Shaquille O’Neal has almost as many nicknames as his size 23 shoe. He is also known as: The Big Aristotle, Hobo Master, Shaq, The Diesel, Shaq Fu, The Big Daddy, Superman, The Big Agave, The Big Cactus, The Big Shaqtus, The Big Galactus, Wilt Chamberneezy, The Big Baryshnikov, The Real Deal, The Big Shamrock, The Big Leprechaun, Shaqovic and…. The Big Conductor. In case you’re wondering that’s 18 total nicknames.
I will try to restrain myself as I make this declaration. It is my unqualified opinion and the opinion of many who are qualified, that Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all-time! His accomplishments on the court, and his marketing star power put the NBA on the mountaintop for many years.
Magic Johnson played for the Los Angeles Lakers for 13 years. He was nicknamed “Magic” while playing for Everett High School in Lansing, Michigan. A sports writer for a local paper gave him that name after Earvin scored a triple double the night before.
Larry Bird is the only person in NBA history to be named MVP of the league, Coach of the Year, and Executive of the Year. In his playing days, his super-hero like quality was in his defensive anticipation. He had a feel to know where the opposing teams next move was going to be and would respond accordingly. He wasn’t the fastest, he wasn’t the strongest, but he was one of the smartest, and his knack of anticipation caused many turnovers and frustrated many opponents.
Chamberlin is considered one of the All-Time Greats of the game and one of the most dominant players in NBA history. Monte Johnson, former teammate, has been quoted saying, “Wilt had unbelievable endurance and speed…and was never tired.” He had multiple nicknames but wasn’t a fan of any of them, except for one, “The Big Dipper.”
William Felton Russell holds the title of Most Winningest Player in basketball history. He led his alma mater at the University of San Francisco to 2 NCAA Championships in 1955-56. He then went on to the 1956 Summer Olympics where as captain of the Mens Basketball Team dominated the olympics and beat Russia for the Gold Medal. He then started his NBA career where he and the Boston Celtics went on to win 11 NBA Championships.