime.” It stuck. Deion Sanders was two things—flashy and talented. He was cocky as hell, but he almost always backed it up on the field during his Hall of Fame career. He never let anyone down when he would make crazy remarks. He stood by his word and was always truly “Prime Time”.
12) Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway
Hardaway’s grandmother called him pretty, because she thought he was very handsome. However, she had such a thick Southern drawl that his friends thought she was saying “Penny.” The rest is history. Not once have I ever heard someone call or refer to him as Anfernee. It was always Penny. One of those nicknames that people get during their childhood and it sticks.
11) Julius “Dr. J” Erving
Arguably the most iconic nickname in basketball history, “Dr. J” will always be known. There have been “docs” throughout history, so this one isn’t the most original. Still, as many “docs” as there are out there, there is only one doctor. He gets a lot of credit for this nickname because no one refers to him as Julius Erving, it’s “Dr. J”.