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Some witty, some cruel - nicknames always stick

By unknown | Mar 12, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Most of us have a nickname of sorts.

Most of us have a nickname of sorts.

Whether it's something we picked up in the schoolyard, an abbreviation of a surname, or a name we earn thanks to a physical attribute, it is usually something we have to live with our whole lives.

More often than not they are witty and clever but what I particularly enjoy are the nicknames bestowed on sportspeople and how they came about.

Take, for example, Willem Perry. "William Who?" most will ask. Perry was a legend in American football during the 1990s and earned the nickname "The Refrigerator". Weighing in at more than 170kg, he was a legend not only on the football field but also at the dinner table. Two chickens and a dozen bread rolls washed down with a couple of litres of juice was a regular lunch for The Refrigerator.

Cricketers often have some very funny nicknames. Perhaps it has something to do with spending so much time on the playing field, day in and day out, that they come up with some classics.

South African batsman Jacques Kallis goes by the nickname Kalahari. Kallis is renowned for not being among the brightest members of the team.

The Australians quickly cottoned on to this and someone quipped that the empty space in his head is the size of the Kalahari!

While on the subject of cricketers, the Australians have a few choice nicknames themselves.

Mike Hussey goes by the name Mr Cricket because of his impressive knowledge of the game. Captain Ricky Ponting is called Punter because of his love for betting and new kid Andrew McDonald is called Ronald because of his uncanny resemblance to the fast food franchise McDonalds character Ronald.

Former England fast bowler Philip de Freitis was born in London to a white mother and a Jamaican father. Half Chocolate was the unfortunate name with which he has gone through life!

Soccer also throws up some classics. From days gone by, we have Jerry "Legs of Thunder" Sikhosana, while coach Clive Barker will always be known as The Dog.

When Sikhosana was in his prime there was a local TV production that featured a horse called Legs of Thunder. Whether it was a case of Sikhosana resembling the horse or the horse resembling him, I'm not sure, but the name stuck.

Dutch international footballer Dennis Bergkamp had a complete phobia about flying. Rather than fly he would leave two days before his teammates and travel by road for a destination only two hours away by plane.

His nickname? The Non-Flying Dutchman!

Boxing also has its fair share of characters . Tony "The Punching Postman" Thornton boxed in America in the 1980s and earned his nickname because of the amount of leather he would deliver to an opponent!

Nick "The Fighting Bartender" DeLong was so named as he used to work behind a bar in between bouts in the ring.

The last I leave for the legendary pugilist Muhammad Ali.

A record of 61 fights (56 wins, 20 by knockout) - Ali dominated the heavyweight boxing scene for close to a decade and changed the face of boxing for those who followed.

Until today Ali is simply known as The Greatest.


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