It has been said that Anfernee Hardaway got the name Anfernee because his mother couldn’t pronounce Anthony correctly and doctor registered the name Anfernee when he asked for the baby’s name. However this is not true, Hardaway’s mother, Fae Hardaway, has clarified that the reason she choose the name for her son was because she went to high school with a boy name Anfernee and she always thought it was a beautiful name.
Hardaway got his nickname ‘Penny’ during childhood, from his grandmother Louise Hardaway, who called him ‘Pretty’, but because of her southern accent it sounded like Penny.
In the mid-90’s, Hardaway was an NBA superstar and would have success early in his career, including being named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in his rookie year. He also earned All-NBA First Team honors during the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons, All-NBA Third Team in the 1996-97 season, and was selected as an NBA All-Star four times (1995-98). He also won an gold medal as a member of the USA basketball team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.
After suffering a knee injury during the 1998 season, Hardaway was never quite the same player, and constant struggles with knee injuries diminished his athleticism and explosiveness.
Danilo Gallinari is an Italian professional basketball player. His nickname ‘Gallo’ is a phonetic shortening of his surname, and it also happens that Gallo translated from Italian to English is ‘rooster’. In addition to be a famous NBA star, he’s been a model for Armani.
Lionel Messi’s nickname is ‘La Pulga Atomica’, which is Spanish for ‘The Atomic Flea’. Compared to most footballers, he is short in height, and factor in that he is a constant pest for opposing defenders, the nickname makes sense.
Messi’s height is listed as 5’7″, but it is likely he could be even slightly shorter than this.
Did you know? Messi was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency as a child and underwent expensive treatments of human growth hormone injections to help him grow.
Steven Adams is a 7-foot New Zealander who was the 12th draft pick in 2013, and the current starting center for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Many were shocked when the Thunder signed Steven Adams to a 4 year / $100,000,000 contract extension in 2016. But the ‘Kiwi Phenom’ has been living up to his contract and has proven his value as one of the most consistent and reliable centers in the NBA. Adams gives his full effort every night he plays, is a great offensive rebounder, a solid defence anchor, good on the PnR, and sets good screens.
Adams’ most often used nickname is ‘Kiwi Phenom’, but from time to time you will hear fans call him ‘Aquaman’, this is because of a slight resemblance to Jason Momoa in the DC Comics movie.
Arthur Abele won the gold medal in the decathlon at the 2018 European Championships. Celebrating with a makeshift crown on his head and the German flag draped across his shoulders, Abele received his nickname ‘King Arthur’, a reference to decathletes being commonly called ‘King of Athletes’. Decathlon is considered an ultimate test of all around athleticism and ability.
Abele was voted 2018 male German Athlete of the Year.
Gary Simmons is a former ice hockey goaltender. During his 4 seasons in the National Hockey League with the California Seals, Cleveland Barons, and Los Angeles Kings, Simmons was known for his goalie mask that featured a design of a large cobra snake.
Simmons first got his nickname in 1972 when a reporter said that he was like a snake on the ice. Bob Barlow responded “Yeah, he’s just like a Cobra”. It was mentioned in the paper the next day, and the nickname stuck.
Franz Beckenbauer is regarded by many as the greatest German footballer of all time. Throughout his career, Beckenbauer was universally known as ‘Der Kaiser’ or ‘The Emperor’. The nickname had nothing to do with football, and he was first called ‘The Kaiser’ by a magazine because he looked like Kaiser Ludwig II (pictured below), a former Bavarian King.
Retired German discus thrower and Olympic gold medalist Robert Harting earned the nickname ‘Incredible Hulk’ because he was known for ripping apart his shirt after a major victory.
Harting won the discus gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. After the win, he tore open his shirt, donned a German flag like a cape, and ran a hurdling lap around the track to celebrate.