The 25 best NBA nicknames of all time

Posted 6 days ago  |  By Chris Morgan

If you are an NBA player, there is a good chance you are a known name. You may very well be a star and even one who surpasses the world of sports fandom. Everybody knows Michael Jordan, right? Some guys are known by only one name. Shaq. Kobe. LeBron. Then there are the famous nicknames and the maybe not-as-famous nicknames that are still fun. Who doesn’t like a good nickname? We certainly do, and so do NBA fans. Here are our 25 favorite NBA nicknames.1 of 25

Magic

Magic

Focus on Sport/Getty Images

This is a nickname that has superseded his actual name. How many people call him Earvin Johnson? Nobody, right? He’s Magic Johnson. That’s what he’s been known as since he basically became famous. That’s what he’s known as now. Johnson will always be Magic, which is also a great nickname for a crazy talented point guard.2 of 25

Dr. J

Dr. J

Focus on Sport/Getty Images

It’s such a simple nickname, but it’s so iconic. His name is Julius Erving, and he was a “doctor” of basketball, so he became known as Dr. J. And yet it just stuck with everybody. Dr. J just rolls off the tongue, and Erving’s amazing dunks and stellar play certainly helped embed the nickname in our minds.

3 of 25

The Mailman

The Mailman

Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

The U.S Postal Service doesn’t actually have that “Neither rain nor snow…” motto, but we still think of mail carriers as being largely reliable. That’s how Karl Malone got his nickname, “The Mailman.” Malone always delivered — except on Sunday and national holidays, we guess.

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Rockets trade James Harden to Nets in blockbuster four-team deal

By Zac Wassink | Last updated 1/13/21

Houston Rockets superstar guard and one-time regular-season MVP James Harden has been granted his trade request. 

On Wednesday afternoon, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne reported that the Rockets are sending Harden to the Brooklyn Nets in a deal that also involves the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers: 

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NBA Hall of Famer Paul Westphal dies at 70 after bout with brain cancer

Originally posted on Hoops Rumors | By Dana Gauruder | Last updated 1/2/21

NBA Hall of Famer Paul Westphal has passed away, according to Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News.

Westphal, 70, was diagnosed with brain cancer in August.

During a playing career that lasted from 1972 to ’84, Westphal played for the Celtics, Suns, SuperSonics and Knicks. He was a five-time All-Star and three-time All-NBA First-Team selection. In his career, Westphal scored a total of 12,809 points for an average of 15.6 points per game, along with 3,591 assists for an average of 4.4 assists per contest.

Westphal coached the Suns from 1992 to ’95 and SuperSonics from 1998 to 2000. His last head coaching stint came with the Kings (2009-12). His last NBA assistant coaching stint was with the Nets from 2014-16. He had a 318-279 (.533) regular-season record as a head coach and 27-22 record in the playoffs. The Suns reached the NBA Finals in his first year as head coach.

Westphal was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019.

Hoops Rumors offers its condolences to the Westphal family.

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Clippers embarrassed by Mavericks in historically bad first half

Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports | By Larry Brown | Last updated 12/27/20

The Los Angeles Clippers were absolutely embarrassed in the first half of their game against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.

The Clippers trailed Dallas by 50 points — 77-27 at the half. That is a record margin for a lead at halftime of a game.

So how did the game get so out of hand? It was a combination of the Mavs being hot, but mostly about the Clippers being so cold.

Dallas went 29-of-50 (58 percent) from the field and made 9 of 20 threes (45 percent), plus all 10 of their free throws. On the other side, the Clippers went 9-of-37 (24.3 percent) from the field but were a terrible 1-of-19 (5.3 percent) on threes. They also had seven turnovers compared to two for the Mavericks.

The Mavs gloated a little on Twitter about things.

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Markelle Fultz agrees to three-year, $50M extension with Magic

By Erin Walsh | Last updated 12/21/20

Markelle Fultz’s career with the Philadelphia 76ers wasn’t the best, to say the least. However, his game has improved with the Orlando Magic, and it has resulted in a nice contract extension for the 22-year-old. 

