Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Weird Basketball Names (NBA)

  • Forest Able (AKA “Frosty”)
  • Pero Antic (once played for Lokomotiv Kuban)
  • Quincy Acy
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Al Attles (also a successful manager)
  • Martynas Andriuskevicius (7’2”)
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (“The Greek Freak”)
  • Alaa Abdelnaby 

  • Butch Beard (also a head coach)
  • Wesley Bialosuknia (“The Mad Bomber”)
  • Mookie Blaylock (also the original name of Pearl Jam)
  • Butch Booker (real name Harold)
  • Bob Boozer (Gold Medal winner)
  • Ticky Burden (real name Luther)
  • Vander Blue
  • Rasual Butler
  • Zelmo Beaty (“The Big Z”)
  • Leandro Barbosa (“The Brazilian Blur”)
  • Chauncey Billups (5-time All Star)
  • Otis Birdsong 
  • Brian Brunkhorst (“Bronk”)
  • Bucky Bockhorn 
  • Orbie Bowling ("Orb")
  • Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje (pre-med major at Georgetown)
  • Bismack Biyombo (siblings include Billy, Biska, Bikim, Bimeline, Bikelene, and Bimela)
  • Uwe Blab 

  • Demetrius Calip
  • Bruno Caboclo (once played for the Ft. Wayne Mad Ants)
  • Vonteego Cummings (middle name is Marfeek)
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (8th pick overall in 2013)
  • Corky Calhoun (Penn grad)
  • Cornelius Cash 
  • Rastko Cvetkovic
  • Zarko Cabarkapa
  • Bob Cluggish
  • Chubby Cox (Kobe Bryant’s uncle)

Bob Cluggish

  • Dick Dickey (once played for the Anderson Packers)
  • Dick Duckett
  • Zabian Dowdell (once played for SLUC Nancy Basket)
  • Dell Demps (current GM of the Pelicans)
  • DeSagana Diop (speaks 5 languages, including Wolof)
  • Predrag Drobnjak 
  • Fennis Dembo (the last of 12 children, his first name is a play on the French finis)

  • Cleanthony Early
  • Festus Ezeli (full name is Ifeanyi Festus Ezeli-Ndulue)
  • Ndudi Ebi (once played for Basket Rimini Crabs)
  • Ledell Eackles
  • Bulbs Ehlers (played for John Wooden – in high school!)

  • Herm Fuetsch
  • Adonal Foyle (sole NBA player from St. Vincent and the Grenadines)
  • Frido Frey (1st German-born player in the NBA)
  • World B. Free (born Lloyd, he officially changed his name)

Herm Fuetsch

  • Marcin Gortat
  • Manu Ginobili (Gold Medal winner)
  • Bato Govedarica (real 1st name Zdravko)
  • Pau Gasol (former #3 pick in draft)
  • Mickell Gladness (former teams include Matrixx Magixx and Townsville Crocodiles)
  • Litterial Green
  • Gorham Getchell (also played in the NFL)


  • Anfernee Hardaway (“Penny”)
  • Herm Hedderick (career totals include 4 points, 4 rebounds & 2 assists)
  • Kleggie Hermsen
  • Montrezl Harrell (siblings include Cadarius and Quatauis)
  • Nene Hilario (birth name was Maybyner)

Of Canisius College, that is

  • Zydrunas Ilgauskas
  • Didier Ilunga-Mbenga (speaks 5 languages, including Lingala and Tshiluba)
  • Royal Ivey 

Zydrunas Ilgauskas

  • Noble Jorgensen
  • Sarunas Jasikevicius (a brother, Vytenis, also played professional basketball)
  • Othyus Jeffers (once played for the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters)
  • Wah Wah Jones (came from younger sister's attempt to say Wallace / only individual to play for both Adolph Rupp and “Bear” Bryant)
  • Cheese Johnson (real name was Lynbert)

Wah Wah Jones

  • Herm Klotz (“Red”)
  • Lonnie Klutz (3 games, 0 points, 5 rebounds)
  • Nenad Krstic (“Curly”)
  • Ibo Kutluay (5 games, 0 points, 1 rebound)
  • Ognjen Kuzmic
  • Curtis Kitchen
  • Kerry Kittles
  • Kosta Koufos
  • Herb Krautblatt
  • Goo Kennedy (real name Eugene)
  • Pickles Kennedy

