The Best Sporting Nicknames

Sport Nicknames Cricket

It’s a bit of an Australian tradition to give someone a nickname – Bluey, Tiny, Curly etc. But many of our great sportsmen also get one, and are remembered and defined by it. What often seems like an insult is actually a compliment and honours their ability in a way like no other.

I have complied a list of some of the great nicknames, not in any particular order. Many of the AFL nicknames were bestowed by none other than Louie “The Lip“ Richards and they have help keep the memory of that great AFL legend, player and commentator. Some of the truly greats are defined just by the nickname alone – “The Don“.

I hope that you enjoy reading the list and please feel free to send us some others of your own.


“Lethal“ Leigh Matthews – Player of the Century
Travelling in the elevator with his players to attend the Victory celebration for the Brisbane Lions 3rd consecutive premiership, Justin Leppitsch said“ hey Coach what would you be without us players “to which Matthews replied,“ well I guess that I’d just be the player of the century“ – ouch

“ Lethal“ Leigh Matthews  –  Player of the Century

Nathan “Figjam“ Buckley – Fuck I’m good just ask me – trouble is that he was good, one of the best.

“SOS“ Stephen Silvangi – The AFL full back of the century, his father Serge was also a Carlton legend – so – Son of Serge.

George Herman Ruth – “Babe“ – also “The Sultan of Swat“ US baseball equivalent to Don Bradman.

“Babe“ Ruth  –  “The Sultan of Swat“

“Waltzing“ Matt Hilder – A Rugby Legend – one of the best ever nicknames – Waltzing Matt Hilder – get it?

“ Waltzing“ Matt Hilder

Jack Nicklaus – “The Golden Bear“ – refers to his Blonde hair and body shape – The greatest golfer of all time with 18 Majors titles.

Greg Norman – “The Great White Shark“ – often shortened to just “The Shark“.

“The Great White Shark” with “The Golden Bear“

Eldrick “Tiger“ Woods – Golf legend.

Pat Cummins – “Postman Pat“ – He always delivers.

“Thorpedo“ Ian Thorpe – absolute Champion.

Javid Mianadad – “Dave“ – as in Dad & Dave- Me & Dad.

Fitz Hall – “One Size“ – EPL player.

“Duncan Disorderly“ Duncan Ferguson – EPL player renowned for his partying ways – drunk and disorderly – clever.

“Magic“ – Earvin Johnson – now only ever called Magic.

“Wilt the Stilt“ – Wilton Chamberlain – 7’1” Basketball legend, probably the greatest athlete of all time.

Michael “Air“ Jordan – because of his incredible leaping ability, could dunk from behind the foul line, the greatest basketballer of all time. His nickname became a brand for NIKE.

Michael “Air“ Jordan – Dunking from behind the free throw line

Karl Malone – “The Mailman“ – like Pat Cummins, he always delivers.
This Utah Jazz great is a Hall of Famer.

Larry Bird – “The Hick from French Lick“ – he was born and bred in French Lick, Indiana – Blink and you would miss it – Boston Celtics legend.

“Pistol” Pete Maravich – the greatest Shooter and scorer in US College Basketball history – tragically died at 40 due to a heart defect.

Harry “Suitcase“ Simpson – Professional Baseball player of the 50’s – played for 6 different teams in 8 years, always on the move – love it.

Matthew Lloyd – “Harry High Pants“ and also“ The Velvet Sledgehammer“ – Essendon great.

Lewis Roberts Thompson “The Hyphenator“ – Sydney Swans great.

Tony “Plugger“ Lockett – may varied explanations, not sure which one is correct.

Roger “Wombat“ Rigney – much loved rover for the Golden Era of the Sturt Football Club – supposedly because when he came to visit, he ate, roots and leaves.

Michael Holding – “Whispering Death“ – great athlete & West Indian fast bowler.

Alan Border – “Captain Grumpy“.

Frank “Tyhpoon“ Tyson – Great English fast bowler of the 50’s.

Sachin Tendulkar – “The Little Master“ – say no more. This same moniker is now also applied to Gary Ablett Jnr.

Monty Panesar – “ Monty Python“ – English spin bowler.

