Shawn Marion ‘The Matrix’

TV analyst Kenny Smith gave Shawn Marion his nickname ‘The Matrix’ during his rookie season with the Phoenix Suns because his was impressed by the forward’s athleticism.  In addition to being one of the most athletic players in the NBA, Marion was versatile and made contributions in all areas of the game as well.

Marion got a tattoo on his right leg in Chinese which was supposedly a translation of his nickname ‘The Matrix’, but in reality, the Chinese characters are actually: 魔 = Demon, evil spirits; magic power. 鳥 = Bird. 樟 = Camphor (a plant where its chemical exact is used for making moth balls).

Demon Bird Camphor

Amanda Nunes ‘The Lioness’

Amanda Nunes became the first female two-division champion in UFC history when she knocked out Cris Cyborg at UFC 232.  Nunes, the champion of both the 135 and 145 pound weight divisions is now regarded as the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) Women’s MMA athlete.

How did Nunes get her nickname ‘The Lioness’?

In an interview she explained that at the first gym she trained, the logo was a picture of two lions and being the only girl training at the gym at the time everyone started calling her ‘The Lioness’.

Maureen Louie Harper ‘Peanut’

Maureen Louie Harper is a retired tennis player who was given the nickname ‘Peanut’ by her father because she was the youngest and smallest of five children.

In this video she explains that most people call her Peanut and rarely would she be called by her name Maureen.

Ricky Ponting ‘Punter’

Australian cricket great Ricky 'Punter' Ponting

Ricky Ponting is one of the greatest to play cricket for Australia. Ponting holds the records for most international runs and Test centuries for Australia.

The former Australian captain’s famous nickname ‘Punter’ was give to him by his teammate Shane Warne.  Ponting had a well-known interest in greyhound races and betting on them, which prompted Warne to nickname him ‘Punter’.  **In Australia to have a ‘punt’ means to put a bet on the horses, greyhound races, or sports betting in general.

Virat Kohli ‘Chiku’

Virat Kohli Chiku

Virat Kohli is the captain of the Indian Cricket team, and one of the best batsman in the world in modern era. 

In the book “Driven: The Virat Kohli Story”, journalist Vijay Lokapally explained how Kohli got his nickname ‘Chiku’.

“One evening, he returned to the hotel with his hair nicely cropped. He has spotted a fancy hair salon close by and given himself a new look. “How is it?” Kohli asked excitedly as he ran into a couple of younger colleagues. “Not bad, you look like a Chikoo (Sapodilla),” joked Ajit Chowdhary, the assistant coach looking from a distance.

Inzamam Ul-Haq ‘Aloo’

One of the best cricket batsman that Pakistan has produced, former captain Inzamam Ul-Haq had a great career and was known for his ability as a player of fast bowling, particularly off the back foot.

Inzamam did receive criticism for his weight, and in 1997 during a Shara Cup match between Pakistan and India, one spectator Shiv Kumar Thind yelled offensive names with a megaphone, calling him different kinds of potatoes. Inzaman went after Thind with a bat but thankfully was restrained by security.

Joe Johnson ‘ISO Joe’

7x All-Star Joe Johnson is one of the most clutch players in NBA history, he is also one of the few players to have amassed 20,000+ points, 5,000+ assists and 5,000+ rebounds.

Johnson is nicknamed ‘ISO Joe’ for his reputation as being a great scorer in one-on-one plays (isolations).

Will ‘The Thrill’ Barton

Will Barton has been known as ‘The Thrill’ since his coach gave him the nickname at the age of 6.

Barton has mostly been utilized as a 6th man during his NBA career, and as a versatile player is often an important role player coming off the bench for his team.


Fabrice Santoro ‘The Magician’

Fabrice Santoro was dubbed ‘The Magician’ by Pete Sampras after losing in three sets in the third round of Indian Wells in 2002.

Santoro played with a two-handed backhand and forehand, and was known for his ability to hit an array of angles, spins, and off-pace shots.

In 2009, Santoro released an autobiography book titled “A Deux Mains”, which translates to “With Two Hands”.



Kevin Durant ‘Durantula’

NBA Superstar Kevin Durant got his nickname ‘Durantula’ from Thunder fans while he was playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder. He is lanky with long limbs, hence the insect inspired nickname.

Durant’s height is officially listed as 6’9″, which has never seemed accurate when compared to other NBA players. Durant has admitted that his actual height is 6’10 3/4″  without shoes and a full 7′ with shoes. The NBA’s height listings are generally listed with shoes, therefore Durant should be a 7 footer in NBA standards.

When Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016 to join the Golden State Warriors, there were many social media comments referring to him as a snake.