Ognjen Kuzmic

  • Priest Lauderdale (holds dual American/Bulgarian citizenship)
  • Manny Leaks
  • Fat Lever (real name is Lafayette)

  • Martin Muursepp (only NBA player from Estonia)
  • Arvydas Macijauskas 
  • Cuttino Mobley (“The Cat”)
  • Jamario Moon
  • Bill Mlkvy (dentist after his basketball career was over)
  • O.J. Mayo (full name is Ovinton J’Anthony Mayo)
  • Luc Mbah a Moute (is a genuine Cameroonian prince)
  • Monk Meineke 
  • Fab Melo (short for Fabricio)
  • Pops Mensah-Bonsu (full name is Nana Papa Yaw Dwene Mensah-Bonsu)

Bill Mlkvy (“The Owl Without a Vowel”)

  • Moochie Norris (named after the Cab Calloway song "Minnie the Moocher")
  • Jusuf Nurkic 
  • Rasho Nesterovic (short for Radoslav)
  • Ivano Newbill 
  • Cotton Nash (also played major league baseball)
  • Swen Nater (spent part of his youth in an orphanage)
  • Nerlens Noel (6th pick in the 2013 draft)
  • Boniface N'Dong (Senegalese/German dual national)

  • Bo Outlaw (somehow managed to play 10 years in the NBA with a .521 FT average)
  • Alan Ogg (7’2”)
  • Mark Olberding
  • Olumide Oyedeji (has played in the US, the UK, Russia, Germany, Greece, China, Japan, South Korea, Puerto Rico, Spain, Nigeria, Italy, Jordan, and Kuwait)

  • Kostas Papanikolaou
  • Easy Parham (real name Estes)
  • Med Park (real name Medford)
  • Olden Polynice 
  • Zaza Pachulia (real name Zaur)
  • Togo Palazzi (5th pick overall in NBA draft ... in 1954)
  • Smush Parker (has played in the US, China, Russia, Greece, Venezuela, Croatia, Tunisia, Morrocco, the Dominican Republic, Iran, and Mongolia)
  • Zarko Paspalj
  • Pavel Podkolzin (former teams include Sibitelecom Lokomotiv and Metallurg Magnitogorsk)
  • Marlbert Pradd (all-time leading scorer at Dillard Univ.)
  • Kristaps Porzingis

Easy Parham

  • Zeljko Rebraca
  • Efthimi Rentzias (once played for Ulkerspor)
  • Pooh Richardson (1st pick ever of the Minnesota Timberwolves)
  • Tree Rollins (born Wayne Monte Rollins)
  • Rajon Rondo (4-time All Star)

  • Wally Szczerbiak (his dad Walt also played, in the ABA)
  • Odie Spears (born Marion Odicea Spears)
  • Soumaila Samake (has played for the Cincinnati Stuff, Greenville Groove, Geoplin Slovan, Detal Inowroclaw, and Mornar Bar)
  • Otto Schnellbacher (also 2-time NFL Pro Bowler)
  • Thabo Sefolosha 
  • Tornike Shengelia (“Toko”)
  • Cheikh Samb
  • Uros Slokar
  • Diamond Stone
  • Stan Stutz (led the NCAA in scoring for 3 straight years)
  • Belus Smawley (one of the inventors of the jump shot)
  • Pape Sow (pronounced “pop sow”)
  • Tiago Splitter 
  • Whitey Skoog (born Myer Upton Skoog)
  • Predrag Savovic
  • Detlef Schrempf (also the title of a song by the group Band of Horses)
  • God Shammgod (is actually a Jr. / also went by the name Shammgod Wells)

Wally Szczerbiak

  • Terry Teagle 
  • Hasheem Thabeet (sole NBA player from Tanzania)
  • John Tschogl
  • Corny Thompson (real name Cornelius)
  • Sedale Threatt (once played for Paris Basket Racing)
  • Lou Tsioropoulos
  • Mirsad Turkcan (born Mirsad Jahovic)
  • Hedo Turkoglu (currently an advisor to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan )
  • Zan Tabak
  • Dragan Tarlac
  • Yuta Tabuse (sadly does not rhyme with "caboose" / the “Michael Jordan of Japan”)

