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Funniest Basketball Nicknames

Publish Date: 25.04.2024
Fact checked by: Jackson T. Pierce

In professional sports, names have a lot of power. What someone gets called on the court by their teammates, in the locker room, or in the media holds a lot of weight and can impact how they get perceived. That goes double for nicknames.

Nicknames are incredibly important for NBA players because, unlike a regular name, they have to be earned. Almost every player got their nickname by doing something special in the league, or standing out in a way that puts them above their peers.

However, nicknames aren’t always serious. Every now and then a nickname comes along that’s more humorous than it is serious. There are quite a few examples of that throughout NBA history, and this list takes a look at them below.

 

1. Jimmy Butler (Jimmy Buckets)

The current NBA has a slew of scorers, but very few can claim to have a nickname directly connected to their ability to get the ball in the basket. That is, besides Jimmy Butler. Bucket is one of the funniest ways to describe a made shot, and it fits his goofy personality perfectly.

The Heat guard is a lights out shooter, and he exploded onto the scene in the mid 2010’s due to his ability to drive hard into the paint and hit long shots outside. That, combined with the fact that very few people knew his name, made his nickname accurate and ironic at the same time.

The bluntness of the term, mixed with Butler’s popularity with fans across the league, made Buckets one of the most funny basketball nicknames around.

2. Doug McDermott (Dougie McBuckets)

Most of the time, NBA players get their nickname from what they do in the league. That wasn’t the case with Doug McDermott. The sharpshooter earned his hilarious nickname early on by being a goofy lights out shooter who could hit from anywhere on the court.

As he moved into the NBA, the large guard adapted his game to the big leagues and found other ways to score at a high level. As with Jimmy Butler, he’s lived up to the funny title and continues to score buckets to this day.

3. Jason Williams (White Chocolate)

Jason Williams may not have the legacy as some other point guards, but he made his way into the hearts of fans everywhere due to his nickname White Chocolate. The guard received the title because he had a flashy style and passing ability typically associated with streetball.

That, combined with the fact that he was noticeably white, gave him the nickname as soon as he came into the league. He was one of the most entertaining players to ever step on the court, especially because he leaned into the nickname and tried to put on a show as much as he could.

4. Darryl Dawkins (Chocolate Thunder)

Darryl Dawkins did not have a particularly long or successful NBA career, but that didn’t stop him from getting one of the funniest nicknames of all time. The big man, despite not playing too long in the league, earned his reputation by breaking backboards.

The center was so large and so strong that Stevie Wonder, who used to attend games with his friends, gave him the nickname Chocolate Thunder due to the way Dawkins slammed down on the rim. It’s a funny nickname that conveys the power Dawkins had when he went for a jam.

5. Leandro Barbosa (The Brazilian Blur)

Sometimes the most funny NBA nicknames are humorous because of their context, and sometimes they’re hilarious due to their lack of creativity. That’s the case with Leandro Barbosa’s title The Brazilian Blur.

The guard was one of the fastest players in the league when he played. So much so that he stood out to anyone watching him run. He also happens to be from Brazil. There isn’t much to the name, but that’s what makes it so funny.

6. Kyle Anderson (Slo Mo)

NBA players are some of the strongest and most complete athletes in the world. Even so, they are not immune to ironic nicknames. Such is the case with Kyle Anderson who, despite his incredible talent, is known as Slo Mo due to appearing slow when he makes moves or shoots.

The guard moves in a plodding, almost methodical way. He doesn’t beat defenders with speed, nor does he try to get off quick shots. He’s an effective player, and undoubtedly talented, but he’s never going to leave someone in the dust.

7. Tim Duncan (The Big Fundamental)

Tim Duncan is one of the best players of all time. The five time NBA Champion and a first ballot hall of famer has more all star games, MVPs, and All NBA First Teams than just about anyone in history.

Despite that, he wasn’t the most exciting athlete to watch. Duncan largely got by on basic moves and slow, methodical play. That’s why many called him the Big Fundamental. He earned the funny nickname by going back to the basics and never being too outspoken or flashy.

8. Vinnie Johnson (The Microwave)

Vinnie Johson had, by all metrics, a pretty average NBA career. However, his play on the Bad Boy Pistons and ability to score extremely quickly in short bursts earned him the appropriate nickname of The Microwave.

Johnson didn’t start, but he came off the bench and, like the kitchen appliance, heated up extremely quickly. He didn’t always put up big statistics, but when he got hot no one could match his play. Few players have ever gone from zero to sixty like he did.

9. Dennis Rodman (The Worm)

Dennis Rodman is quite the character, so him having a funny nickname is only fitting. The power forward asserted himself on the court, never backing down from a challenge and grabbing rebound after rebound with ease.

That ability to wriggle into the proper rebound position earned him the ability of “The Worm.” It’s a funny nickname, but one that’s quite accurate. The forward wasn’t just a good rebounder, he was arguably the best of all time.

10. Charles Barkley (The Round Mound of Rebound)

There have been many funny nicknames bestowed upon players throughout NBA history, but none are more memorable than Charles Barkley. The wisecracking center has always been stocky, which fans noticed as soon as he entered the league.

That wide frame, combined with his strong stature and incredible rebounding ability gave him the Round Mound of Rebound. It stuck with him for his entire career, even when he leaned down. That just made it even funnier.

Conclusion

Nicknames are a great part of basketball, and some of the most funny basketball slang terms. They create a connection between players, the media, and fans, which helps create new personalities that can further endear athletes to both their own and rival fanbases.

While most big players earn a nickname at some point, the labels are only growing due to the rise of social media and NBA’s increased popularity. The more fans watching games and interacting with their favorite athletes, the more chances are they will earn a nickname at some point.

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