Nicknamed Basketball Association

My Favorite NBA Nicknames


Photo by Natalya Shelton

One of the best parts about the NBA is the nicknames that are given to its players by the fans. Some are less complimentary than others than others, but all of them are both original and humorous. – Made in Canva

The amount of sheer creativity that NBA fans put into coming up with nicknames for the athletes almost always results in some pretty amusing aliases for the players that fans have no trouble exploiting. Whether the label is perfectly flattering or utterly embarrassing, NBA nicknames take originality to a whole new, devishly hilarious, level. So, here are seven of my favorite NBA nicknames.

7) Lebron James – King James
I am going to kick things off by immediately contradicting myself because I could not resist mentioning how much I hate this nickname. What exactly is Lebron James the king of? Not basketball, that’s for sure. Michael Jordan already holds that title and always will. Don’t get me wrong, Lebron is one of the best basketball players to ever exist. My issue is that he is not the best and therefore does not deserve this nickname.

6) Charles Barkley – Round Mound of Rebound
Calling someone a round mound of rebound is not exactly a compliment, but not exactly an insult either which is what makes this nickname so awkwardly funny. Charles Barkley is known for his impeccable rebounding abilities, but he is also notorious for being overweight and eating unhealthy foods throughout his entire career. This nickname takes both of those aspects and wraps it into a comical nickname making it one of my favorites.

5) Kyrie Irving – Uncle Drew
Any casual fan has probably seen the movie “Uncle Drew,” starring a plethora of basketball stars including Kyrie Irving as Uncle Drew. In the movie, Uncle Drew is an elderly hooper who teams up with some other players from his past to participate in the legendary Rucker Classic. NBA fans wasted no time carrying Irving’s on screen personality into the real world and the highlight of Celtics’ games at the time was the crowd yelling, “Uncle Dreeewwwww,” just like the announcer in the movie did.

4) Kevin Durant – Slim Reaper
This nickname is on the verge of being too out-of-pocket to be a compliment which is exactly why it is one of my favorites. Kevin Durant’s physique has been the butt of countless jokes over the course of his career, so it is no suprise that someone took it upon themselves to come up with a nickname that perfectly emcompasses the insane skill that accompanies Kevin Durant’s slender frame. Initially, Kevin Durant was not happy with this nickname, but in early 2021 he admitted that it had grown on him, so this one gets bonus points for that.

3) Paul George – Pandemic P
This nickname is less of a moniker for an individual skill than it is for a specific period in Paul George’s career, and let me tell you, the era of Pandemic P is legendary for all the wrong reasons. Toward the end of the 2019-2020 season, the NBA moved into a “bubble” in Orlando, Florida in an effort to save their season from the effects of COVID. Watching Paul George during this 3-month span was like watching a baby deer take its first steps. His stats do not reflect how terrible he looked because he still averaged over 20 points and 6 rebounds per game at the time. Unfortunately for him, there is such a thing as the eye test and Paul George did not come anywhere close to passing it, which makes this nickname that much more hilarious.

2) Russell Westbrook – Russell Westbrick
While Kevin Durant’s nickname toed the line of being a bit too insulting to be taken as a compliment, this one is just downright disrespectful, and I love everything about it. During the 2021-2022 NBA season Russell Westbrook decided to pull a Pandemic P and forget how to play basketball. Laker fans actually had the audacity to yell at Russell Westbrook, a nine-time NBA all-star, not to shoot the ball whenever it was passed to him because of how bad he shot that season. That, combined with the fact that somebody was bold enough to give Westbrook this nickname, definitely puts it near the top of my list.

1) Stephen Curry – Baby-Faced Assasin
Last but not least, we have my favorite NBA nickname of all time. Curry is known for his lethal 3-point shot that his opponents have yet to find an answer for. When he first came into the league, Steph Curry only had the beginning wisps of a beard, and you can bet that the rest of the NBA didn’t take too kindly to getting absolutely eviscerated on a nightly basis by someone with no facial hair. Nevertheless, NBA fans ended up getting a pretty fun, yet all encompassing, nickname based on the fact that Curry could destroy a bunch of professional athletes nearly a foot taller than him while still looking like a teenager.

Ultimately, only certain players are lucky – or unlucky – enough to be given a nickname, and while some are definitely more embarrassing than others, all of them bring a comically creative aspect to the NBA that definitely makes its fans one of a kind.