Issue 33: What’s in a Name? 5 Funny NBA Nicknames

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Have you ever had a nickname? I’ve gone by a variety of J-themed nicknames over the years, from J Dogg to J Money and, more recently, Joseph Currency. Those are all pretty silly names, but they don’t hold a candle to some of the NBA’s finest.

A while back, we took a look at some of the best names in NBA history. That was a fun dive into the past, but with the NBA and Players Union agreeing to start the new season on December 22, we’re living in the NOW.

That means we’re sticking with current players only for this email. Luckily, there are plenty of funny nicknames to choose from.

Nikola Jokic — The Joker

To the untrained eye, Jokic does not seem like he’d be very good at basketball. He seems slow, methodical, and like he could potentially topple over like a bag of bricks at any given moment. Yet he’s one of the best passing big men in the league, is a beast on the boards, and has made some incredible shots over the past few years.

I once saw him play a game against the Atlanta Hawks — shout out to my friend Josh for the tickets — and Jokic had THE QUIETEST 24-point, 11-rebound, 7-assist game you will ever see. Yet I remember him making multiple passes where it looked like he was shooting, only to use that gelatinous body to contort said shot into an alley-oop for a wide-open teammate.

The point is, he’s a joy to watch — and has had some delightful press conference moments, to boot.

His nickname comes from former teammate Mike Miller, who reportedly could not pronounce his name (the “J” is silent, like in the word “yolk”). Because of Miller’s inability to properly understand soft consonants, we end up with a great nickname.

Evan Fournier — Never Google

Can you imagine a world without Google? Me neither. But Evan Fournier probably wishes Google didn’t exist, at least for his name.

Back in early 2014, Fournier took to Twitter to warn people to NEVER Google his last name.

Jean-Alfred Fournier discovered a type of gangrene in 1883. And because you would also totally name something after yourself, he threw his surname onto his discovery.

As you might expect, it’s not great to look at. Thankfully, the same can’t be said for Fournier’s on-court performance — he set a new high for points per game last season.

Draymond Green — Dancing Bear

Speaking of things to never Google…Draymond Green happens to share his nickname with a pornographic series of videos (don’t worry, that link is safe to click).

But Green’s nickname goes back to his days at Michigan State. At 6’6″ and 230 pounds, he offered a bit of everything. He was quick, tough, and had attitude. He also probably enjoyed eating honey out of a pot, but that’s less well known.

Unfortunately, this nickname seems to be infrequent nowadays. Draymond is more often compared to Donkey from Shrek or someone who looks like he’s wearing a backpack when he shoots the ball.

Those are all accurate, but they don’t roll off the tongue nearly as well.

Nik Stauskas — Sauce Castillo

Closed captioning is a terrific invention. It provides a way for hearing-impaired individuals to take in a show, movie, or game, and it can help provide extra context for a scene. Of course, it also leads to some magical typos.

That’s how Nik Stauskas got his nickname. When he was with the Sacramento Kings in 2015, Stauskas was just playing a basketball game, like any other night.

At one point, the closed captioning of the broadcast referred to him as “Sauce Castillo.” Things would have likely ended there if not for one eagle-eyed Twitter user.

The user called out the nickname, said they’d never be able to call Stauskas anything else, and soon Stauskas’s teammates were jumping on the Sauce Castillo train, too.

Sometimes a nickname doesn’t make sense, but kudos to Stauskas for rolling with it.

C.J. Miles — C.J. Kilometers

This one is stupid but I don’t apologize.

Miles played for the Toronto Raptors from 2017 to 2019. He was eventually traded to the Memphis Grizzlies for Marc Gasol, and the Raptors went on to win the NBA championship that season. So Miles just missed out on a championship, but more importantly, he also lost this ridiculous nickname.

Canada, like most of the world, uses the metric system. So instead of miles, they measure things in kilometers. And when Miles crossed the border to play for the Raptors, a new nickname crossed with him.

Either way, C.J. was running all over the court. Way to give 160.934 percent!

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That’s all ’til next time. Thanks for reading!


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