In his second game playing under his self-proclaimed new nickname -- WOW (World of Wade) -- Dwyane Wade scored a season-high 39 points as the Miami Heat won 141-129 in double overtime over Sacramento. Wade also tied a career best with 19 field goals under the new moniker, which teammate LeBron James says is corny. Whether WOW will become as popular as these other NBA nicknames -- and we have our doubts -- only time will tell.
2 of 38John D. Hanlon/SI
West owns nearly as many nicknames as career accolades. He is "Zeke from Cabin Creek" for his small-town West Virginia roots, "The Logo" for being the silhouette sandwiched between red and blue on the NBA's emblem, "Mr. Outside" to teammate Elgin Baylor's "Mr. Inside" and most importantly "Mr. Clutch" for his countless late-game heroics.
3 of 38James Drake/SI
Earl "The Pearl" Monroe
While those in the New York City playgrounds still refer to Monroe as "Black Jesus," the Knicks legend is best known as "Earl The Pearl." Whatever your preference, there is no arguing that Monroe was one of the most exciting players of his day and remains a fan favorite in New York for helping lead the Knicks to their last championship (1973).
4 of 38Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
"Pistol" Pete Maravich
As with many things about Maravich, it's hard to know how where the truth about his nickname ends and its legend begins. It was either given to him at age 12 by a reporter or when he was in college at LSU. It was either because of his shooting motion (from the hip, like unholstering a pistol) or because of his dead-eye accuracy. But, like all good legends, it makes no difference, as Maravich will always be the supreme talent and showman known simply as Pistol.
5 of 38Manny Millan/SI
One of the smoothest players in NBA history, Iceman earned his nickname for his cool demeanor on the court, which helped earn him 12 All-Star selections and a spot on the NBA's 50th Anniversary all-time team.
6 of 38Manny Millan/SI
Though he never earned his doctorate, Erving certainly had the prescription for exciting play. The origins of his nickname remain unclear -- most believe the moniker came from a high school friend who dubbed Erving "Doctor" because Erving called him "Professor." The name stuck and as his play improved, so did the legend of the doctor.
7 of 38Andy Hayt/SI
Lloyd "World" B. Free
Born Lloyd Bernard Free, the flashy scorer's nickname originated during a junior high league game. During the action, Free unleashed a 360-dunk, prompting Herb Smith (creator of Connie "The Hawk" Hawkins and Phil "The Thrill" Sellers) to call out "All World." The name instantly stuck. Free legally changed his name to World in 1980.
8 of 38Manny Millan/SI
One of the NBA's most endearing characters, Dawkins not only gave himself a variety of nicknames (Sir Slam, Dr. Dunkenstein), but also named his dunks (The Rim Wrecker, The Go-Rilla, The Look Out Below). However, the former center will always be known as Chocolate Thunder for his ferocious play in the paint.
9 of 38Manny Millan/SI
The nickname is a fitting one -- Bird is a native of French Lick, Ind., and his shy demeanor and "aw shucks" attitude earned him the label of a hick. One thing nobody could argue about was his talent, as Bird remains one of the league's all-time best players.
10 of 38Peter Read Miller/SI
Earvin "Magic" Johnson
Johnson got his nickname while playing high school basketball in East Lansing, Mich. He lived up to that billing in the NBA, expertly guiding the Lakers' showtime attack with his flashy play and all-around excellence.
11 of 38Manny Millan/SI
Rodman was known as much for his strange persona as his prolific rebounding (He averaged 18.7 per game as a member of the Pistons during the 1991-92 season). As a boy growing up in Dallas, Rodman's friends started calling him "Worm" due to how he squirmed while playing pinball.
12 of 38Manny Millan/SI
Clyde "The Glide" Drexler
Olympic gold medalist and 10-time all-star Clyde Drexler had an impressive vertical leap that could glide him right to the basket. It was that vertical leap that earned Drexler the nickname "The Glide."
13 of 38John Biever/SI
Cedric Maxwell coined this nickname after the stoic character of The Chief from 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.' Despite his demeanor, Parish led the Celtics to three NBA titles and remains one of the franchise's top all-time players.
14 of 38Manny Millan/SI
Wayne "Tree" Rollins
Defensive great Wayne "Tree" Rollins got his nickname from his large stature. At 7-1, Rollins was a defensive nightmare for most of his opponents. With stellar rebounding and shot-blocking abilities, the center might as well have been a tree on the court -- little could get past him.
15 of 38AP
Maxwell was given this moniker by college teammate Melvin Watkins after the pair went to see the movie 'Cornbread, Earl and Me.' Watkins thought that Maxwell looked like the title character. The rest is history.
16 of 38Manny Millan/SI
Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon
Basketball sportscaster Dick Vitale dubbed Olajuwon "The Dream" during his freshman year at the University of Houston. Olajuwon led the Cougars to three Final Fours, and earned 27,000 points, 13,747 rebounds and 3,830 blocks in the NBA -- a dream college career for most players.
17 of 38Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Anthony "Spud" Webb
His parents may have named him Anthony, but the 5-6 former slam dunk champion will always be known as Spud, an appropriate name for a small player in a league of giants.
18 of 38Manny Millan/SI
It's hard to know whether Jordan inspired the name for his his sneaker line or if the sneaker model birthed his nickname, but either way, from the moment he set (Nike clad) foot on NBA hardwood, he was Air Jordan. Jordan defied gravity and all would be-opponents for 15 seasons, winning 10 scoring titles, six championships and five MVP awards.