John Tschogl

  • Ekpe Udoh (born Ekpedeme Friday Udoh)
  • Ime Udoka (1st professional team was the Fargo-Moorhead Beez)
  • Roko Ukic (middle name is Lenny)

  • Ratko Varda (played 1 NBA game, for 6 minutes, scoring 5 points)
  • Stojko Vrankovic (7'2")
  • Butch Van Breda Kolff (Princeton grad)
  • Whitey Von Nieda (real name Stanley)
  • Kiki Vandeweghe (born Ernest Maurice VanDeWeghe III / his dad played in the NBA & his mom was a Miss America)

Butch Van Breda Kolff was also manager of the New Orleans Jazz

  • Elnardo Webster 
  • Bonzi Wells (nickname shortened from original nickname “Bonbon”)
  • Taurean Waller-Prince 
  • Clarence Weatherspoon (“Baby Barkley”)
  • Win Wilfong (born Alva Winfred Wilfong)
  • Von Wafer (born Vakeaton Quamar Wafer / AKA “The Dutch Cookie”)
  • Harthorne Wingo 
  • Metta World Peace (born Ron Artest, he officially changed his name)

Elnardo Webster

  • Charlie Yelverton
  • Korleone Young (born Suntino Korleone Young)

Korleone Young

  • Paul Zipser (born Paul Viktor Louis Zipser)
  • Ivica Zubac (once played for Mega Leks)
  • Zeke Zawoluk (real name Robert)

Cough, please
(Zeke Zawoluk, 1951)

Friday, February 10, 2017

States by Sport

Off the top of my head, I know my home state of North Carolina is definitely a basketball state – just like Indiana and Kentucky and Kansas. Are there any others though? Was I correct in those assumptions?

Same thing with football. Alabama and Florida, right? Probably some Midwestern states as well – Ohio, Michigan … Am I missing anybody? Texas perhaps?

And as for my favorite sport, baseball, I know it’s all concentrated in sunny climes – California, the Southwest, the Deep  South … Any others? Any surprises?


For each sport, I:
  • Counted up how many championships each state accounted for (or, for football,  #1 rankings)
  • Placed a marker on a map of the US with its size reflective of how many championships that state had won

  • For football, I did rankings for years before the FBS.  And I only did that since 1936, the year the AP rankings started. Otherwise, there’d be a lot of CT (Yale), MA (Harvard), and NJ (Princeton) in there. Yup, the Ivy League dominated the early years of college football. Hard to believe, right?
  • For basketball, I’m including the NIT champion for those days when the NIT was more prestigious.


  • I was definitely right about AL and FL.
  • But what the heck is going on with Indiana? I thought that was a basketball state. Oh, Notre Dame. Never mind.
  • I would have thought TX and OK might have been reversed in size. Turns out the Sooners were quite the powerhouse back in the ‘50s.
  • Little surprised GA has only the 1 championship.
  • Also surprised that Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania didn’t win more.


  • Well, I was certainly correct about NC and KY
  • But how about California?  Dang! Forgot all about John Wooden and UCLA.  10 championships in 12 years. Whew!
  • Little surprised Indiana and Kansas haven’t won more. Unlike NC and KY, which have multiple teams that have won titles, for Indiana and Kansas, it’s just the Hoosiers and Jayhawks. That probably explains it.
  • You’re probably wondering about 2 states here, Wyoming and Massachusetts. Sure enough, Wyoming won it in 1943 and Holy Cross in 1947. Wyoming’s an interesting story in that their title probably can be traced solely to native son Ken Sailors, inventor of the jump shot.


  • Pretty much got this one, but I am surprised how dominant CA was.
  • I see the upper South and lower Midwest also have some representation.
  • But what the heck is going on with Minnesota though? Turns out the Badgers won 3 national championships, between the years of 1955 and 1964. And that is very likely solely a function of having Dick Siebert as their coach, one of the best college coaches ever. Not sure how he ended up in the cold, cold north land though.
  • And how about Mass? Once again, it’s Holy Cross. And once again, it was a long time ago – back in 1952, to be exact.