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Fultz has agreed to a three-year, $50 million extension with the Magic. He was set to become a restricted free agent following the 2020-21 season. 

Fultz also had the option to sign a qualifying offer for around $16 million, which would have allowed him to become an unrestricted free agent in 2022. 

The former first-overall pick had a career year during the 2019-20 season, averaging 12.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game while shooting 46.5% from the field and 26.7% from deep. 

Orlando’s extension of Fultz shows that the franchise is willing to let him continue to grow as the team’s point guard. If he doesn’t meet expectations on this deal, the Magic might part ways with him in the future. 

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Predicting the award winners for the 2020-21 NBA season

Posted 17 hours ago | By Pat Heery

It’s time for everyone’s favorite preseason exercise: Awards predictions. Here’s who I anticipate will win and be in the running for each of the major award categories (Most Valuable Player; Rookie of the Year; Most Improved Player; Sixth Man of the Year; Defensive Player of the Year; Coach of the Year; and Executive of the Year) at the end of the 2020-21 NBA season:

Most Valuable Player: 1) Luka Doncic, Mavericks

Most Valuable Player: 1) Luka Doncic, Mavericks
© Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Is Luka Doncic the best player in the NBA? Nope – that title still belongs to LeBron James, and it’s not particularly close. Will Luka have the most impressive stat line this season? Doubtful – Giannis Antetokounmpo will probably replicate or improve upon his historically great regular season in 2019-20. Then why is Luka the top MVP candidate heading into this season? First and foremost, because he’s awesome – he’s basically James Harden if Harden was fun to play with and enjoyable to watch. Because there’s perpetual voter fatigue with LeBron and about to be voter fatigue with Giannis. And because Luka is a player on the rise, and MVP voters love to get distracted by a shiny new object. 

Most Valuable Player: 2) Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

Most Valuable Player: 2) Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks
© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Giannis Antetokounmpo will probably “deserve” his third straight MVP this season, but the question is: Will voters judge him on this 2020-21 season alone? Or will they allow his past two playoff flameouts to cloud their opinion of him until he wins a title? ( As a LeBron James fan, voters better do the latter – voters have changed MVP criteria damn near every season since 2014 to avoid giving LeBron’s his fifth MVP!! But I digress…)  Kidding aside, Giannis had an insane regular season last year, averaging 29.5 PPG., 13.6 RPG., 5.6 APG., and finished with the highest Player Efficiency Rating (31.86) in NBA history. If he comes close to matching or somehow surpasses his performance from last season, he deserves every MVP vote he receives.

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Report: 76ers ‘most likely destination’ for James Harden

By Erin Walsh | Last updated 12/11/20

James Harden finally reported to Rockets training camp earlier this week, but he has given no indication he wants to play in Houston during the 2020-21 campaign and beyond after expressing concern about the future of the franchise. 

The disgruntled guard, whose preferred destination is the Brooklyn Nets, recently expanded his trade list to include three more teams: the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat.

According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, the 76ers are seen as the favorites to land the three-time scoring champion if Houston decides to trade him. 

Stein notes that the Rockets aren’t keen on trading Harden while the Sixers have no interest in trading Ben Simmons, who likely would have to be sent the other way in any deal. However, he also reports that “familiarity” between Philadelphia president Daryl Morey and the Rockets’ front office could result in the two sides reaching an agreement. 

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Previewing the Southeast Division ahead of the 2020-21 NBA season

Originally posted on RealGM | By Keith P Smith | Last updated 12/9/20

Atlanta Hawks

Additions: Bogdan Bogdanovic, Danilo Gallinari, Rajon Rondo, Onyeka Okongwu, Kris Dunn, Solomon Hill, Tony Snell

Losses: Dewayne Dedmon, Jeff Teague, Vince Carter, Treveon Graham, Skal Labissiere, DeAndre’ Bembry, Damian Jones

2019-20 Record: 20-47, 14th in Eastern Conference

Analysis: No division saw its teams improve more this offseason than the Southeast, and no team in the division improved more than the Atlanta Hawks. The ’19-20 season was supposed to be the year Atlanta made a playoff push, but the Hawks finished with one of the worst records in the NBA. That put GM Travis Schlenk and head coach Lloyd Pierce under pressure to get things turned around this season.

Aiding in that turnaround are major upgrades in depth at every position on the roster. Atlanta swapped out one of the league’s most underperforming reserve groups for a group that is now as deep as any in the NBA. After the rumored sign-and-trade of Bogdan Bogdanovic to the Milwaukee Bucks fell apart, the Hawks swooped in and got Bogdanovic for four years and $72 million. He’ll likely start as one of the wings and provide some additional scoring and playmaking. The long scoring droughts Atlanta suffered without Trae Young on the floor shouldn’t occur with as much frequency with Bogdanovic around.

Also helping in that regard is the signing of Danilo Gallinari. Initially, the Hawks plan to bring Gallinari off the bench. He’ll be the team’s primary backup forward behind John Collins and either De’Andre Hunter or Kevin Huerter. In this role, Gallinari can be the scoring anchor for the second unit. He’ll also provide terrific depth in the frontcourt, should injury or illness strike.

Atlanta played a lot of the ’19-20 season without a quality backup for Young. Jeff Teague solved that when he was acquired midseason, but the Hawks made further upgrades in free agency. Fresh off a title run with the Los Angeles Lakers, Rajon Rondo will be Young’s primary backup. That should allow Pierce to spot Young rest during games, without worry that the offense will collapse.

The Hawks also added Kris Dunn, who is immediately the team’s best perimeter defender. Dunn will be deployed in all sorts of lineups off the bench. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Dunn close some games, especially when Atlanta needs stops late.

The team is getting a bonus addition of sorts, as Clint Capela will make his Hawks debut after being acquired at the trade deadline. Because Atlanta’s season ended in mid-March, Capela hasn’t suited up for his new team just yet. He’s going to be counted on to hold down the starting center spot, while being backed up by rookie Onyeka Okongwu. Those two should give the Hawks defense, rebounding and finishing around the rim that they’ve lacked from that position for the last few years.

The last order of business before this season starts is to hammer out a contract extension with Collins. Both sides seem to be somewhat far apart, and Atlanta’s other offseason moves indicate it is at least prepared for life without Collins. If no extension is reached, Collins could be a potential trade chip for upgrades in-season.

After falling short of pushing forward for the playoffs last season, the Hawks added veterans around their youthful core. They have competition for minutes on a nightly basis now at each position. That’s a good thing, even if it means Pierce will have to have some difficult conversations. It’s a step too far to say Atlanta is guaranteed a playoff spot in the East, but the Hawks should very much be in the 7-10 play-in mix.

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Warriors training camp delayed after two players test positive for COVID-19 Originally posted on Hoops Rumors

By Luke Adams | Last updated 12/1/20

The Warriors have delayed the start of their training camp by one day after two players tested positive for COVID-19, president of basketball operations Bob Myers said Tuesday (Twitter link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic).

Rather than beginning individual workouts Tuesday and group workouts on Sunday, those start dates will be pushed to Wednesday and Monday, respectively, per Myers. The Warriors executive didn’t identify the two players who tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Warriors likely won’t be the only team with at least one or two COVID-19 cases to deal with this week. Players are reporting to their home markets from all over the country — or from overseas, in some cases — and haven’t necessarily been tested regularly during the offseason.

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NBA announces 2020 preseason schedule

Originally posted on Hoops Rumors | By Luke Adams | Last updated 11/27/20

The NBA officially released the full schedule for its 2020 preseason, which will tip off on Friday, Dec. 11. The preseason slate features 49 total games and runs through Saturday, Dec. 19.

As the league explains in its press release, every team will play at least one home game and one road game. There are some clubs playing as many as four games, while others just play two or three.

The full schedule, which begins with a five-game slate that include a Lakers/Clippers matchup, can be found right here.

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