19 of 38Manny Millan/SI
Wilkins' nickname traces back to his college days at Georgia, although exploits of his high flying acrobats came even before that. Once Wilkins reached the NBA, he quickly became known for his spontaneous, show stopping dunks. That ability, coupled with his two slam dunk championships and regular scoring outbursts, solidified Wilkins' status as the "Human Highlight Film."
20 of 38Manny Millan/SI
Vernel "Bimbo" Coles
Vernell Coles is not ditsy or blond, but he is a Bimbo. The Miami Heat's all-time franchise leader in assists, with 1,946, received his moniker from a cousin who enjoyed Faron Young's country song, Bimbo. Bimbo's cousin liked the song enough to give Vernell the nickname Bimbo.
21 of 38Manny Millan/SI
Danny Ainge coined this nickname as a tribute to the Detroit guard, whose instant offense and ability to heat up in limited playing time wreaked havoc havoc on many Pistons opponents during the late '80s.
22 of 38John W. McDonough/SI
Right Guard may want you to refer to Barkley as "Sir Charles," but the Round Mound of Rebound is much more appropriate for a 6-5, 250-pound forward who averaged nearly 12 rebounds a game during his 16-year career.
23 of 38John W. McDonough/SI
Malone, quite simply, delivered. In 19 seasons, the power forward averaged 25 points and 10 rebounds while winning two MVP awards.
24 of 38Courtesy of Converse
When LJ donned a dress and wig for a memorable Converse ad campaign, he morphed into Grandmama. However, we doubt he was teased too much for this name. After all, how many 6-6, 250-pound grandmas do you know?
25 of 38Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images
Nobody on this list has more names than O'Neal. Whether he's The Big Aristotle, The Big Cactus, Superman, The Real Deal, Shaqzilla or The Shogun, no player has had more fun with the nickname game than the Cavs' center.
26 of 38Walter Iooss Jr./SI
In 1995, Garnett made the leap from Farragut Academy high school to the NBA and carried his nickname with him. He referred to himself as "Da Kid" his first season, fitting for a 19-year-old rookie. Garnett's game advanced quickly, and soon Da Kid had become the Big Ticket and was earning big dollars (he signed a 6-year, $126 million deal with the Timberwolves in 1997).
27 of 38John W. McDonough/SI
Kobe is one of the NBA's most dangerous player, so it only makes sense that he'd earn a moniker about one of the world's largest venomous snakes.
28 of 38Al Tielemans/SI
Iverson entered the NBA with only one tattoo, a bulldog on his left bicep with "The Answer" inscribed above it. The nickname's origins are shaky (a man sued Iverson over creation of the nickname in 2001 but the case was later dismissed) but its meaning a clear reflection of his many talents and dominating performances on the court. He lived up to it from the first year of his career, averaging 23.5 ppg for the Sixers and capturing Rookie of the Year honors.
29 of 38John W. McDonough/SI
In the 1993 Western Conference Finals, Payton squared off against Phoenix Suns point guard Kevin Johnson. Supposedly, after playing his typical lock down defense, Payton received a call from his cousin saying he was "holding Johnson like a baseball in a glove." The nickname fit.
30 of 38AP
The hard-nosed power forward was given this nickname by Rick Mahorn in his early days as a Detroit Piston for his hard work and hustle. As this photo demonstrates, the JYD is proud of it!
31 of 38Al Tielemans/SI
Ronald "Popeye" Jones
Ronald Jones has been known as "Popeye" since he was a newborn infant. His older brother David was watching the Popeye cartoon show when Ronald was brought home from the hospital, and from that day forth he went by his cartoon character nickname.
32 of 38David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images
Marion was given this name by TNT analyst Kenny Smith during the preseason of his rookie year for his seemingly ridiculous athleticism. Though lately, The Matrix has been on the move, playing for both Miami and Toronto last season before landing in Dallas with a five-year contract worth an estimated $39 million.
33 of 38Damian Strohmeyer/SI
In 2001, Paul Pierce's third year in the NBA, the Boston Celtics suffered a 112-107 loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles. Boston may have lost, but Pierce was 13 for 19, scoring a stellar 42 points. "Take this down," Shaquille O'Neal said to a Boston reporter after the game. "My name is Shaquille O'Neal, and Paul Pierce is the [expletive] truth. Quote me on that, and don't take nothing out. I knew he could play, but I didn't know he could play like this. Paul Pierce is the truth." Since then, Paul Pierce is otherwise known as The Truth.
34 of 38Simon Bruty/SI
Arenas, who is also known as "Hibachi," has carved a niche as one of the most interesting personalities in the game. But credit for this nickname belongs to a Wizards fan blog -- The Wizznutzz.
35 of 38John W. McDonough/SI
Denver Nuggets center Chris Andersen earned his alter ego "Birdman" during NBA summer league. Chris Andersen's alter ego "Birdman" is an ode to the Denver Nuggets center's tenacious playing style - he leaps to the basket, flies through the lane and blocks whatever shots he can. Since he earned the nickname during NBA summer league, Andersen has solidified his bird-like persona by tattooing a series of feathers across his back and doing a celebratory arm flap after he makes a good play.
36 of 38Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
A former star on the And-1 streetball circuit, the veteran NBA point guard got the name because of his penchant for skipping while he dribbled the ball.
37 of 38John W. McDonough/SI
The Russian native's nickname is not only his initials and number, but also the name of the Soviet assault rifle.
38 of 38Damian Strohmeyer/SI
Davis, who was reduced to tears during a Celtics game earlier this year, earned this moniker as a response to his incessant whining about not getting calls as a youngster.
You May Like
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Don't get stuck on the sidelines! Sign up to get exclusives, daily highlights, analysis and more—delivered right to your inbox!