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What's in an NBA Nick-Name?  Part V, I-L

 
For those who liked Parts I, II, III, IV - - here is Part Five of the always interesting, always  memory stoking,  always talking point relevant  NBA NICK-NAMES.
 
Case in point:  Boston Celtics forward Glen "Big Baby" Davis is looking to change his image and he sees a first step in that direction - - changing/dropping his  nickname. What follows are nick-names (and expressions) that have never changed
 
"I love Waltah"  Tommy Heinsohn, Celtic broadcaster, started the unofficial Walter McCarty fan club, coining the catch phrase and  creating a national fan club for the likable reserve Celtic forward who now is an assistant coach at Louisville.

"The Iceman"   George Gervin was locked into this name for his cool and calm demeanor on the NBA court. One thing he could do was finger roll. The Iceman was the man in the ABA. He was so good that the Spurs stole him from the Virginia Squires through a harsh court battle.

"Indiana Pacers"  When the Indiana franchise came into existence in 1967 in the American Basketball Association, the owners said they named the team Pacers because they intended to set the pace in professional basketball. There was also the matter of the famous Indianapolis 500 Raceway. And when Indiana joined the NBA in 1976, the name Pacers went along.

"Jellybean" Joe Bryant is the father of Kobe. He played eight seasons in the NBA for the Philadelphia 76ers and other teams. The elder Brant had a fondness for jelly beans.

"Jones boys"  K.C. & Sam Jones were the great Celtic backcourt in the 60s. K.C. was "Mr. Defense," while  Sam was "Mr. Offense."

"Kobe"  LA star Kobe Bryant was named after a "Kobe" steak listed on the menu of a Japanese restaurant or as the story goes for a  Japanese restaurant itself.

"Larry Legend"   Boston Celtic superstar Larry Bird could do it all on the basketball floor and was most deserving of this nickname.

"Los Angeles Clippers"   In 1971, the City of San Diego lost its NBA franchise when its team moved to Houston and became the Rockets.  The franchise that was originally the Buffalo Braves, from 1970-1978, moved to San Diego.  The owners weren't too thrilled with San Diego Braves as a name. So one of those name-the-team contests was staged, and the winning entry was, you guessed it, Clippers. That was because, once upon a time, lots of beautiful clipper ships passed through the great harbor of San Diego. In fact, the Star of India was still  harbored in San Diego. In 1984. the franchise moved to Los Angeles from San Diego and the name Clippers came along.  

"Los Angeles Lakers"  The Minneapolis Lakers made the move to L.A. before the 1960 season and took with it its nickname that comes from the state of Minnesota's motto: "the land of 10,000 lakes".

(to be continued)

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You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

Harvey Frommer is in his  38th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to acclaim in 2011.  The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One. 

His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, among other publications.

FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.
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Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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