Johnny Manziel – Johnny Football/Money Manziel
Darrelle Revis – Revis Island
Ben Roethlisberger – Big Ben
BenJarvus Green-Ellis – The Law Firm
Adrian Peterson – All Day
Darren McFadden – Run-DMC
Matt Ryan – Matty Ice
Calvin Johnson – Megatron
Tyrann Mathieu – Honey Badger
It all starts with the Law Firm. That’s one of the greatest nicknames in sports history. Green-Ellis has quietly developed into a solid running back over the last four years, scoring 37 rushing touchdowns during that time. If he had a little more burst in his game, this nickname would take off.
Revis Island is another standout, and while Revis isn’t the best cover corner in the game anymore, the mystique of the “island” still holds weight.
One thing that must be pointed out is football has so many talented big-name performers — mostly quarterbacks — that don’t have or even need nicknames. Brady. Brees. Rodgers. Manning. These cats don’t have nicknames. Out of all the top signal callers, Matty Ice is the only standout.
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Homer Bailey – Batman
Yoenis Cespedes – The Cuban Missile
David Ortiz – Big Papi
Tim Lincecum – The Freak
Billy Butler – Country Breakfast
Pablo Sandoval – Kung Fu Panda
Jose Bautista – Joey Bats
Baseball has a long history of spectacular nicknames. From Hammerin’ Hank Aaron to Mr. October to even the Wild Thing in Major League, America’s pastime grew up on nicknames. In today’s game, some of the best players don’t have the memorable aliases anymore. However, the rest of the league makes up for it with new classics like Country Breakfast, Joey Bats, and Kung Fu Panda.
Ortiz’s Big Papi sparked a revolution in Boston a decade ago, and in part because of that nickname, the Red Sox slugger has the keys to the city for the rest of his life. It’s endeared him to the fans.
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Kobe Bryant might not play by the same rules as everybody else, but tradition says you earn your nickname through your performance. Yeah, sometimes, the best ones come from something completely different — you could be like BenJarvus Green-Ellis and have a really cool name — but for the most part, an alter ego comes after you’ve proven yourself. If he didn’t have any talent, Slim Shady would’ve amounted to some gimmick, a flavor of the month. Instead, the name still resonates 15 years after first landing on the scene.
Today, with it being Magic Johnson‘s 55th birthday, we’re counting down the best current nicknames in football, baseball, and basketball.
Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney