Thursday, May 12, 2011

The sad demise of nicknames

There's a good, though overly academic, piece in the NYTimes today about the sad demise of sports nicknames. It's a topic we've ranted about in Slam and over at SlamOnline for years. Slam has made efforts to create nicknames for players and have them stick. To the best of my knowledge, there has not been a true success there yet, though I welcome being told I am wrong by someone.

You don't have to be a genius or one of the academics that the NYT spoke to grasp the slide from Magic, Pearl, Black Jesus, Slick, the Microwave, even Air Jordan to D-Wade and Melo. Stat is kind of worthy and Big Baby, as noted in the article, rules the current roost.

But I think it goes deeper than the sports world. I grew up with Icky, Muzzy, Ice, Itzy, Skirbs, Ripper and McGoo. My kids have Jackson, Luke, Gabe and Maddie.  I thought this was mostly a Pittsburgh thing. I mean, where else would a beloved stadium vendor get a nice, long obit in the local paper, like this.  And it was well earned; RIP "Coke heeeere" man.

But maybe it wasn't just a Pittsburgh thing. Did everyone my age and older know a host of people with nicknames?

PS: Best nickname in the old hood may have been "Big Marv the Jew" - especially since he was called that by everyone at the JCC.

PPS: In response to several queries, I have had lots of nicknames, but no one that stuck like those mentioned above. I am Bub, Fat Al, Pipeline, Fu Man Jew, Robo...