Peter Fulton – “Two Metre Peter“ – 6’8” New Zealand cricketer.

Shoaib Akhtar – “Rawalpindi Express“ – controversial Pakistani fast bowler.

Sir Ian Botham – “Beefy“ – former English cricket captain and close friend of Ian Chappell – not.

Shane Warne – “The King of Spin“ – cricket legend.

Jack “Captain Blood“ Dyer – Richmond AFL legend of the 50’s – Doesn’t need much explanation.

Jack “Captain Blood“ Dyer

Mark “The Clown Prince“ Jackson – Once told by Hawthorn full back Kelvin Moore, you’ll never be a Full Forward so long as your arse points to the ground, so Jackson promptly did a handstand in the Goal Square.

Mark Jackson – “The Clown Prince“ – making sure his arse isn’t pointing to the ground

“The Jumbo Prince“ – the name was given to both South’s Peter Darley & Sturt’s Rick Davies – both wonderful players.

Michael “Flash“ Graham – lightning fast half forward flanker for Sturt.

Dustin “Inspector Gadget“ Fletcher – fantastic name for a fantastic 400 plus game Essendon legend.

Gavin “Rubber Man“ Wanganeen – won both a Magarey & Brownlow Medal plus premierships with both Essendon *& Port Adelaide.

Ted “Mr Football” Whitten – AFL legend.

Neil “King“ Kerley – also called “ Knuckles “ coached 3 clubs to SANFL titles.

Mick Nolan – “The Galloping Gasometer“ – Huge north Melbourne ruckman, who could also play.

Mick Nolan  – “The Galloping Gasometer“ , in his slimmer days

Ralph ‘Zip Zap“ Sewer – very skilful SA state player.

Peter “The Macedonian Marvel“ Daicos – Collingwood great who invented the dribble goal kick.

Kevin “Hungry“ Bartlett – Richmond 400 game plus legend, who famously never gave a handball (well sort of).

Paul Van Der Haar – “The Flying Dutchman“ Essondon star and premiership player.

Rene Kink – “The Incredible Hulk“ – Collingwood glamour boy of the 80’s.

David “Grave Danger“ Grainger – Port Adelaide strong man of the 80’s.

Bruce “The Flying Doormat“ Doull – Great Carlton centre half back of the 80’s with his unique long hairstyle.

Robbie “Mad Dog“ Muir – volatile St Kilda wingman of the 80’s.

Graham “Stiffy“ Johncock – great Adelaide crows player – do we need to say more?

Bernie “Superboot“ Quinlan – great player.

“Slammin“ Sam Kekovich – Great raconteur and Ambassador for Australian Lamb.

Peter “Crackers“ Keenan – say no more.

Lindsay “Fancy Pants“ Head – very stylish triple Magarey Medallist.

“Razor Ray“ Chamberlain – controversial AFL umpire.

Paul “Big Fish“ Salmon – Essendon great.

Mike “Swamp Fox“ Patterson – premiership player & coach.

Greg “Diesel“ Williams – Brownlow Medallist.

Mark “Junior“ Waugh – the second born, by minutes to twin brother Steve. Also known as “Afghan“.

Ricky “Punter“ Ponting – known to fancy a bet.

Brett “Bing“ Lee – after the Discount store Chain Bing Lee. Also known as “Oswald“.

Name Changes

And some that changed their name
Edson Arantes Do Nascimento – to Pele.
Cassius Clay – to Muhammad Ali.
Lew Alcindor – to Kareem Abdul jabbar.
Walter Smith Jnr – to Sugar Ray Robinson.
John Holmes – to JB Holmes – US Golfer due to porn star John Holmes.
Ronald Williams Attest jnr – to Metta World Peace – go figure.
Terry Gene Bollea – to Hulk Hogan.
Bruce Jenner – to Caitlin Jenner – the former Olympic and World decathlon champion also changed sex – still trying to work that one out.
Lawrence Peter Berra – to Yogi Berra.
Arthur Edward Beasley – to Scobie Beasley.
Manual Benitez Perez – to El Cordoba.
Leonard Stephen Durtanovich – to Len Pascoe.
James George Janos – to Jesse “The Body“ Ventura.

The Best Sporting Nicknames

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