It’s the dog days of summer, and there’s not a lot going on in the NBA. So I decided to take a deep dive through Basketball Reference and find the worst nicknames I could find for former and current Dallas Mavericks players.
Some of them I’ve never heard before. Others I’ve hated for years. Either way, I drew them only from their Basketball Reference profiles, and tried to find the stories behind a few. If I left out one you hate in particular, leave it in the comments below.
Jae Crowder (The Beast)
Never once while watching Crowder play have I ever thought he played “beastly.” He’s a gritty defender who seems to always be on a team making a deep playoff run, but I’ve never been concerned for other players on the court when Crowder’s out there. I think Gritty would be a better choice here.
Monta Ellis (Robin)
Look, I don’t know the origin behind this nickname and I’m not going to look it up. But no one should ever have the nickname Robin. That’s terrible. Bball Reference also lists Mississippi Bullet, which is so much cooler.
Luka Doncic (Swaggy L, Too Easy, The Matador)
I reject all three of these nicknames. Swaggy L makes me ill, and Too Easy is too terrible. The Matador or El Matador doesn’t fit, either, though it’s better than the other two. But Doncic doesn’t really go one-on-one with other players, or play elusively like you would picture a matador doing in the arena. Doncic, despite the fact that he’s only 22, has already reached a status in the NBA where no nickname is needed beyond his name. He’s simply Luka.
DeShawn Stevenson (Papa Smurf)
I did actually research this one and couldn’t find out why Stevenson has been called Papa Smurf. So if you know, drop it in the comments below. I’d love to know how this one came about, because it’s a really weird one, and consider it bad until proven otherwise.
Jason Kidd (The Engine)
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha noooooooo. This is terrible. Of course I guess it’s better than the derogatory nickname he earned early in his career when he couldn’t shoot—Ason Kidd. Because he had no J. Get it? Anyway, Kidd’s best nickname is J-Kidd and all others should be shunned.
Antoine Walker (Cyber Toine)
A nickname as bad as Walker’s financial decisions.
Michael Finley (Fin Dawg)
One of the Mavericks’ most venerated players deserves better than this. And Bball Reference doesn’t list any other nicknames for Finley. Please, come up with a better nickname for the Mavericks’ current VP of basketball operations. Drop your suggestions in the comments.
Steve Nash (MVSteve, Two Time, Nashty)
I appreciate the MVSteve attempt, even though it’s awkward. Two Time is too vague. Nashty is just plain corny. Winning two consecutive MVP awards means you’re good enough to just go by one name, like all of the greats. He’s just Nash. Everyone will know who you’re talking about. He was named dropped in a Nelly Furtado song, after all.
Popeye Jones (Ron)
Okay, technically Popeye is his nickname, but Bball Reference has it as Ron and that just killed me. But this is the goal, to have your nickname become so ubiquitous that your real name becomes your nickname. Shout out to you, Ron.
Jamal Mashburn (Monster Mash)
Monster Mash is a novelty song by Bobby “Boris” Pickett released in 1962. It’s only redeeming quality is that you only hear it for like one week in October. So giving it to Mashburn as a nickname is obviously terrible. Mash is good enough. But bonus points, I guess, for not going with Mashed Potatoes.
Randy White (Mailman II)
White was a big power forward from Louisiana Tech, so the Karl Malone comparisons were inevitable. But surely people could’ve done better than Mailman II. Bball Reference also has Karl Junior and Karl McClone listed as well. It’s just lazy, and I’m certain these nicknames are the reason why White only lasted five seasons in the NBA.
Kurt Thomas (Crazy Eyes)
Not only is this one bad, it’s kind of mean. Thomas can’t help what his eyes look like. I prefer the nickname he picked up with the New York Knicks—Midlife. It at least speaks to his longevity in the league.
Dirk Nowitzki (Dirty, German Race Car)
First of all, I’ve never heard anyone refer to Nowitzki as the German Race Car. Secondly, it doesn’t fit him at all. Not once have I ever watched Nowitzki play and thought “Wow, he’s speeding around the court like a race car!”
And I’ve never liked Dirty. It’s fine, but borders on corny. Like Nash and Luka, Nowitzki is in the pantheon of NBA players who don’t really need a nickname. He’s just Dirk.