We all have that one friend or family member who always seems to hold everything up.
Come on! Let’s Go!
Whether it’s leaving the office to go to lunch, or wrapping up what was supposed to be a quick shopping trip, that person inevitably elongates the process.
A few years back, I had a coworker who was notorious for making us late for everything, so we nicknamed him ‘The Human Speed Bump”. By nature, a speed bump’s primary objective is to slow you down, unwavering in it’s resolve to impede your progress.
“The Human Speed Bump” came up in a recent conversation and it got me thinking about some great athlete nicknames in the history of sports. Thing is, not all nicknames were flattering. For every “Human Highlight Reel” there is a “Mr. May“.
The Dirty Fuentes
Less a nickname for the player and more of a reference to his unnecessarily dramatic saves, Major League relief pitcher Brian Fuentes has enjoyed some degree of success as a big league closer. Currently pitching for the Oakland Athletics, Fuentes is now a setup man as his best days are likely behind him. Thing is, even the 36 year old’s best days were an adventure.
Noted for shaky appearances and a flair for the dramatic, Fuentes seemed to always take a circuitous route to the save. The hosts of the ESPN Fantasy Focus podcast coined “The Dirty Fuentes” as a reference to any Major League save in which the pitcher arrives at the intended destination, no matter how ugly the ride was.
Another nickname of note originating on the Fantasy Focus Pod: “Big Fat Bartolo Colon”.
The 40 Year Old Virgin
A.C. Green played in more consecutive games than any other player in NBA history and is a 3 time NBA Champion. Born in Portland, Oregon, he was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. You know what he wasn’t inducted into? The Doin’ It Hall of Fame.
Green is a very religious man and has been outspoken regarding the fact that he entered and retired from the NBA as a virgin. His AC Green Youth Foundation promotes abstinence until marriage. A man of his age and stature being a virgin might have flown under the radar a bit more if he wasn’t a semi-high profile player in a league known in the 80s for it’s widespread culture of casual sex between players and their “fans” across the country. It is said that opposing players used to send women to his hotel room in an attempt to disrespect his moral code and throw him off of his game.
Alex Rodriguez and the general public just can’t seem to connect. Be it the piercing eyes, the chiseled body, the quarter of a billion dollar contract, or the Super Bowl popcorn situation, people are just uncomfortable with A-Rod. He’s been called “The Cooler” in reference to teams going cold shortly after he joins them, but we learned of the nickname “A-Fraud” when former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre’s 2009 book The Yankee Years came out.
According to the book the name was used by teammates and used in front of A-Rod. The nickname has since morphed into “A-Roid” since he’s been surrounded by steroid allegations and perceptions of his involvement with banned substances.
The Human Rain Delay
Defined by Urban Dictionary as a “jackass who believes his time is more important than yours”, this nickname has actually been attached to more than one Major League baseball player over the course of history.
The most notable is manager Mike Hargrove, who in his playing days had an insanely long routine at the plate and between every pitch. These machinations were often commented upon by announcers and his nickname was well known in the sport. Hargrove’s lengthy plate appearances often made it feel like play had come to a complete stop.
PGA golfer Phil Mickelson has a lot in common with A-Rod. Be it the affluent upbringing, the trophy wife, the forced smile or the “I’m looking through you, not at you” eyes, many golf fans have never warmed up to Mickelson. While he certainly has legions of adoring fans, Phil seems to be to the PGA as LeBron is to the NBA and Sidney Crosby is to the NHL. Die-hard fans of the sport either love him or hate him.
So what do you get for the man who seemingly has it all? A horrifically offensive and right-to-the-jugular nickname. Phil is by no means out of shape, but placed next to a chiseled specimen such as Tiger Woods (which has been Mickelson’s position for much of his career in the eyes of the casual golf fan) he looks a little doughy. Again, no slight on his physical fitness, but we have to have something on the guy.
On a recent episode of our podcast, Googs made reference to Phil’s “secret” nickname amongst many of his PGA peers: FIGJAM (which stands for Fuck I’m Good, Just Ask Me). Pretty much says it all.
The Human Victory Cigar
Darko Milicic was drafted #2 overall in the 2003 NBA Draft. Who went #1? LeBron James. Hey, no worries – surely if Detroit was selecting #1 overall they would have taken James as well, so whiffing on Darko at #2 is no big deal, right?
That would be the case if Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh weren’t selected after Milicic.
Perhaps it was Darko’s position amongst 4 players who would go on to be perennial All-Stars and faces of the game, or maybe it was just that he really sucked – regardless, Darko never caught on in Detroit and was vilified as a waste of a draft pick and millions of dollars. Relegated to the end of the bench, the only playing time Darko saw was when his team had already basically won and was just salting away the final moments of the game.
If you saw Darko on the floor, the game was already won, hence the “Human Victory Cigar” and in my opinion the best derogatory sports nickname of all-time.
Brian Scalabrine – “The White Mamba”
Stan Van Gundy – “The Master of Panic”
Former Eastern Illinois linebacker Lucious Pusey. Oh wait, that’s his real name? Yikes.
Howie Decker is the co-creator and editor of UnderScoopFIRE.com. He likes fantasy baseball & taco night. His family & friends’ support for & contributions to his personal blog The Upper Deck were his inspiration to assemble this site. You can read his “Letter from the Editor” here.