Jazz Player Nicknames: Past and Present

September 17th, 2013 | by Laura Thompson

There’s nothing like a good nickname, right? A good nickname can convey a lot with very little. Or, if you’re me, the nickname can be very long and slowly gets shortened over the years for brevity: “Little One of Many Moons and Many Cuts and Bruises” was given to me, affectionately, after I beat my older sister in pool. She was not happy about it. Over the years the nickname was shortened to “Little One” since I’m pint-sized.

But think about some of the classic basketball nicknames: Air Jordan. Magic. Dr. J. King James. Muggsy. Black Mamba. They convey so much with so little, as the best nicknames should.

What are the top nicknames both former Jazz men and current Jazz men? Let’s start with former players first.

The Mailman.

The best Jazzman nickname, in my opinion. “Neither rain, nor sleet, nor holding, the Mailman always delivers.” The perfect nickname for an incredibly consistent player. You knew you were getting 25-10 with Malone every night.

Mailman Always Delivers

(I got this t-shirt when I was 10 at Karl Malone’s basketball camp. He gave out some prizes to kids with good moves. I had a pretty good reverse layup at the time, so he picked me out and gave this to me. No way I’m ever tossing this.)

AK47.

With the initials A-K, a jersey #47, and a belief that he was a sharpshooter, AK-47 was born. Hey, he even had some fun with the nickname in a press conference for CSKA Moscow. Can you imagine if an NBA player brought a rifle to a press conference in the U.S.? Yikes!

AK47

Horny.

Wikipedia says this one started because Jerry Sloan and Hot Rod Hundley affectionately called Jeff Hornacek “Horny.” Saving a syllable is always ideal, especially if you’re announcing the game and need to get to another name or an action quickly.

hornacek

Big Dog. Or is it Big Dawg?

A great backup PF, at 6’9’’ and 225, Big Dog was the perfect complementary piece for the Finals runs. He played angry, he was tough; in short, the nickname fit him perfectly.

Big Dawg

Thinking over other Jazzmen nicknames, I think it’s an utter travesty that we didn’t come up with something better for Stockton. “Stock” was about as close to a nickname as we got, right? Or “The Stamp” because of the “Mailman.” But, gratefully, that never stuck. The Stamp? Seriously?

So, what about our current players? Going through the some of their nicknames in my head, I feel like we’ve become far too boring in our nickname creativity. What’s happened to nicknames in the last decade?  I blame Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, because Bennifer is the worst and most unoriginal nickname ever, but it was everywhere and it infected our nickname abilities. We have, unfortunately, mostly themes on names and initials.

  • G-Hay. G-Man. G-Time. Soup. (from KOC’s “best thing since canned soup” comment)
  • DFavs.
  • Big Turkey. (Hey, at least we’re getting a little more creative here) The Up-and-Under-Kanter.
  • The Stifle Tower. (courtesy Jody Genessy.) I really like this nickname.
  • Human Pogo Stick.

Surely we can do better. C’mon, Jazz fans, what do you have? And what about Trey Burke? Alec Burks? The three Warriors-players-turned-Jazzmen? John Lucas III?

Bring on the nickname ideas.

Laura Thompson

Laura Thompson

I grew up in California, but have been a Jazz fan pretty much since I was in diapers; I went to Karl Malone's basketball camp when I was 11 and I flew up to Utah in 1997 to go to Game 3 of the Finals. After graduating from BYU in 2008, I moved back to California to work in Marketing and have been doing that for the last five years. My favorite things in life are the Utah Jazz, basketball, food (whether cooking or consumption of), reading, church, black Labs, and the beach (though hopefully not in that order).
Laura Thompson

16 Comments

  1. Bill says:

    The other one that I’ve heard for Kanter is “Enes the Menace”….but another one I thought up for Kanter was “The Turkinator”, he could easily solidify this name just a few times by saying “I’ll be block” in his thick accent. Personally I like both of these better than “Big Turkey” or “UnderKanter”

  2. Colby says:

    “Trey” actually is a nickname given to him by his parents because his legal name is Alfonso Burke III “Trey” meaning of course he’s the third of his name.
    I’ve heard “Favor-Fav” used for Favors(derived from the rapper Flavor-Flav)
    Some of us on twitter have given Hayward the nickname “The Vanilla Cobra”(opposite Kobe Bryants “The Black Mamba”) which started the game his rookie season when he had a great game against Kobe in a win in LA.
    Brandon Rush we could use “Rush Hour”
    Rudy Gobert “The Eiffel Tower”(he’s tall and French, obvious)
    John Lucas III I will simply be calling “That guy who isn’t Jamaal Tinsley”
    I liked “MoLo” for Mo Williams started by Moni due to his wreckless hero ball.
    Alec Burks will forever be known as “Eric Burg, Alex Burk,Alexis Borg,etc.”

    • Laura Thompson says:

      Ha! Good call on the John Lucas III nickname. Nice.

      MoLo is also good.

      I think I liked Jody Genessey’s Stifle Tower as a play on the theme you’re describing, plus with the added benefit of the blocks/wingspan bit.

      Alexis Borg just reminds me of Ms. Chanadler Bong.

  3. Jeremy says:

    I like “All In Favors”. Commissioner Gordon sounded good too.

  4. Casey Greer says:

    Remember how we got AK-47 before the onslaught of terrible initial/number nicknames? And AK47 actually has a dual meaning! Was it hot rod who first started using it? That’s where I first remember hearing it.

    Alex Borks is Burks nickname. I love G time. LOVE IT. It’s so fun saying “IT’S G TIME” when Gordon starts to take over a game. So fun.

    Under Kanter is perfect considering his love for wrestling.

    The main thing w/ nicknames is that it shouldn’t be forced (looking at you black effing mamba). We are already calling Favors Favs, lets just leave it at that.

    • Laura Thompson says:

      AK-47 is one of the great nicknames, imo. I have to admit, though, that I like CP3 as a nickname, too. For some reason is works there.

      I may be in the minority, but I like Black Mamba as a nickname.

  5. J says:

    Always thought “Elevator Evans” would be better than “Human Pogo Stick.” And I cal Derek “Special Favors.”

  6. anthony says:

    you forgot Al the black hole

  7. Josh says:

    Laura-

    So I wrote an article on this last month (http://purpleandblues.com/2013/08/05/utah-jazz-nicknames/) but I have to say yours is probably better. I do have some good nicknames for the current players on there that I thought were good.

    • Laura Thompson says:

      Josh, cool! Thanks for the link. Yours is a much more comprehensive list. That’s why I’m digging these comments–so many names I hadn’t heard of or considered. Thanks!

  8. Matt says:

    I remember hearing “boy wonder” for Hayward

  9. duvey42 says:

    I like Mont Bloc for Gobert.

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