Basketball Reference lists nicknames on each player profile so it only made sense to rank the New York Knicks based on these nicknames.
Generally, nicknames are given to players that make so many plays throughout a game that announcers just need something else to call them by so the broadcast doesn’t get repetitive. Sometimes it works out, other times it doesn’t. “Greek Freak” is a perfect example of when it worked out.
At the time, most people didn’t want to take the time/energy to correctly pronounce “Giannis Antetokounmpo” and the nickname refers to his rich Greek background as well as his freakish body metrics. However, then you have nicknames like “Flash” that really just don’t age well. I understand that at the time it was given, Dwyane Wade was this explosive player that could rise above the rim with ease. But seven years and several knee surgeries later and it became a bit ridiculous to continue recycling it.
But anyway, today’s not about NBA greats. It’s about ranking the listed Basketball Reference nicknames (from worst to best) for a New York Knicks squad fresh off a 17-win season. This Knicks team is very young. Therefore, it’s important to let them know which nicknames to throw out before brands begin marketing them.
Also, I know a lot of Knicks players are missing and that’s because they do not have any listed nicknames on Basketball Reference.
6. DeAndre 3000 (DeAndre Jordan)
I have zero idea what this nickname even means. Does it have something to do with Andre 3000? Is it referring to his machine-like effort when crashing the boards? I literally couldn’t find any information on this nickname. Poorly marketed. And even If I could find info on the nickname, it’s just a lazy attempt. If the only thing you can come up with is adding 3000 after a players’ first name, then just don’t dub it a nickname.
5. The Frenchise, The French Prince (Frank Ntilikina)
I have no problem with “The French Prince” nickname. It’s a solid pun and makes sense given his drastic move from France to the United States. Overall I’d give it a B just because he hasn’t lived up to the “Prince” portion of it. However, then there’s “The Frenchise,” an obvious reference to Steve Francis’ nickname, “The Franchise.” The issue though, is that “The Franchise” was a horrible nickname. Steve Francis led his teams to a whopping one postseason in nine NBA seasons and forced his way out of Vancouver before even playing a game.
And guess what? Frank Ntilikina might not be with the Knicks much longer. There is some speculation about whether or not he will be traded this offseason. Obviously different circumstances, but if your nickname is going to be the “The Franchise” or “The Frenchise,” you better be Tim Duncan or Dirk Nowitzki where you’ve only ever played for one team. Or you have to be LeBron James where you instantly turn every franchise into a contender upon arrival.
4. Johnny J (John Jenkins)
I mean there’s really not much to say. It’s John Jenkins. He averaged 4.7 points per game last season. But he also shot 38% from three-point range. His solid jumper helps justify the “J” part of his nickname. Other than that, I really don’t know. I don’t think John Jenkins needs to worry about a nickname for now.
3. Big Bruiser (Kadeem Allen)
“Big Bruiser” is perfectly on brand for Kadeem Allen. He’s a stout, scrappy point guard who is more than happy to go to work in the trenches. I honestly would have had this higher but Allen also shot 47.2% on threes last season. When you think of bruiser-type players, you don’t usually pair them with the ability to stretch the floor.
2. Block Ness Monster, Lobinson (Mitchell Robinson)
This is some nice nickname work. Both are solid puns, and both are on point with Mitchell Robinson‘s game. “Block Ness Monster” obviously refers to Robinson’s defensive prowess as he was second in the NBA in blocks per game (2.44). Robinson actually finished the season with more blocks than missed shots which is a great segway into the second nickname of “Lobinson.” Obviously, catching alley-oops is a high percentage shot and Robinson shot 69.4% from the field. So basically, you can learn everything you need to know about Robinson’s game by these two nicknames alone.
1. Super Mario, The Beast, Crobe (Mario Hezonja)
Considering it’s Mario Hezonja, it’s crazy how often you hear the nickname “Super Mario.” It’s honestly probably a big reason Mario is still somewhat relevant. Even if the nickname is sometimes used ironically because Mario Hezonja is as un-super of a player as they come, all press is good press.
Also, I’ve never heard anyone use “The Beast” for Mario but there was no chance that was created in a serious manner. That just sounds like they realized how much buzz “Super Mario” was getting and decided to go even further with it, deciding on “The Beast.”
“Crobe” is a shortened version of Croatian Kobe. Hezonja idolized Kobe Bryant growing up and this nickname caught on in the lead up to the 2015 NBA Draft. Obviously, Hezonja hasn’t lived up to the nickname.
These are all nicknames used mostly tongue-in-cheek at this point. Basically, you have two choices with nicknames. You can lean into the fact that you’re a meme like Mario. Or, if you are going to make your nickname serious, it has to at least make sense in terms of the players play style.